Super Bowl, Puppy Bowl and Ustream?

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On Sunday, February 1, millions of viewers will tune in to enjoy the Super Bowl and the surrounding interviews, reports, highlights and analysis. As you know, more and more of that video content is going online.

For example, NBCUniversal has announced that it will offer “Super Stream Sunday,” live-streaming 11 continuous hours of content related to the Super Bowl. And, many fans of the Seattle Seahawks are already familiar with the team’s popular Ustream channel, which boasts more than 3,000 subscribers and over 1.2 million views. What they may not know is that the Seahawks organization also uses Ustream for internal communications and live-streaming press conferences.

Another client unrelated to football for most of the season, uses their Ustream channel to broadcast football practice sessions for their ‘athletes.’ Yes, for those who prefer their running backs with four legs, Animal Planet will be live-streaming pre-game practice for the Puppy Bowl at http://www.apl.tv/puppy-bowl.htm starting Friday. In this annual favorite, puppies of all breeds take to a miniature field to “play in a winning combination of terrier tackles, touchdowns, puppy penalties, fumbles and Fido first downs.”

What will you be streaming on Super Bowl Sunday?

Engage! Using Live Streaming Video to Build Employee Involvement

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Researchers from Deloitte recently asked more than 2,500 business and HR leaders to rate the urgency of numerous business issues, ranging from workforce capability to diversity and inclusion. No less than 79 percent of respondents rated the issue of employee retention and engagement as “urgent” or “important.”

And how are they doing on that front? Not so great, according to a separate survey by Gallup:

An alarming 70% of American workers are not showing up to work committed to delivering their best performance, and this has serious implications for the bottom line of individual companies and the U.S. economy as a whole.

What’s a CEO to do?

Smart leaders are realizing that, if employees are going to be engaged in their work, they need a direct line to top management. From the mailroom to the boardroom, employees need to know the organization’s mission, they need to know what success looks like, and they need to know that management cares — and they don’t want to read about it in an email.

That’s where live streaming video comes in.

Live streaming video offers employees real-time engagement with top leadership, whether those leaders are delivering prepared presentations or answering questions off the cuff at a virtual town hall. It builds a personal bridge that can fuel a whole new attitude toward the organization and the employee’s role within it.

Take a look at what Ustream client Zuora did when its employee base grew to span across nine time zones. By taking the company’s weekly meetings online via live video, Founder & CEO Tien Tzuo was able to bring Zuora’s workforce “under one virtual roof,” where employees could interact and ask questions in real time. “Ustream has been a big part of helping us keep that small company feel,” says Tzuo. “[It] allows us to create a really rich, interactive experience.”

How can live streaming video help you create a more engaged workforce? Learn more from by registering for our webinar “Business Use Cases for Live Video Streaming” here.

Webinar: Live Video Boosts Sales, Marketing, Media Presence

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On Thursday, January 22nd, Ustream CEO Brad Hunstable and Steve Vonder Haar, Senior Analyst at Wainhouse Research, will co-present The Burgeoning Set of Use Cases for Live Video Streaming,” a live webinar highlighting enterprise uses of live streaming video beyond internal presentations.

According to a recent Wainhouse survey, internal applications such as employee training and executive presentations continue to be the most popular uses of live streaming video. However, outward-facing applications such as customer service, corporate advertising and branding, and IT support are all gaining traction.

Companies Deployed One-to-Many Online Video for Specified Application

One of the case studies to be covered will be that of CreativeLive, an online training destination that launched in 2010. Driven by a model that blends free live video with paid access to on-demand content libraries, CreativeLive draws as many as 20,000 registrants to its live presentations … and seven times that number to its on-demand recordings.

Other case studies to be presented will feature

  • “This Week in Technology” (TWiT), which has built a media brand around live streaming video
  • iStrategy Labs, which leverages video to promote marketing interaction
  • Teradek, which expands its audience reach and measures content effectiveness through its Ustream channel
  • Zuora, which uses live video to keep employees connected across nine time zones

The webinar will begin on Thursday, January 22nd at 10 am PST; to register, visit http://www.ustream.tv/lp/business-use-cases-for-live-video-streaming#itm_source=blog&itm_medium=onsite &itm_content=live_video_use_cases&itm_campaign=wainhouse4_odw

Video Takes Center Stage at CES 2015

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Last week, the technology world converged on Las Vegas to take part in the “Super Bowl of Technology,” also known as the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

And you know what they say: “What happens at CES … gets broadcast all over the world.”

