Adrenaline Garage Blog

How to enhance your sports webcast production with a pre-show

Posted by Jeff Harper on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 @ 15:08 PM

Too often during a live webcast, the production needs to take a break.  Instead of keeping the show going, the viewers see a graphic with the annoying phrase, "Up Next..." or loop of commercials.  Inevitably, viewers drop like flies.  When the program resumes, the webcast needs to rebuild its audience.  Rarely is a production able to recapture all the viewers it lost, as many viewers moved on to more engaging entertainment. As a result, your production throws away valuable minutes.

We recently had a situation where, due to weather, the event needed to start late.  It's an all-too-frequent problem in live webcasts.  And, as always, the viewers were tuning in right on schedule.  Whenever there is no streaming content, (or just the ambiguous "Coming Up!" graphic), viewers become immediately frustrated when they wonder when the event will start.  Many click on something else.  Others begin pursuing their literary careers as hateful little trolls.  In any case, whatever your treasured viewers are up to, it won't be lending a hand to make things run more smoothly.  Fortunately, we were already streaming a pre-show and merely utilized our "Plan B" to seamlessly cover the time until the event could get underway. Throughout the pre-show, we continued to pick up viewers, encourage social engagement and build the audience for the main event.  

Captain Awesome makes an appearance on the Colorado Freeride Festival live webcastThe pre-show literally saved the overall production.  Without it, we would have been broadcasting to a much smaller, much angrier audience.

Pre-, post- and/or halftime shows are some of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to improve your return from a live sports webcast production.  Typically, all the elements to produce a framing show are in place: equipment, talent and infrastructure.  All you need to do is script it and produce it.

While filling time is essential, there are a number of additional benefits from framing shows. Here are some goals to help you maximize the results you get from your live production.

Pre-show

Build an Audience:  Live streaming has a unique problem.  In television, if you begin watching before the start of your program, there is already content on the channel.  Your audience is entertained until the program starts.  In live streaming, there isn't usually another program leading in to your event.  Rather, most webcasts are preceded by placeholder or clock.  Your audience doesn't want to sit around for that.  Streaming content before your primary show allows you to capture early viewers and build an audience before your event begins.  

Educate your audience:  The more a viewer understands a sport, the athletes and their stories, the more engaged they will become.  That is the reason NBC produces so many bios of olympic athletes for their Olympic broadcasts.  In webcasts, hopefully new viewers are constantly tuning in.  When they do, it should be the goal of every live stream to advance neophytes from casual observers to passionate enthusiasts.  If we're successful, we'll build an audience for future webcasts as well as increase their engagement during the current broadcast.  Since there is a limit to the extent that a webcast can delve into the athletes' stories during the events, the ideal time is to do this within the framing shows.

Interact with your audience:  It's a proven psychological phenomenon that "people have a greater tendency to continue an endeavor once an investment in money, effort, or time has been made."  It's called the sunk cost effect.  One way to increase one's investment in your production is to encourage them to interact.  By interacting, they are investing in your production, becoming more engaged and, inevitably, watching for a longer period of time.   Pre-shows are an ideal time to get your audience to interact with your hosts and athletes. 

Get the word out:  If you channel audience interaction through social media, it has the added bonus of broadcasting your viewer's activities to all of their friends.  We've seen that on average, each comment, share or like attracts two additional viewers.  Thus, through interaction via social media, your viewers are advertising your production and growing your audience.

Half-time Show

Don't lose your audience.  About the only thing more destructive to your audience than a lock down shot, placeholder graphic or commercial loop is to simply unplug your encoder and go to lunch for an extended period of time.  In either case, as soon as you stop your organized content, you'll begin hemorrhaging viewers.  The first rule of any half-time of mid-event programming should be DON'T LOSE YOUR AUDIENCE.  Keep the program running with analysis, insight, highlights, interviews, vignettes and giveaways and you'll have a much larger audience when you resume.

