The ability to quickly upload and store videos, organize them through tags, and create different players for specific distribution channels is amazing.Bob KaufmanFounder
Emmy-Winning Video Productions Succeed by Bringing the Alaska Experience to Life
To celebrate his 25th birthday, Bob Kaufman embarked upon one of man’s most grueling physical challenges. With zero experience, he traveled to Alaska planning to summit Mount McKinley. After 35 days, he made it to the top, an experience he now describes as life-changing. Two years later, Kaufman traded his Boston home for the Last Frontier.
“I really wanted to start my own company,” says Kaufman. “I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great to share all these things that I’ve discovered about Alaska?”
Kaufman founded Alaska Channel, a video production company that produces and distributes jaw-dropping videos of the quintessential Alaskan experience—huskies pulling sleds, grizzly bears hunting salmon in a stream—all so people can see the wonder of America’s 49th state and be inspired to visit.
“Try Before You Buy”—Videos Prove a Trustworthy Resource
For those interested in vacationing in America’s last great wilderness, Alaska Channel offers high-quality video founded on authenticity and trust, allowing people to gauge whether a trip is truly worth the price tag. Viewing video through any one of Alaska Channel’s distribution points gives would-be visitors a better idea of their planned experience than if they relied solely on text or photos.”
“On the tourism side, we’re selling an intangible product, an experience,” says Kaufman. “And we’ve shown the average viewer of a customer website will spend over one minute longer [on the page] when a video is included. So there’s an opportunity to give these viewers an authentic preview of their trip possibilities in a very personal way.”
Kaufman continues: “The experience isn’t enough. If you want somebody to buy a product, you need to create trust. That’s what video can do, and Alaska Channel videos are that trustworthy resource.”
Through Alaska Channel’s multiple distribution network—including Alaska Channel TV, Alaska.org, The Alaska App, partner websites, and out-of-home advertising—Kaufman can leverage video as a way to turn users’ initial curiosity to conversion. The overall result: more vacation bookings and higher ad revenue for the business.
Multiple Distribution Channels Allow For Increased Revenue and Advertising Monetization
With close to two million visitors seeking adventure each year, Kaufman’s videos are essential in helping people experience an unforgettable trip. Couple that with the company’s multi-channel distribution network, and Alaska Channel’s monetization opportunities get a boost in a tough-to-crack market. Kaufman’s range of integrated offerings improve viewer access and interaction through video, which then boosts numbers of click-throughs to purchase. Ultimately, this opens up space for more advertising revenue.
Alaska Channel owns and operates several business units, each using video as the primary means for travelers to learn more about vacationing in Alaska. Alaska Channel TV, the heart and soul of Kaufman’s business model, is one such property. He shoots for local and national tourism companies, crafting high-definition footage of their services and authentic Alaskan flavor. The videos are then featured in airports, convention centers, and more than 10,000 Alaska hotel rooms, giving Kaufman’s clients an even more expansive outreach. For over 20 years, Alaska Channel TV has bridged client partnerships with regional Alaska hotels and hospitality services, resulting in a 95% advertiser retention rate.
Alaska Channel’s second video distribution property is Alaska.org, one of the most popular travel sites for people planning an Alaskan vacation. Each year, 3.5 million visitors peruse a vast collection of information on lodgings, activities, destinations, and transportation options. This video-centric content educates users on the benefits of Alaska travel and inspires them to purchase.
The third distribution property, The Alaska App, is a mobile app providing invaluable information for people travelling in Alaska. The GPS-driven software highlights nearby points of interest, accompanied by video footage, and users can comment and share helpful tips. With over 500,000 downloads, The Alaska App is one of the highest rated travel apps among mobile users.
And because of the state’s ban on outdoor advertising, Kaufman also partners with some of Alaska’s largest out-of-home networks, distributing video and standstill content to mass audiences in heavily frequented locales. Right now, Alaska Channel content is on display in the state’s three largest international airports (Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau) and the Dena’ina Convention Center.
“The video assets we get paid to produce are incredibly powerful from an inspiration and conversion standpoint,” says Kaufman. “In a comparison, we can show the difference in click-through rates from pages on Alaska.org and advertisers’ websites. Pages with video have a CTR that’s about 30% higher than those without.”
Customers using Alaska Channel’s multiple services benefit from the team’s integrated approach. Kaufman licenses and distributes videos to client websites, complete with customized players and renditions. Likewise, content gets distributed to Alaska.org, The Alaska App, Alaska Channel TV, and numerous out-of-home advertising outlets. Video content posted to Alaska.org and The Alaska App links directly to client websites, increasing customer conversion. Clients therefore benefit from the extensive reach. One partner, Tanalian Aviation, noted its customer base had increased 150% with the inclusion of Alaska Channel video on their site.
Brightcove Video Cloud Simplifies Multi-Point Distribution
Kaufman relies on Brightcove’s video on-demand solutions to deliver his key requirement for production: high-quality video that’s simple to upload and play in multiple environments. For the Alaska Channel team, Brightcove’s video platform has proven to be the most effective solution in executing this mission.
“You want to sign up with a company that five or ten years from now will still have the capacity to invest in their product, innovate, and be as strong as it is today,” says Kaufman. “That’s why we went with Brightcove. I have a partner that understands the video landscape and delivers the features I need. My requirements are very much a part of their roadmap.”
He adds, “Working in Alaska provides a unique set of challenges that impact mobile downloads and playback—weather, terrain, infrastructure—even things like lack of outdoor advertising and inconsistent cellular coverage across the state. With Brightcove, I let them take care of the technical side of video distribution, and I can focus on the business challenges of producing and marketing video.”
Brightcove doesn’t just provide technical benefits, though. Its technology also allows for quality viewing, minus the distracting ads from competing businesses. In this way, Brightcove surpasses YouTube as a preferred platform. YouTube’s ads and limited control both reduce chances of customer conversion. But with Brightcove, Kaufman’s videos enhance the user experience across all distribution channels, boosting brand awareness and tourism sales.