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.

Aberdeen Study: 95% of Best-in-Class Marketers Using Video

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Did you know …

  • … that 95% of Best-in-Class marketers are using video as part of their content marketing programs?
  • … that companies using video require 37% fewer visitors to achieve the same results as companies not using video?
  • … that video users spend 19% less per marketing-generated lead?

Those are just a few of the results from a new white paper published by the Aberdeen Group, The Impact of Video on the Hidden Sales Cycle.

“In today’s marketplace,” the report begins, “the buyers have taken control of their journey, leveraging the Web to conduct research and educate themselves at their own pace. This puts pressure on marketing to own and nurture the buyer relationship earlier and longer than they ever have before — a phenomenon that Aberdeen calls ‘The Hidden Sales Cycle.’”

No question about it: more companies are leveraging content in their marketing than ever before. As the field becomes more crowded, the question becomes how to differentiate — and that’s where video comes in. “The use of video, both live and on-demand,” the report states, “coincides with important increases in performance on key marketing metrics.”

To learn more about how video has become a game-changer in the content marketplace, you can read the Aberdeen white paper here.

 

 

Ustream Joins Fellow Providers, Vendors in New Streaming Video Alliance

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You know an industry has reached a new level when it needs its own best practices … and an official organization to promote those practices.

Well, congratulations, streaming video. You’ve officially arrived.

Ustream and 16 other service providers, content companies, and tech vendors recently came together to form the Streaming Video Alliance (SVA), whose mission is to “develop, publish and promote open standards, policies and best practices that allow the video streaming ecosystem to flourish.”

Dan Rayburn, founding member of the Alliance and principal analyst at Streaming Media, recently told Benzinga.com that one of the industry’s biggest problems is a lack of standards.

“If you think about it as a consumer, think about how fragmented the market is,” Rayburn said. “You go and get a device, you don’t know what’s available [or] what’s business model. Is it pay to download? Pay to own? Subscription? Rental? Which platform does it work on? There’s just so much fragmentation in the market.”

The new organization will focus on three key areas:

  • Open Architecture: Standardizing specifications for network and cloud-based streaming and caching infrastructure
  • Quality of Experience: Developing a common approach to defining, measuring, optimizing, and reporting quality of the video streaming
  • Interoperability: Creating standards for streaming video

The SVA will hold full membership meetings once a year, while its Working Groups — focused on specific issues such as security, privacy, and analytics — will meet more often to pursue their individual objectives.

Other members include Cisco, Yahoo!, and FOX Networks. Notably absent from the list are Netflix and YouTube, whose heavy investments in their own video-distribution infrastructures make it less likely that they will adopt an external consortium’s recommendations.

To learn more, visit the SVA website or download the new whitepaper by Aberdeen Research Group.

Customers Heart Ustream!

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Every Ustream customer knows our door is always open for their feedback — but every once in a while, we like to make it official by asking them a few questions.

As for the results of our latest customer survey … well, let’s just say that the holidays came a little early this year.

When we asked customers why they chose Ustream, here’s what they had to say:

“Best platform on the market”

“Reliability, ability to customize”

“Very efficient, very professional, very fast, very easy installation”

Providing reliable service continued as a theme when we asked what they’d like us to continue doing, in addition to:

“Keep making excellent video tutorials”

“Continue to provide quality streaming”

“Continue the great and quick service provided by Support”

Responses were equally positive on the quantitative side. When asked to rank on a scale of 1 to 10 how likely they were to recommend Ustream, the average response was 7.5. More than 74 percent agreed that it was easy to get started with Ustream, and more than 80 percent agreed that it was easy to use.

In another exciting outcome, results showed that a majority of our customers are using Ustream for both internal and external audiences. This is terrific news as it tells us that streaming video is moving beyond the “internal communications box” as more brands recognize its power as a marketing tool.

Thanks to all the customers who participated in our latest survey, and if there’s anything we can do to serve you better … well, you know where to find us!

 

Ustream Leading Change as Corporations Embrace Live Video

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“Ustream made a name for itself by giving tens of millions of people the ability to broadcast live video around the Internet for free,” writes Patrick Hoge in the San Francisco Business Times.

Not so long ago, that typical live-video broadcaster was some guy in his basement commenting about the latest gaming console.

To say that “times are changing” would be an understatement. More and more corporations are recognizing the power of live streaming video for internal and external communications, and many are turning to Ustream.

