Earlier in the month I wrote about Twistage’s concept of video workflow. Today I want to delve a little deeper and talk about a specific piece of the online video space, and how it fits into this concept of workflow. Let’s talk about the video player, shall we. In the online video space the player is merely a small piece of the pie. But a player does not a platform make.
Video players are cool. There’s no doubt about it. They are the forward face of any online video offering. But as I hear more and more of the players in the online video space continually touting “this customizable skin,” or “that customizable player button,” it seems more and more that some companies view online video platforms as nothing more than a branded player. Sure, changing the color of your player skin is important, but its not a business model. It’s a basic feature.
And to online video platforms the player should be nothing more than a commodity. Sure, platforms are more than able to build-out and pretty up their standard player, but at the end of the day there are dozens of online video players that are already doing a much better job. Opensource video player Flowplayer offers a completely customizable player with a plug-in model for extra features and functionality. Flowplayer consistently offers the best in front-end player solutions, and with the help of a huge online community is constantly innovating and improving their offering. With solutions like this available across the web it seems ludicrous to force publishers into using a certain player.
Let the publishers have the freedom to pick and choose their player and how it functions, not just what it looks like.
To us here at Twistage, the video player isn’t the business. The business is making the publisher’s relationship with that player as easy and streamlined as possible. We follow a model of abstraction layers: while we offer Twistage standard products, publishers are also able to choose any video player, choose any encoding system, choose any CMS, and we’ll automate, streamline and glue together these disparate elements. That is what a true platform is… a foundation with the tools to build and customize your own infrastructure. A video solution shouldn’t be chock full of 20 different solutions for managing, reporting and publishing mixed with countless hours of manual labor. A video solution should be a unified whole: a streamlined, automated and customized workflow.
As the year quickly draws to a close, I think it’s time we reevaluate what a video platform is. Too many times have I heard too much about the player. It’s time to move beyond the simple visual customizations, and it’s time to focus on creating a strong foundation before focusing on the front end.
To misquote Hamlet: the player’s not the thing.