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How the CTA Live Streamed More Than 90 Sessions at the CES

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ is the trade association representing the U.S. consumer technology industry. Approximately 2,200 companies enjoy the benefits of its membership, which include policy advocacy, market research, technical education, industry promotion, standards development, and the fostering of business and strategic relationships.

CTA also owns and produces owns and produces CES® — the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. CTA uses video content to enhance value for CES attendees, expand its reach to those unable to attend in person, and increase media coverage.

Lackluster UX, disjointed technology posed challenges for CES live stream

CTA coordinates and manages a live stream of CES, which is ungated and free to public viewers, and typically only live streams about one-third of the conference program. CTA noticed three specific challenges stemming from its live stream efforts, affecting not only its audiences’ overall viewing experience, but also its handling of archives and asset management.

The first challenge was the end-user platform, which was not designed for livestreaming many concurrent sessions and didn’t allow for customization of visual elements to create a branded experience. Similarly, CTA’s video archives were hosted on a different platform from where they were broadcast, which was another challenge.

“Archiving turned out to be problematic,” says Alicia Goodman, Senior Digital Content Manager for CTA. Goodman and her web team struggled with how to pass large files and get them cleaned and posted within a short period of time.

As a result, some archives weren’t posted for weeks after the show. And because archived content was hosted on two separate platforms, the live streaming platform and the video hosting platform, viewers didn’t have a single clear place to watch or browse.

The third challenge, according to Goodman, was that data and analytics were minimal and didn’t offer the insights they needed. “We couldn’t distinguish between a live view and an archival view,” she says. And because CTA’s archives were stored across two platforms, it wasn’t possible to view aggregated data.

Goodman and her team identified the resources they needed to mitigate these challenges for future CES live streams. For the conference’s external audience, they determined that the imperatives to enhancing the user experience were a high-quality live stream, up-to-date live stream programming, access to live stream recordings, a schedule of live stream events, and search options. For its internal audience, CTA would need to give partners and presenters the ability to download live stream archives, as a record of their participation or for promotion.

Upon reviewing these needs, Goodman decided to create a separate portal within the CES website, using Brightcove Gallery, and designed a “streaming now” playlist, a video collection of each stage’s sessions, and placeholder images for each streamed event that included basic session information (title, date, and time of session) at a glance. And with Brightcove’s Video Cloud platform, Goodman and her team could now host archival footage in a single location and capture accurate video data with Brightcove’s analytics API. For internal use, Goodman also created a handful of password-protected, download-enabled Brightcove Gallery sites, allowing partners and conference speakers to download their sessions after presenting.

For CES 2018, CTA rolled out the newly enhanced, Brightcove-powered web portal, which hosted more than 90 live streamed sessions across seven stages, including the keynote addresses. Prior to the event, CTA promoted the live stream via social media and email, while CES partners shared links and embedded the Brightcove Player on their respective sites and channels. And with the help of the Brightcove platform, Goodman was able to move CTA’s entire video library and execute six days’ worth of live stream sessions in just two months’ time.

“We couldn’t have been more excited with the speed at which we were able to onboard our staff and transition our library,” she says. “Having the Gallery as an out-of-the-box option, where we didn’t have to involve our development team in that transition, was a huge help in terms of time. But it also meant we didn’t have to spend a lot of time on QA or troubleshoot any technical problems on our own.”

In addition, Goodman relied on Brightcove’s Live Support team to make sure keynote live streams didn’t experience any issues or outages, ensuring CES audiences top-quality live viewing.

“That really gave us peace of mind to have someone available to answer questions and troubleshoot if we did have any problems during these high-visibility events,” she says.

CES 2018 draws hundreds of thousands of views, expands audience

Following the show, CTA’s web team was able to access accurate, aggregated viewing. In total, Goodman recorded hundreds of thousands view of live and archived video.

“We were also able to verify that people who weren’t event attendees watched the live stream,” Goodman says.

More important, CTA now has a single-location asset library where VOD clips of live stream footage can be housed and subsequently repurposed for future digital marketing campaigns.


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