Industry April 2013

From Novelty to Necessity

Why more firms are using online video to reach clients and staff

In a few short years, live streaming video has gone from being a novelty to a necessity for business. Buoyed by the explosion of social media, increased bandwidth and an ever-growing number of web-ready devices, online video has become a preferred way for many firms to communicate and forge ties.

While short videos of dancing cats and pratfalls dominate social media, many firms are turning to online video for internal and external communications. Late adopters of this technology are now rushing to catch up on this largely consumer-driven trend.

In the post-Lehman era, many firms are looking for cost effective ways to reach clients and streaming video has become a popular choice for conveying a message to large groups and keeping clients informed.

But it wasn’t an easy transition. The pioneers in the field approached it from an IT perspective and setting up a live stream was complicated, confusing and sometimes frustrating. In the end, it didn’t look great either.

It was a situation ripe for innovation. As a Tokyo-based video-production company with 30 years’ experience of both broadcast and corporate clients, virgin earth has been involved in a wide variety of projects, including the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and The Amazing Race television programmes, as well as concerts of Beyoncé, Coldplay and Bon Jovi. We also shoot CEO interviews and corporate events for internal and external communications.

Leveraging this experience, virgin earth saw a need for a turnkey, high-quality streaming video service—from project management and video production to the final online product.

Most other firms that provide this service don’t have the production background that virgin earth does. Instead, they approach it from a computer background and don’t look at the quality of the video, audio or lighting.

In mid-2011, we developed and launched EarthStream, a live or on-demand streaming service incorporating high-end video production to produce live video streaming for audiences online. It’s a complete live experience for the user. EarthStream broadcasts the event with synced slides and records it in high-definition video. We then upload the video and slides to the web and viewers can see it on demand.

Our clients use this service for various reasons, including secure internal corporate communications or to build a corporate culture. The technology can also be used for events such as stockholder meetings, training and conference calls.

We help clients manage their projects from start to finish and serve as the middle point between audiences online and the technology, to make the most of the video. Imagine, for example, the cost, time and size of venue needed to get 120 people from all over Japan to a sales meeting in Tokyo. For a fraction of the price, EarthStream can stream the event live from the firm’s office. The benefit is that this service is immediate and time saving; people can watch it from anywhere on PCs, iPads and Android devices, and information gets disseminated very quickly.

There are challenges with any new technology and security is often an issue. We help clients manage this by offering different levels of web streaming: fully public and password protected, with or without registration.

As the popularity of streaming video grows, firms will start finding more ways of using EarthStream to communicate with clients and staff. Live web streaming is unlikely to soon replace face-to-face communications, which is a key part of building relationships. But as bandwidth and technology evolve, streaming video products such as EarthStream are sure to become an indispensable tool for building business.