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Bringing the Chuckles to HTML5: The Funny or Die Story

Bringing the Chuckles to HTML5: The Funny or Die Story

The Internet has proven to be an amazing tool for helping people to communicate and for disseminating all kinds of information. Perhaps nowhere has it been more useful than in propagating funny stuff. At the vanguard of producing, distributing and setting the bar for humor is Funny or Die.  

Funny or Die made a big splash when it launched in 2007, marking its debut with "The Landlord," the hilarious video wherein Will Ferrell is berated by his two-year-old landlord, Pearl.

In the six years since its premiere, "The Landlord" has garnered over 70 million views, and the Funny or Die site has grown to 19 million monthly unique viewers, with 62.5 million monthly video views. By 2012, the technical team at Funny or Die realized that it needed to update the site's encoding backend to increase scale and efficiency. The team also sought to rework the site and video player in HTML5 to better support cross-platform Web and mobile viewing experiences.

They turned to the Brightcove Zencoder transcoding service and Video.js, the most widely-used open source HTML5 player which is sponsored by Brightcove.

With Zencoder, Funny or Die found a solution that:

  • Was more cost-effective than its previous solution
  • Enabled API-level integration with its existing content management system
  • Significantly reduced error rate and minimized engineering time devoted to troubleshooting encoding failures
  • Improved video compression, resulting in higher quality at a lower bitrate
  • Automatical scaling to accommodate large spikes in encoding demand

With Video.js, Funny or Die enjoyed:

  • An open-source player that is free to use and fosters strong community contribution
  • Cross-platform support, which simplified development and maintenance saving developers’ time
  • Extensibility, which made ad network integration and monetization easy

To read more about how Funny or Die utilizes the Zencoder service and Video.js, click here