“Video has hit a tipping point,” Ustream CEO Brad Hunstable told Hoge. “Everyone is using Netflix, Amazon, HBO Go. What usually happens is consumer adoption leads enterprise adoption.”

Wainhouse Research analyst Steve Vonder Haar agrees that Ustream is headed in the right direction, predicting that business use of live video would rise from 1.12 billion hours in 2013 to 2.92 billion in 2017, with the technology industry being the largest consumer.

To learn more, read the article on the SFBT website or download our Multichannel Marketing whitepaper.

LinkedIn: Taking Care of Business Through Live Video

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Remember when LinkedIn was seen as just a place for job seekers to connect with employers? How times have changed …

While other social network companies struggle with their identities, LinkedIn remains the undisputed king of online business networking. The average LinkedIn user is educated, accomplished, and keenly interested in the latest insights from the business world — in other words, the perfect audience for live streaming video.

Several years ago, LinkedIn’s leadership embarked on an ambitious quest to join the ranks of Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and other power players in the world of business content publishing and thought leadership. Beginning with articles from a handful of key influencers, the network quickly made the leap to live video on Ustream to take their program to a whole new level.

Today LinkedIn is one of the most active brands in the streaming video space, broadcasting several times each week to a variety of audiences.

LinkedIn Speaker Series

Through the LinkedIn Speaker Series, the social network is leveraging live video to strengthen its position in the thought-leadership sphere. Talks by Arianna Huffington, Barack Obama, Deepak Chopra, and other luminaries have been broadcast live from the LinkedIn campus to a global audience.

To date the LinkedIn Speaker Series channel has garnered more than 250 million views worldwide. Most recently, LinkedIn hosted its first live broadcast from its Singapore office, featuring David Lim, leader of the first Singapore Everest Expedition in 1998.

Job Seeker Webinars

Every month, the LinkedIn Job Seeker Webinar channel presents a live 60-minute webinar to teach job seekers — from recent grads to seasoned professionals — the strategies and best practices that can help them in their job searches.

Download our whitepaper and learn how you can leverage live video for internal communication.

Ustream Snags Two 2014 Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards

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Pop the champagne and crank up the party jams: Ustream is the winner of two 2014 Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards, for Live Video Platform and Video Advertising Solution!

This year, the readers of Streaming Media voted for their favorites in a record-setting 31 categories. On November 19, the winners were announced at the Streaming Media West conference in Huntington Beach, California, which was broadcast live via Ustream.

Not only is this the highest honor in our industry — it’s also the only awards program decided by the end users (that’s you!). So as you can imagine, we’re feeling pretty darn proud.

Here’s our Sales Engineering Manager, Scott Grizzle, accepting the awards on behalf of the Ustream team:

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Watch video of Scott accepting the Live Video Platform and Video Advertising Solution awards.

We’re especially thrilled to see LiveAd take home the Video Advertising Solution award. We built LiveAd to offer our clients a more impactful, engaging advertising experience, and to see it emerge as the top vote-getter in its category tells us that, to paraphrase Sally Field, “You like it! You really, really like it!”

So, from the bottom of our humble little hearts, thank you, thank you, thank you for your votes, for your support, and for being the best darn fans a team could ask for!

Learn more about how you can leverage LiveAd and the Ustream platform for your business.

New FCC Rule: One Step Closer to Parity?

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Once upon a time, there was radio. Then came network TV. Then came cable. Then came satellite. Now the FCC is pondering a rule change that could move streaming video one step closer to taking the next seat at this table.

According to Streaming Media, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed an update to the Commission’s definition of multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD). The new rule would give streaming video services the same powers as cable and satellite companies to gain broadcast and cable content — similar to the change made in 1992 that gave satellite providers parity with cable.

“Today I am proposing to extend the same concept to the providers of linear, Internet-based services,” Wheeler wrote, “to encourage new video alternatives by opening up access to content previously locked on cable channels.”

Just this week, U.S. President Barack Obama joined supporters for what has come to be called “net neutrality” — the idea that service providers should treat all data equally. “This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses,” the President’s statement reads, “and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies.”

If approved, the FCC’s move would let streaming-only bundled services compete more effectively by including content now standard to basic cable subscribers. That’s good news not only for streaming video providers, but also for consumers who want a wider range of choices.

Read more in Streaming Media’s blog post or download the Wainhouse whitepaper to learn more about the power of live video.