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Creating Video for Multi-Screen Viewing

June 27th, 2011 by Brian Baumley

Know Your Audience (And The Screens They Use Too)

I spent time this month at the annual Cable Show in Chicago. This is where cable operators, programming networks, technology vendors and more gather to talk about the latest trends, issues, show new tech capabilities and more. One of most discussed topics at the event was the opportunity that exists to deliver content that meets multi-screen demand. Essentially, as more consumers walk around with video-capable smartphones and tablets, how will the industry deliver programming to these devices?

Along these lines, we’ve had more than a few discussions with customers lately about how they’re adapting the creation process to accommodate viewing that’s extending beyond traditional TV and PC screens, to mobile devices.  Here are some interesting takeaways:

More Devices = More Viewing Opportunity. Many companies used to justify a lack of video content by pointing to a small potential audience. As I write this, I’m surrounded by three screens (TV, PC, smartphone), all capable of competently displaying video content. So now, even on the go, my smartphone makes me a constant potential audience member. (And there are many more like me.) Ready or not, the audience is there, waiting to be engaged.

Different Screens Demand Different Content. Maybe you already recognize the opportunity to deliver content that can be viewed across a variety of devices. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should just repurpose all of your existing video for viewing on all platforms. When creating content, consider the size of your viewer’s screen when thinking about video length, shot composition and your video’s purpose. And think about the circumstances under which they’ll be viewing. For instance, a long training video might work better for TV or a PC during the workday. But a training recap or refresher might work better delivered to a phone for the commute home. Sure, anyone might be willing to compromise and watch Avatar on a 4” screen if they really want to see it at that moment. But will the same be true for your video? Make the viewing experience comfortable and purposeful.

Be Smart About Tech Requirements. We don’t want to get into a big discussion about codecs here, but remember that not all video can be displayed on all devices or with available bandwidth. For instance, if your video is set up in Flash, you’re going to lose iPad and iPhone users. If your file sizes are large and/or you’re not using adaptive bitrate streaming you’ll lose those that don’t have a good 4G or 3G connection. Pay attention to the browsers being used to access your site and prepare accordingly.

You have more opportunities than ever to reach viewers with video content. Use these opportunities wisely and watch your view count grow!

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