Indeed, many of the tech world’s power players — including Sony, NVidia, and Samsung— took to their Ustream live video streaming channels to unveil their latest innovations to a global audience. Media organizations such as Engadget, TechLaunchPad and GeekBeatTV also live-streamed their onsite coverage of the show. These live webcasts allowed presenters to offer a real-time virtual seat at CES to individuals around the world.

In addition to offering presenting companies a chance to show their stuff, streaming video also took center stage in many of the event’s major announcements.

Netflix Launches “Recommended TV” Program for Smart TVs

Soon consumers shopping for smart TVs will find some models bearing a “Netflix Recommended TV” logo. At CES 2015, Netflix announced its new Recommended TV program, designed to help consumers find TVs that offer “better performance, easier menu navigation and new features that improve the experience for Internet TV services.’’ (Read more)

Roku Adds 4K Streaming Support

Roku took the opportunity to announce the addition of 4K streaming support to a new TV reference design, which consumers will start seeing its new UHD models later this year. (Read more)

Cisco Announces New Partnership for Cloud-Based Video

At CES 2015, Cisco announced a deal with broadband provider Charter Communications, under which Cisco will supply the technology for Charter’s upcoming next-generation video platform. Resources included in the deal will derive from Cisco’s cloud-based security suite, including a downloadable security solution for set-top boxes as well as seamless digital rights management (DRM) for video services on a range of IP devices. (Read more)

Many industry thought leaders are dubbing 2015 “The Year of Video,” and if the activity around CES is any indication, they’re absolutely right. Stay tuned!

 

Ustream CEO to Join Real-Time Academy

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Ustream CEO Brad Hunstable has been invited to join the Real-Time Academy of Short Form Arts & Sciences, a consortium of leaders in technology, journalism, business, and culture that plays a vital role in choosing the winners of the Shorty Awards, honoring the best content producers in social media.

Among the Academy’s current members are Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, General Electric CMO Beth Comstock, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, actor/writer Stephen Fry, and author Neil Gaiman.

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Now in their seventh year, the Shorty Awards “honor the best of social media, recognizing the people and organizations producing real-time short form content across Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, and the rest of the social Web.” Every year, millions of people take to Twitter to submit their favorite content creators from entertainment, news and media, technology and innovation, arts and design, and global issues as Shorty Award nominees.

The Academy will choose the winners of the 7th Annual Shorty Awards when finalists are determined at the end of February. Each Academy member is assigned about 10 categories based on his or her area of expertise, with about seven finalists per category. The judging process will take place from February 27 to March 9, and winners will be announced in April at a live-streamed ceremony in New York City.

General nominations for the 7th Annual Shorty Awards will open early this year; for information about nominating brands, agencies, and organizations visit the Shorty Awards website.

Times Square + New Year’s Eve + Ustream = worldwide party!

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When that famous ball in Times Square drops at midnight on New Year’s Eve, audiences around the world can join in the action from the comfort of their own homes, thanks to Ustream.

Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment, co-organizers of New Year’s Eve in Times Square, have announced that revelers across the globe will again be able to experience the excitement of the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration via a six-hour, live commercial-free webcast via Ustream.

Beginning at 6 p.m. EST, the worldwide audience will enjoy live musical performances, hourly countdowns, behind-the-scenes stories, and star-studded interviews as anticipation builds towards the midnight countdown — and, of course, the famous Ball Drop. Last year’s webcast was watched by more than 1.5 million unique viewers, representing nearly 200 countries.

“Times Square New Year’s Eve is thrilled to partner with Ustream, providing revelers around the world with the best HD video streaming service to watch the global celebration,” said Jeffrey Straus, President, Countdown Entertainment.

National television and radio personality Allison Hagendorf returns to host the live webcast joined by Maggie Rulli, Andrea Boehlke and Jeremy Hassell. Among the featured musical acts will be the rock group O.A.R., who will perform “Peace” from their new album and deliver the traditional performance of “Imagine” moments before midnight.

To join in the fun, visit ustream.tv/2015 beginning at 6 p.m. EST on December 31.

 

Be part of the New Year’s Eve show on Ustream!

