Taking video to a new level of engagement
Recently, I was watching videos on the Bulls and Beavers You Tube channel and I came across one with Todd Birkholz of The Outdoor Channel. Chris Burget of Bulls and Beavers is doing a quick interview with Todd as he presents The Outdoor Channel with a Best of the Best Award from Bulls and Beavers.
Toward the end of the video, Todd mentions the newly redesigned Website and how the wonderful content makes the online world one of the best of the best for hunters using the Web. The video as Todd describes is now available extensively on the new site (over 130 show pages with 50 state pages) so visitors can increase the value they receive from The Outdoor Channel. It’s a great strategy for The Outdoor Channel to improve their customers’ experience while increasing traffic and advertising revenue.
Let’s take a closer look at the newly redesigned site…
The Outdoor Channel has always had some of the best video content available on their television channel so it makes sense that they highlight video content on their Website.
The presentation of the video player on the site is unique to The Outdoor Channel. The players sits on the right side of the page while there is a promotional area to the left that displays a rotating presentation of other channels. It’s a good setup to present the video content the visitors have chosen to view while cross promoting the other content on the site.
The full screen option has a clever design as well showcasing the other video content at the bottom of the screen for a brief second before it collapses so the viewer can view a true full screen of the video they’ve chosen.
An important aspect of the site to note is that there is some text content on each page to attract search engines. While search engines are getting better at crawling video and imagery on sites, they still need text to be able to determine what a site and page are about so they can return relevant results to their users.
Having detailed descriptions is a crucial element to have on your site if you’re going to utilize video.
Personalities and Branding
The Outdoor Channel Personalities page is an example of a great way to organize content on a site.
Fans connect with and seek content from their favorite personalities and providing them with a way to access their favorites within a few clicks enhances user experience while increasing loyalty.
Once a visitor clicks on their favorite personality (or perhaps one they are curious about) they are taken to a page dedicated to personality. The pages are full of great bios, descriptions and of course great video clips.
On each personality page, fans can connect with their favorite outdoor folks on Facebook or write comments on the Outdoor Channel page.
Each show on the channel has its own page on the site. This gives fans of individual shows access to exclusive content they can’t find anywhere else. There are video clips, photos, and other content to keep fans occupied while spending time on the site.
With My Outdoor Channel, The Outdoor Channel has allowed their audience to build user generated content around the passions users share for the outdoors as well as for the content on The Outdoor Channel TV channel and the Website.
My Outdoor Channel is a lot like MySpace and other social networking sites in that it allows users to keep profiles, find friends, post videos and photos, write blogs, and interact in other ways that connect people around their passion for the outdoors and The Outdoor Channel.
Monetizing Online Content
As with their TV strategy, it appears The Outdoor Channel is utilizing sponsorships and advertising to generate income from their site.
As the site continues adding video clips and more features that increase viewings and page views, they’ll see an increase in revenue as brands look to connect with their target audience that is viewing content on The Outdoor Channel.
Also available on the site are DVDs of popular shows on The Outdoor Channel. This is a strategy that seems to make sense as fans of the personalities and shows look to have hard, physical copies of their favorites at home for their viewing anytime they want.
Possible Future Strategies
Entire Show Videos
Since The Outdoor Channel is focusing on ad revenue for their site, it’s important to increase the metrics that advertisers look for when determining where to spend their money. Advertisers are looking for branding opportunities and direct sales conversions for the companies.
From what I can see right now, it appears there are only clips of shows and videos on the site. This leaves viewers to subscribe to satellite or cable to view the entire shows on the television channel when the shows are scheduled (or on DVR at their viewing pleasures…which allows people to skip commercials).
It seems like it would be beneficial for The Outdoor Channel to test showing entire show videos on their site. They could break the videos up into segments to allow for advertising videos in between segments. There are other creative ways to implement successful and relevant advertising into clips and entire show videos as well.
Since viewers may not be able to see their favorites shows on TV each week they may be missing out and advertisers on the TV channel may be missing out on impressions. By allowing viewers to see shows on the site, The Outdoor Channel could increase traffic to the site while providing value to their customers giving visitors reason to repeatedly visit the site while increasing time on the site and traffic.
As a way to increase the text content on the site, The Outdoor Channel has the resources to put together an awesome blog for their followers.
Staff members could highlight videos on the site and write about what’s happening with the content on the site and the video on the TV channel. People like Todd could write about updates to the site’s features.
I like what the staff is doing with the CMT Blog. This could be a potential model to follow.
There is potentially room to have the TV stars write posts and provide updates on their shows and what they’re seeing in the hunting world. Even if it was once a month or so, the content would add up and visitors would love it and keep coming to the site for updates.
Search engines love text content that is updated frequently and a blog seems like a perfect addition to the site.
The more content and page son the site would only increase page views, which means stronger metrics to entice relevant advertisers.
The Outdoor Channel’s new site is wonderful. There is a ton of great video content on the site for visitors to view and interact with. The way the content is displayed makes it easy for visitors to take in the video content and to share the content with their hunting buddies.
What are your thoughts on the newly redesigned Outdoor Channel Website?
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