Keep them entertained.  Better yet, make half-time something to look forward to.  What will appeal to your audience is unique.  For the Tampa Pro, which serves a young group of skate enthusiasts, it's watching teens slog through a slimy moat while being pelted with eggs. While watching your audience members risk hepatitis infections might not be the right solution for your event, it's highlight of each of their broadcasts and actually causes a spike in their engagement.

Do a complete reset: Many of your viewers will begin watching your webcast sometime after it began.  It's frustrating and confusing (and less engaging) for them to not know what has happened.  A half-time show affords you the ability to completely reset your show by playing highlights and recapping story lines in order to orient any viewers who may have missed the most important moments.  It will not only make for more satisfying viewing, it will also improve engagement.

Reward your audience for involvement:  One of the easiest ways to ensure people will continue a behavior is to simply reward them for it.  If social media has demonstrated nothing else, it has shown that people crave recognition.  Recognizing viewers for quality interaction affirms constructive behavior and encourages other viewers to do the same.

Post-Show

Capture eyeballs you missed: At first, it may seem counter intuitive to put much effort into a post show.  The event is over, checks have been handed out, the athletes have gone home. How many more minutes are people willing to watch?

On the other hand, there are always a large number of interested viewers that missed your production.  A post-show enables you to quickly create content that will capture eyeballs after the event.  After all, highlight videos always make great content.  Since you have already recorded the best moments in your DVR, why not put together a show to capture those viewers that missed your event and capitalize on the investment you've already made.  All you need to do once the show is complete is export it and upload it to YouTube.

Set-up the story for next time:  Typically, a sporting event is not isolated happening.  A post show allows you to reframe the story and prime the viewer for the next broadcast.  As long as you have their attention, you may as well construct an advertisement for your next event.

What do you think?  What are some other effective uses of pre-, post- and halftime shows? 

Topics: Webcast Tips, Webcast Promotion, Live Webcast Solutions, Webcast Marketing

Improve Your Webcast Results: Why Minutes matter more than Uniques

Posted by Jeff Harper on Mon, May 9, 2011 @ 17:05 PM

Webcast minutes = moneyPop Quiz:  Which broadcast would generate more revenue?  The one with 30,000 uniques or the one with 9,000 uniques?

The answer?  It’s a trick question.  In spite of the fact that unique views is the metric most in demand by event organizers, advertisers and producers, as a measurement of success it doesn’t reveal nearly enough information.

Advertisers and sponsors pay for impressions, the number of times their brand was exposed to a viewer.  The more impressions generated from a live broadcast, the more money they are willing to pay.

However, uniques alone doesn’t give nearly enough information about how many impressions occurred.  Unlike a webpage, uniques views is not indicative of the total impressions generated in a live broadcasts.  Throughout a viewing session, some viewers will see 3 ads, others 30 and others none.   Measuring uniques doesn’t capture any of this information.

Consider the above scenario.  It’s possible that 30,000 viewers watched for an average of 3 minutes while the 9,000 viewers watched on average for 30.  If this were the case, the second audience is actually 3 times more valuable to sponsors and advertisers because as a whole they had 3 times as long to be exposed. 

Adequately measuring the value of a live broadcast to sponsors requires a better, more comprehensive metric:  Minutes.

What is “MINUTES”?

Minutes is the total amount of time watched by all the viewers of a live broadcast.  For example, if a webcast has two viewers, John, who watches for 5 minutes, and Julie, who watches for 40 minutes, the total minutes for that webcast is 45.  In original example, we can calculate the in the first webcast to total minutes was 90,000 (30,000 viewers x 3 mins/viewer) while the second was 270,000 (9,000 viewers x 30 mins/viewer).

As you can see, the advantage of this metric is that it captures both the number of uniques and their engagement in one simple number.  Simply put, if you want to compare apples to apples, this is the metric you should be using.

MINUTES = MONEY

One of the challenges of monetizing live online broadcasts is that you have no idea exactly how many impressions your live stream’s commercials generated.  However, unlike with unique views, with minutes you can easily approximate the number of impressions that your live broadcast generates.  To do this, you need two other numbers:  Total Commercials and total broadcast running time.  If you recorded your event, simply sit down and watch it again to collect the necessary information.