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Ustream has teamed up with www.index.hu to show live broadcasts from different time zones and cultures over a 12-hour period this New Year’s Eve. If you are planning to stream your New Year’s Eve event or know of a channel that will, please send us the channel link to press@ustream.tv. We’ll include it in our global show. Follow us on Ustream or Twitter and watch the world celebrating the New Year!

Ustream CEO to CNBC: “We need clear protocols” for cyberattacks

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When a cyberattack on Sony Pictures resulted in cancellation of the studio’s next movie release, The Interview, the topic of cyberterrorism thrust its way onto front pages around the world

To discuss the issue, CNBC reached out to Ustream Founder and CEO Brad Hunstable, who had experienced a similar denial-of-service (DOS) attack in 2012. (Watch the interview here.)

In the interview, Hunstable recalled a 2012 DOS attack on Ustream by Russian sympathizers, who targeted citizen journalists broadcasting anti-Putin protests.

“The attacks were an attempt to limit transparency and, really, free speech,” Hunstable said. “It was highly organized; it was highly adaptive.” Ustream reported the attacks to Federal authorities; however, “there really wasn’t a clear way that they [could] help.”

Hunstable cites the recent Sony Pictures crisis as further evidence of the need for “clear protocols and cross-communication between the public and private sectors on how to handle this.”

Watch the CNBC interview for more of Brad Hunstable’s comments on cyberterrorism.

New Features: Embed Configurator and Combined Embed

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Recently you may have noticed we’ve added a couple of new features: Embed Configurator and Combined Embed.

Why the new capabilities? We’ve been listening to our customers, who needed a more convenient way to embed videos on their websites as well as a more streamlined user experience.

  • Previously, the video player and the Videos tab had to be embedded next to each other on the Web page.
  • If visitors clicked on the video, it automatically took them to the Ustream page instead of allowing them to watch the video on-site.

If you’re an enterprise customer, now you’ll find on your dashboard a new Combined Embed.

First, you’ll be able to determine the type of embed you want to use:

  • Player: A standalone player with the live content of your channel
  • Social: Chat, social stream and widgets
  • Combined: A custom combination of the Player, Social and Video Gallery embeds

screen_shot_2014-12-18_at_15.32.37Once you select an option, you’ll be taken to the new Embed Configurator. There you’ll see a full-page interface featuring:

  • A full-size preview
  • A sidebar with configuration options
  • An automatically generated embed code that can be copied to your clipboard

screen_shot_2014-12-18_at_15.38.05Based on user feedback, our developer team has implemented the following improvements:

  • A large video gallery, with search options
  • A new https option for the Player, the Chat/Social Stream and the Combined Embed
  • Http/https protocol included in the embed code; this is useful for customers on systems such as WordPress, in which protocol-relative URLs cannot be used in embed codes

Please tell us what you think of the new features — we want to hear from you!

Aberdeen Research: Video Is Key to Rocking the “Hidden Sales Cycle”

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How can video impact sales before a potential customer even talks to a sales rep?

That was the question we answered in our most recent live webinar, featuring guest presenter Maribeth Ross, Chief Content Officer, Marketing Effectiveness and Strategy of The Aberdeen Group.

In “The Impact of Video on the Hidden Sales Cycle,” Maribeth explored the new role being played by content marketing in attracting new customers and the unique advantages that video offers in building those relationships.

Click here to watch the full webinar.

Here are some of our key takeaways from Maribeth’s presentation:

  • Today’s buyers hold more power than ever before. They’re hyper-informed, they’re self-educated, and by the time they speak with a sales rep, many of them have already made up their minds.
  • The “Hidden Sales Cycle” represents the very top of the sales funnel, when buyers are still in “research mode.”
  • Content marketing enables businesses to reach and build relationships with buyers in the Hidden Sales Cycle, by answering their questions and providing the information they’re after.
  • 95 percent of Best-in-Class marketers are using video as part of their content marketing mix.
  • Companies using video see a 4.8 percent average website conversion rate, compared to 2.9 percent for non–video users.
  • Companies using video demonstrate a 19 percent lower average cost-per-customer acquisition — $93 versus $115 for companies not using video.
  • There is a 65 percent difference in the number of deals closed between companies who use video and those who do not.

For more information about how video impacts the Hidden Sales Cycle, download the Aberdeen research paper.