Online Video Broadens Hope Channel’s Thriving Global Community
Regional Affiliates Leverage Common Global Platform
Hope Channel is a global Christian television network broadcasting shows that promote a balanced, healthy lifestyle. The official television network of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Hope Channel began in 2003 with just one channel; as of March 2016, the network has 44.
Online Video Allows Hope Channel to Connect with Global Audiences
Hope Channel credits its strong global presence to its strategic addition of affiliate channels that cater to specific regions. “Our growth has been phenomenal in terms of the number of affiliates we have added and their global reach,” states Fylvia Fowler Kline, Director of Marketing. “We are in 30 countries, and still growing. With each new affiliate, we reach new audiences with whom to share the message of our faith.” Online video helps Hope Channel make its content more widely available to its global audience.
Hope Channel is unique in that affiliates around the world create the majority of the content that drives the network. Programs reflect local cultures and are broadcast in regional languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, German, Romanian, Mandarin, Russian, Tamil, Hindi, Ukrainian, Arabic, Farsi, and Telugu. There is also a channel for the deaf.
As Hope Channel adds new global affiliates, distribution of local content becomes more complex. Satellite and terrestrial broadcast mediums limit viewers’ access and create barriers to growing global audiences by requiring multiple protocol support. Hope Channel’s flagship channel in the United States is on DirecTV. Some affiliates are available only on satellite, and some only through the internet. So, in 2011 Hope Channel began using online video to make it easier for people in all corners of the world to access, view, and share content.
An Online Video Platform Simplifies Distribution and Access to Content
Hope Channel began by offering all episodes of its flagship shows as video on demand (VOD) on its corporate website. Later this year, Hope Channel will launch a major upgrade to its web infrastructure and expand availability of VOD content to all regional programming. “Video is the cornerstone of our new website,” explains Kline. “Our goal is to seamlessly integrate video into the web experience, making our content more discoverable and more watchable.”
Hope Channel is using the Brightcove Video Cloud as its standard online platform to power its live broadcasts and VOD. “Our new web platform will have built-in integration with Brightcove,” states Justin Woods, Manager of Web Services for Hope Channel. “Our online video is vital because many of our viewers cannot access our signal via satellite or terrestrial broadcast. We provide a 24/7 simulcast of all our affiliate channels via the web. Now, anything on air also will have a VOD asset that people can go to directly,” adds Kline.
By integrating the experiences of live linear and video on demand, Hope Channel is making its content easier to find and easier to watch, driving people to consume more video and learn ways to change their life for the better. “In the past twelve months, we’ve had 3.6 million video views, and 96.7 million viewed minutes,” continues Woods. “The VOD library will help grow our audience by making it easier for viewers to share videos.”
Expanding Access to Content in a Multi-screen World
With one third of its views of over-the-top content (OTT) on mobile devices, it is essential for Hope Channel to integrate video on multiple devices — in addition to desktop and laptop computers — so people around the world can access the content on any device they have.
Currently, Hope Channel’s content is available on Roku; but later this year, it will also be available on Apple TV, a new app for IOS, Samsung Smart TVs, and Android devices. “Adding devices helps Hope Channel reach more viewers, enabling people to watch our programs the way they want to watch,” states Woods. “Brightcove supports a range of platforms and devices, so our viewers can watch high-quality content anywhere, on practically any device, regardless of where the content was created.”
Uniting a Global Community With Regional Content
Hope Channel manages the distribution of content through its corporate website; however, the content is created locally. “It’s important that the content itself is regional because the majority of people view the content within the context of their language and culture,” adds Kline.
In addition to ensuring a consistent user experience, the Brightcove platform enables Hope Channel to have a consistent look and feel for locally created content. Hope Channel is in the process of creating branded templates and a style guide for all the affiliates in the network. The corporate office also offers production workshops that safeguard production quality and create a branded feel among all 44 channels.
Hope Channel is working with Brightcove to make it easy for affiliates to implement the new platform. “Having all affiliates on the same platform will provide an incredibly streamlined process,” says Kline. “By just plugging into the platform, uploading videos, our affiliates will be able to seamlessly distribute content through our website. This will continue to be vital to our audience growth.”
A Single Platform with Extensive Capabilities
Before selecting Brightcove, Hope Channel conducted an exhaustive review of all major online video platforms (OVPs). “Brightcove was the only way to go,” states Woods. “The Brightcove API was by far the most robust and usable. Its vast scale means that our videos are served reliably and quickly to the largest global audience. And the extensive Brightcove ecosystem helps us quickly and easily incorporate specialized capabilities from Brightcove partners, such as closed captioning for our non-hearing members.”
Woods adds, “Another huge benefit of Brightcove is the automatic transcoding of every video we upload to a standard multi-bitrate rendition set, which means we can guarantee consistent playback across all devices, for all videos. This is a huge time-saving for us, not having to manually manage a dozen renditions for every video, or perform the transcoding on our own hardware.”
Online video is helping Hope Channel increase its global presence by expanding access to content focused on faith, health, relationships and community. Video makes content easier to find, easier to view, and easier to share. It is content that can change a life.