Once you have those numbers, the formula is easy:

Minutes x Total Number of Ads / Total Program Running Time = Impressions

Remember, sponsors and advertisers pay for impressions.  The more impressions that your broadcast generates, them more value your live stream has.  That’s a powerful statistic that’s not available if you calculate uniques alone.

Using minutes to get more return

Growing minutes is pretty abstract, and hard to plan for.  Indeed, I think that is one of the appeals of using uniques to compare broadcasts: it’s easily understood, easy to plan for and easy to measure.  However, when you combine uniques with minutes, you can calculate another elusive but easily understood metric that will further empower you to grow your live stream:  Average Viewing Time (AVT).  While uniques tends to measure the success of your marketing and distribution strategies, AVT helps you measure the quality of your program.  The more successful your program, the longer people watch, the more ads they see and the more value you create.

You can easily calculate AVT by

 AVT = Total Minutes / Unique Viewers

Looking at all three individually, you can glean an enormous amount of information about your event.  If you have a ton of uniqes, but low engagement, then you know you need to work on creating more reasons to stay engaged.  If the opposite is true, high engagement, but low uniques, then you have an interesting event, but you need to pull in more viewers.

Since its relatively easy to create strategies focusing on either one of those goals, you can easily evaluate if your strategies are succeeding.  Overall, minutes captures both these metrics and lets you compare apples to apples.

Conclusion

Hopefully, now that you understand minutes and how you can use them to better monetize and grow your event.  If you’re interested in specific examples for how to monetize and increase minutes, check out our Live Webcast Strategy Guide.  It’s a free 20-page strategy guide filled with tips, insights, best practices and additional resources to attract the most viewers, create better engagement and get the most return from sponsorships.

 

Topics: Webcast Tips, Webcast Sponsorship, Webcast Promotion, Webcast Marketing

Download our Free Live Webcast Strategy Guide

Posted by Jeff Harper on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 @ 11:12 AM

Get results from your live webcastFor action sports events, reaching hundred of thousands of viewers around the world through a live webcast promises enormous potential. Most event organizers, however, currently lack sufficient understanding of live online broadcasts to optimize and fully monetize them for their event. Without that knowledge, the return on investment, both in terms of audience and sponsorship, is not yet close to what it could be.  Lower returns have a direct effect on the long-term success of the event.

Learn how to plan a live webcast with greater returns by delivering the results sponsors crave.


In working with our partners, Adrenaline Garage has taken an interest in seeing their event properties grow.  We’ve observed that there are ways to strategically increase the value of live broadcasts and increase an event’s attractiveness to sponsors.  We collected the best practices and explored new directions in order to create a comprehensive strategy guide to accelerate our partner’s success.

Download this free live webcast strategy guide and learn:

  • What sponsors want and how a live webcast best fulfills their needs.
  • What your audience wants and why that’s important to sponsors.
  • 7 criteria to identify a provider that can deliver results.
  • 17 essential tactics that add value and deliver results for live events

Adrenaline Garage has increased webcast audiences by almost 4000% and been recognized as the world-wide leader in webcast quality.  Find out how we did it and maximize the results for your live webcast.

Download 20 pages of tips, insights, best practices and additional resources to attract the most viewers and get the most return from sponsorships.

Topics: Webcast Tips, Webcast Sponsorship, Webcast Promotion, Live Webcast Solutions, HD Webcast Production, Webcast Marketing

5 Essential Tools to Promote Your Live Webcast with Facebook

Posted by Jeff Harper on Tue, Dec 7, 2010 @ 09:12 AM

How to use Facebook to promote your live webcastAside from distributing your webcast through relevant community sites, no other website has the ability to drive as much traffic as Facebook.  With 25% of all pageviews in the US and 500 million registered users, no other website comes close to providing the same reach.  In addition, with a mature set of social media tools, no other website is as well suited to target your potential viewers.

We've found that simply creating an event or page is not enough.  Just a like a webcast player, your Facebook page needs to be active, seeking out your potential viewers and drawing them in with quality, compelling content that is designed to be shared and interacted with.  We've compiled a few of the most successful techniques to get you started with promoting your event and live stream.

