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Blue Juice's Craig Sawyer on Making Online Video Pay in 2014

Blue Juice's Craig Sawyer on Making Online Video Pay in 2014

Meet Blue Juice: a U.K.-based digital agency that specializes in developing innovative video content and mobile apps for a host of diverse clients. Blue Juice has been a Brightcove partner for four years to help meet the needs of its customers for high-quality video delivery across multiple devices.

But during this timeframe, the digital media landscape has undergone seismic change. With more connected devices, greater platform fragmentation and new devices set to turn content delivery on its head, the challenges facing Blue Juice and its clients are continually evolving.

We caught up with Craig Sawyer, creative director at Blue Juice, to learn more about the opportunities and challenges online video will bring this year.

What trends are you most excited about this year?

We're really excited about the break with traditional broadcasting as a means of getting content to the home. It's really interesting to see where set-top boxes are going and the consumer interest in emerging devices such as streaming dongles. We're especially excited about the U.K. launch of Google Chromecast and the impact it will have on the creation of localized apps and content — and the ability it offers to deliver niche content to the living room in a TV-like experience.

What's going to give digital agencies the biggest headache in 2014?

With so much innovation going on in the video industry, it's a matter of having to feel your way through the change. Early adopters will pick up the lion's share of work, but they'll need to accept that it means experimenting with the relative unknown – whether that's learning the Chromecast SDK, or getting to grips with whatever solution Apple hopefully makes available to developers by opening up the Apple TV (an SDK has been high on may developers' wish lists for some time now!).

With ongoing innovation and new breeds of device, it's difficult to put your flag in the sand, so staying agile and receptive to the ways consumers are viewing content is key.

And what about monetisation?

At Blue Juice, we're focused on making it easier to deliver and monetize video content, and are always looking at how our clients can get maximum revenue from their investments. We're particularly interested in how Brightcove is helping publishers to capitalize on personalized advertising to Google Chromecast, something we think will turn video entertainment on its head.

Making content pay is the real challenge. The more successful the content and audience reach, the more bandwidth and delivery costs go up. It's about striking the balance between investment costs and return. Because many of our video channels boast sizeable but niche audiences, monetizing content through a traditional in-player advertising approach poses a challenge.

As a result, we're looking at alternative means of generating revenue from online video, from subscription-based viewing, to app payments and branded / sponsored channels. Thankfully, audiences today are welcoming a variety of pay models for their content.

Our niche audiences are highly valuable to advertisers looking to target particular viewers with particular interests. As experiences become increasingly addressable and personalised, they're opening up a host of new monetization opportunities that deliver more value to advertisers by offering a more targeted and engaged audience.

How is Blue Juice looking for new ways to innovate?

We're passionate about enabling our clients to take advantage of innovations such as Chromecast and second-screen experiences – even if they don’t have deep technical knowledge. As a result, we're building a new self-service platform that plugs into Brightcove and enables users to create native apps without having to use any code.

Using templates, users can tap third-party SDKs and bolt-ons that allow them to do everything from Chromecast integration, to push notifications and second-screen implementations for live content. It's a self-managed service providing non-techy way of extending content reach and driving engaging audiences on multiple devices, without the high cost and complexity.

We hope to launch VideoAppShack in Summer 2014 and you can register for early access at

Which client project using Brightcove technology are you most proud of?

It has to be our online-only programme, 'The Kite Show.' Blue Juice has been using the Brightcove Video Cloud platform for the show across the past four years to maximise the ROI of our content, and to deliver the show in broadcast-quality to any device. We've grown 'The Kite Show' exponentially with our international audience now reaching 30,000 – and with native apps on iOS and Android to boot. It's a great example of how to successfully create, deliver and monetise niche content.

Follow Blue Juice on Twitter @Bluejuicevideo and check-out its global TV show, 'The Kite Show.'

Blue Juice will be joining Brightcove customers, partner and industry leaders at the forefront of the digital media industry at Brightcove PLAY, London. Learn more here.