YouTube has been incorporating the option to use annotations in videos for a while now, allowing users to click on a link within a video or add notations. In doing so, YouTube has paved the way for interactive video players to emerge, getting viewers more involved in the watching process. Instead of seeing, “If you’re interested in [insert here], check out this website, [insert here],” users can actually immediately click on a link while viewing. No googling, no opening new tabs, no searching for a concept/site that may or may not exist. It’s that easy! Which is why the latest trend in video technology is interactive video players.
CNET Update recently debuted a new video player online that shows other information about the featured stories directly beside the video while it’s playing. Extra facts and links pop up in real time as CNET Update host, Bridget Carey talks about them. If the viewer is more curious about the latest Xbox updates, he/she can click on a link that pops up and check out more information. Just like that. CNET is hoping that the use of this interactive video player will eliminate the need for talking heads, but we’ll see how the public responds in time.
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Similarly, Fathom’s new interactive video player, INGAGE uses the same concept as YouTube’s annotations with a more user-friendly twist. INGAGE (which stands for interactive engagement) embeds click-able buttons onto videos to take users to other pages or videos. The player also includes detailed analytics, much like YouTube. The difference? Everything is on the video player, not through an exterior site (i.e. YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) This is extremely ideal for businesses that want to lead users to product pages, checkout pages or landing pages. It’s all very self-explanatory.
These all sound pretty simple, very user-friendly, without too many bells and whistles. Well, here’s a pretty wicked one: the BBC adopted an interactive video player to showcase the 2012 London Olympics online. They also so kindly made every sport available to watch online live and in HD every single day (no ridiculous delay from NBC). Viewers could easily switch between 24 live streams any time, pause and rewind, or jump to any point in time using chapter markers. Alerts popped up for key events, and extra facts appeared beside the video as you watched. This way, if you missed an event, you could catch it again online, and if you didn’t have a TV, you didn’t have to be in the dark. Of course, NBC also featured the Olympics online with the new Microsoft Silverlight player, complete with DVR-like features.
Using an interactive video player on the homepage of your website could create a lot of attraction. There’d be no need to scroll and read when one can watch a video and learn about your company through that. Is this our future?
CNET Update: http://www.beet.tv/2012/06/cnet-bridget-carey.html
BBC Olympics: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2012/06/interactive_video_player_launc.html
Shannon Strong is an idea curator at Green Buzz Agency. She is currently studying film and television production at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. If you’d like, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.