A big part of choosing Video Cloud was knowing that not only is it the best in the category, but we gain so much additional functionality. Having a partner like Brightcove gives us a toolbox to leverage for building cost-effective opportunities, and that is really core for us.Michael Le DuChief Technology Officer for Alpha Media Group
Maxim is an international men’s lifestyle content magazine targeted at males 18 to 34 and known for its sexy pictorials featuring actresses, singers and models. The magazine’s website also features online videos, reviews and articles on the topics of sports, TV, movies, music, video games, food, alcohol, tech, sex, cars and celebrities. Maxim’s online presence “Maxim Online” and its video content are published and run by U.S.-based multimedia company Alpha Media Group Inc.
Maxim originally launched its video strategy as a complementary offering for its print and online content. Videos weren’t standalone material, but rather supported and supplemented existing magazine spreads or features. For example, Alpha Media Group would shoot and promote a “behind-the-scenes” video on Maxim Online of a prominent actress or model recently featured in the magazine.
As the Alpha Media Group team began to revamp Maxim’s website experience and expand its online offerings, the team members sought to create a multiplatform content strategy to reach new audiences. Once the online video channel “Maxim TV” was established, the team began looking at opportunities in the app space to expand reach and bring video content to new viewers.
Brightcove Video Cloud online video platform, December 2012.
- Expanded audience reach to new markets with multiplatform distribution
- Established Maxim as a video brand
- Dependable player provides consistent playback experience across devices and bandwidths
- Integrated with social media platforms
- Increased video views, audience usage and time spent consuming content
- Simple CMS interface and APIs create organized tagging for smart playlists and easy distribution
- Increased monetization opportunities
- Provided additional expansion opportunities to set-top devices
- Nominated for a Brightcove Innovation Award in the Best Connected TV App category
Dependable, Logical, Intuitive
Connecting with New Audiences
As the Alpha Media Group team began its expansion process to move beyond Maxim TV online, the first task was to migrate the video content onto a dependable platform capable of providing the control and distribution required for the new video content strategy. Prior to working at Alpha Media Group, many team members had previously used the Brightcove Video Cloud online video platform and were familiar with its capabilities.
“The editorial team was extremely happy we decided to move to Brightcove Video Cloud,” said Bill Breen, vice president of development at Alpha Media Group. “Before we migrated, the common phrase was ‘when are we getting Brightcove in here?’ because our developers and editors found our previous platform to be very sub-par. The migration to Video Cloud was on time and a technical success.”
The revised video strategy revolved around two main business goals: growing the audience and establishing Maxim as a video brand. Executing this strategy required multiplatform distribution across the devices that potential audience members were already using online. Video game platforms house a heavy portion of Maxim’s young male demographic, making them a perfect distribution target for the magazine’s video content.
“The CMS, coupled with the Video Cloud APIs, quickly enabled us to architect the system for one-time publishing that allowed for distribution across all targeted devices,” Breen said.
“And, a big part of choosing Video Cloud was knowing that not only is it the best in the category, but we gain so much additional functionality,” said Michael Le Du, chief technology officer for Alpha Media Group. “Having a partner like Brightcove gives us a toolbox to leverage for building cost-effective opportunities, and that is really core for us.”
The team began to investigate app development options to push its video content to Xbox 360 devices, and Maxim launched its Xbox app in December 2012. The app contains more than 20 different Maxim original series, with thousands of videos featuring “hot girls, cool gear” and humorous clips. The Maxim Xbox 360 app also features customized social media tie-ins to Maxim’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Most of the Xbox app video content is short-form, under 10 minutes in length. Using the Video Cloud APIs, the editorial team can easily tag content and automatically publish on every platform, saving time and resources for the small three-person in-house production team and their freelance video production partners.
The “Ask Arianny” series, for example, features Arianny Celeste, a popular Maxim cover model and UFC ring girl who answers viewer questions that are submitted by tweeting with the hashtag #AskArianny. The tie-in to social media allows Maxim to convert a portion of both its own social media following and those belonging to its models into video views.
“We have a huge social following and so do the models, so tapping into that is part of our video strategy to grow the Maxim audience,” said Ken Shadford, director of video strategy for Alpha Media Group. “With social platforms, knowing the video content will be provided in a consistent, high-quality viewing experience is crucial to having a strong social presence. Video Cloud is so reliable, the videos look great, the players look great—it’s like sailing a smooth ship.”
Since launching the Xbox app, Maxim has seen a considerable increase in video views, usage and time spent consuming content.
“The experience has helped organically grow our audience on the website and on the other platforms as well,” said Le Du. “Our new audience members are consuming video content on the Xbox, but they also might come to the website. It helps build brand awareness because they see it across all these different platforms.”
Increased Monetization Opportunities
Maxim also sought a way to increase and diversify the brand’s online advertising portfolio. The success of its Xbox 360 app provided additional monetization opportunities and proof points for advertisers on its young male audience’s tech-savvy habits.
Maxim launched pre-roll advertising on its video content, and they have seen a considerable return from the monetization opportunity. The team is also experimenting with new ad-based technology supported by Video Cloud and its Xbox app.
Looking into the future, Maxim plans to extend its platform reach to Playstation, set-top, Connected TV and mobile devices.
“With Video Cloud, we can continue to expand to other devices and leverage these existing marketplaces,” Le Du said. “Where there’s an audience, we need to be sure we’re there and getting our content in front of them.”
Maxim’s Xbox app has been nominated for a Brightcove Innovation Award in the Best Connected TV App category.