Brightcove’s Context Aware Encoding Reduces Storage and Bandwidth While Improving Viewer Experience
As one of the leading producers and distributors of celebrity-driven digital media, Young Hollywood has solidified itself as the go-to entertainment source among millennial and Generation Z audiences. The company’s collection of nearly 5,000 hours of exclusive programming, reaches more than 150 million viewers each month in over 130 countries across the globe.
Since Young Hollywood’s debut in 2007, its entire digital video ecosystem has been supported by Brightcove technology, particularly its video platform and accompanying APIs. The publisher streams its content using the Brightcove player, and syndicates its video to partners via MRSS feed. Young Hollywood also relies on Brightcove analytics to review video performance data at a granular level, tracking how it has expanded its reach and increased engagement with audiences all across the globe.
In December 2017, Young Hollywood implemented two additional Brightcove Video Cloud features — Dynamic Delivery and Context Aware Encoding (CAE). These two features have enabled Young Hollywood to make more efficient use of bandwidth while saving costs on storage and video operations. Most importantly, these Brightcove technologies have helped Young Hollywood maintain an exceptional end user experience for its massive viewership. During the company’s first few weeks of use, its namesake brand, Young Hollywood, saw a 20% savings in storage and a 17% savings in bandwidth, while its OTT channel, Young Hollywood TV, realized a 23% savings in storage and a 35% savings in bandwidth.
Young Hollywood Builds Robust Distribution Network
Young Hollywood boasts ten different media brands, including Young Hollywood, Younger Hollywood, Beyond the Athlete, Food Feed, The Code Word, The FanGirl Life, Inside the Look, Ampd Up, The Social Stream, and an OTT channel, Young Hollywood TV. Video content across the company’s entire media portfolio is original, produced in-house, and entirely void of libelous gossip, which, according to CEO R.J. Williams, makes videos highly shareable, resulting in increased views and audience engagement. While some celebrity-driven content is sensationalized hearsay, Young Hollywood focuses its efforts on producing only positive stories. Celebrities like Lady Gaga often share the publisher’s content to their own distribution channels and web pages, since it’s the type of press they actually want fans to see. By positioning itself as a trusted, respectful media source and building strong relationships with celebrity talent, Young Hollywood has successfully created a robust distribution network with incredible visibility.
“It’s content that celebrity talent is really proud of, which helps us in a big way because it gets them to actually share it,” says Williams. “It’s happening more now with social media. On a daily basis, talent is tweeting about us, putting us in their Instagram story, and putting us on their Facebook fan pages,” says Williams.
And because of the company’s distinctly curated brands, each targeting specific age groups and demographics per vertical, Young Hollywood ensures consumer retention, or “stickiness,” with its audience. Williams explains:
“We’ve expanded the verticals, and our expectation is that our audience is going to transition from Younger Hollywood to Young Hollywood, and then maybe to Beyond the Athlete or Inside the Look. People will be able to transition from one brand to the next depending on what their interests are and where they go in the future.”
Young Hollywood Syndicates Video Content With Brightcove APIs
Young Hollywood also syndicates video to distribution partners through an MRSS feed using Brightcove’s CMS API. Currently, Young Hollywood syndicates OTT video content to a handful of platforms such as Vewd (formerly Opera TV) and Xumo TV. Barry Cohen, post production supervisor for Young Hollywood, explains the specifics:
“We set up a custom secured feed allowing us to create specific delivery targets that are both private and secure. So if we need to deliver to somebody who’s in Argentina, for example, we can set up a feed that’s specifically for them, and it’s secured, private, and controlled. They can get the delivery assets they need. At the same time, we control whether they turn it on or off.”
By syndicating video content and providing viewers access beyond their owned and operated properties, Young Hollywood is driving brand expansion, visibility, and increased viewership.
“We’ve had it [the syndication feed] in place for a few months now, and we’ve had great success with it,” says David Bell, system operations director for Young Hollywood. “It’s opened up an opportunity for another distribution channel for our product...And it could open up different geographic areas to us in the future.”
Brand-Targeted Ad Inventory Helps Increase CPM
Young Hollywood leverages its own collection of niche media brands and respective audiences to boost overall value of ad inventory. The company manages individual private marketplaces (PMPs) per brand and demographic; it also partners with different advertisers specific to each brand. Because of this, Young Hollywood is able to create customized ad inventory ensuring advertising partners’ content performs well among consumers.
“We look closely at the advertising brands and who they’re trying to reach,” says Williams. “Then we put them on the platform where they’ll reach the audience that makes the most sense for them.”
As the publisher continues to add more editorial content, therefore broadening reach and viewership, Young Hollywood’s PMPs attract premium advertisers competing for the highest quality ad inventory. Combining the company’s highly attentive consumers and valuable collection of ad space, Young Hollywood manages to increase its CPM price tag.
Brightcove Analytics Drive Ad Revenue Success
Brightcove’s integrated analytics play an important role in the success of Young Hollywood’s ad monetization strategy. Analytics not only provide data critical to determining video best practices; they also offer the company’s production staff a consolidated collection of performance data across third-party sites and platforms. With Brightcove’s analytics tools, Young Hollywood saves both time and money, eliminating the need to subscribe to additional third-party analytics services. Hence, the company is able to track extremely detailed engagement metrics across all of their brands and various distribution points. “Through Brightcove, we know exactly how many people watched a video and for how long they watched it—to a T,” says Williams. “We have accurate analytics that are actually better than those we’d receive from Nielsen or comScore, which both rely on a panel of users as opposed to specific viewers. It’s a good predictor of success for our programming and what remains in the general interest.”
Young Hollywood Reduces Bandwidth Use, Forecasts Future Savings
For Young Hollywood, with its incredible distribution network and extensive viewership, delivering top-quality content in the most efficient way possible is a top priority. The company enabled Brightcove’s Dynamic Delivery and Context Aware Encoding features to accelerate internal cost savings while improving playback quality.
Dynamic Delivery allows users to distribute media more rapidly by processing different quality levels of media formats in real time. Files are packaged in the correct format for each device requesting content at the time of the request, removing the need to pre-create and store multiple combinations of bitrates, streaming formats and DRM . Context Aware Encoding uses machine learning to optimize encoding settings on a per-video and delivery context basis. The technology is proven to reduce storage and bandwidth costs associated with video delivery, all without compromising visual quality.
Young Hollywood initially configured the technologies for two of its brands—Young Hollywood and Young Hollywood TV. In the early innings of using CAE the brands have seen reductions of up to 35% in bandwidth and 23% in storage. Says Williams, “Based on historical viewing patterns of content across Young Hollywood and Young Hollywood TV, these innovations at the platform level are allowing us to forecast a much more efficient use of bandwidth that won’t compromise the end user viewing experience.”