Create a Facebook Page

Facebook pages are Facebook's official means for a brand to connect with its fans.  The primary benefit of a page is that once it has been "liked" by a fan, any content the brand posts has a chance of appearing in the fan's feed--essentially the home page for each user in Facebook.  The advantage of this method compared to a traditional website is that a Facebook page doesn't require your fans to visit your site to discover new content.  It's content finds them.

The goal of an event's page should be to cultivate a large passionate fan following.  Like any good website, that means creating compelling content.  Doing so increases the likelihood that your fans will participate in your event and even assist with the marketing.  However, growing your fan base takes time.  To do this, ideally, an event should create a Facebook page months before and maintain it with quality content year round. As the event draws near, these fans will become your "street team" and share your content with other people likely to have an interest in your event.

Tip: Content that inspires interaction is more likely to be seen and shared.  Be creative with your content and find ways of involving your fan base.  For example, rather than having a first-come, first serve registration, ask athletes to upload videos of themselves.  Then, invite your users to comment.  Base (some) invitations to your open event on the posted videos. It's an easy way to create content and encourage interaction.

Create a Facebook Event

Create a facebook event for your live broadcastWhile Facebook provides you access to your fans' streams, it is sometimes challenging to rise above the noise. While there are ways to increase the likeliness of your content appearing in a user's feed (which we will get to), there is no guarantee.  Unfortunately, due to concerns about spam, Facebook does not give you access to your fans' email addresses.

However, there is one way to promote your event that does get attention and creates significant interaction.  Facebook has a built-in application called Facebook Events.  Due to the nature of your organization, this is a natural tool.  When you set this up, it can automatically send an email to each of your fans.  As you can customize the content of the invitation, this is a great way to reach them.  Unless a fan indicates that they won't be attending, they continue to get email updates as more content is posted on the event's page.  As a result, this method tends to create significant response and interaction.

Tip:  If you make your event "public" you allow other people to invite their friends to your event.  As a result, their network becomes included with yours and receives all the updates.  Encourage your athletes and fans to invite their friends to your event to expand your reach.

Create Quality Content

Facebook uses a secret algorithm to determine whether or not a piece of content will be displayed in the user's feed.  It attempts to measure relevance and quality and ranks each piece of content accordingly.  As the relevance and quality increases, the piece of content will appear in more feeds.

The primary way the algorithm determines this is by measuring clicks, comments and sharing.  Improving your content's rank requires creating content that inspires interaction.  If your content is of low quality, then it won't be seen by as many users.

Tip: The Facebook algorithm will increase the rank of a piece of content if it includes tags.  To maximize the rank of your content, be sure to tag any names or pages within your post.

Create a Welcome Page

One of the weaknesses of the default Facebook page is that it's hard to get the most important content from your event up front and center.  As you publish content on your wall, older content gets pushed lower and lower and the info page doesn't allow any custom fields.

A landing page is a great place to host your live webcast player

However, Facebook allows you to create a custom landing page.  It's a great way to tell potential viewers what your event is all about.  It also makes important information, such as times and locations, easily accessible.  Your webcast player is one piece of content that you'll want to make easily discoverable.  As such, this is a perfect location to post the player.

Tip:  As we've mentioned, it's important to get as many fans as possible.  Don't forget to include a call to action on your welcome page that encourages new users to "like" your page.

There are a lot of great sites to find inspiration for your Facebook landing page.

Use Facebook Social Plug-ins

As you can see, there are a lot of advantages to using Facebook.  However, Facebook functionality is not strictly limited within the confines of Facebook.com.  Facebook makes it easy to integrate their functionality on your website.  With just a few lines of HTML code, you can easily allow users on your website to share your content with their friends on Facebook.  It's a great way to broadcast your user's activities to their friends and drive more traffic to your site.

Try it out:

Tip: Make sure that you include a "Share" button next to your webcast player.  This is a great way for your viewers to alert their friends when the broadcast is live.

What ideas do you have to promote your live webcast through Facebook?

Topics: Webcast Tips, Webcast Promotion, Webcast Marketing