Launched in April 2008, Adobe TV is a free online video resource for expert instruction and inspiration about Adobe products, including the Adobe Creative Suite® family of world-class creative tools. Designed to educate, inspire and entertain the creative community, Adobe TV is available online at tv.adobe.com and as a network of shows in the new Adobe Media Player. With a goal of encouraging customers and prospects to actively use their Adobe products and discover new ones, Adobe TV demonstrates the power of Adobe’s leading video technologies from creation to playback. In its first two months, the Adobe TV website recorded close to 250,000 unique visitors and 1.5 million views, while 1.3 million unique visitors consumed over 20 million views via the Adobe TV Network in the Adobe Media Player.
From the beginning, Adobe wanted to ensure it could efficiently and quickly publish new content on a daily basis to multiple distribution channels and deliver a flawless experience to users worldwide. That’s why it turned to Akamai.
Adobe needed to meet two key requirements to support its brand and objectives:
Adobe was impressed by Akamai’s ability to accommodate its unique requirements, as well as with the flexibility of Akamai Stream OS to meet its enterprise goals. That, combined with the fact that the Akamai content delivery network (CDN) provided outstanding capabilities to reach a global audience, convinced Bob Donlon, executive producer for Adobe TV, that Akamai was the right choice.
Once Adobe chose to work with Akamai, it was easy for Adobe TV to get up and running in a relatively short timeframe. The Akamai Media Framework – a developer toolkit with player source code – provided a foundation that enabled Adobe to easily connect to Akamai Stream OS workflows and the media delivery network. “To launch a project of this scale – including custom video player applications – in just five months was incredible,” says Donlon.
The flexibility of the Stream OS solution, such as the ability to accommodate a variety of workflows, was critical for Adobe. For example, Adobe wanted to include links next to the videos on Adobe TV so site visitors could download a trial version of the Adobe product being demonstrated. “It would have put a tremendous burden on our team to update all our web pages manually,” explains Donlon. With Stream OS, Adobe is able to include links as part of the metadata associated with each video. Once the video is published, the links automatically appear. In addition, the metadata makes content easily discoverable by site visitors.
Adobe understands the importance of offering new programming daily to build a loyal audience and encourage repeat visits. Since launching with 200 videos, the company has published 2-6 new videos each weekday. Because Adobe publishes to both the Adobe TV site and the Adobe Media Player, it faced potential duplication of efforts. At the same time, Adobe needed to enable multiple employees to publish content for Adobe TV – without requiring them to learn about the underlying technology.
With Akamai’s Stream OS solution, Adobe can publish streaming video using a virtually seamless workflow and reduce the bottlenecks typically associated with manually publishing video. “Without the solution, we would have been forced to manually publish our content to two locations – an expensive and tedious undertaking,” explains Donlon.
Adobe Media Player is a desktop streaming video player that offers a broad range of television programming and entertaining video content from major television broadcasters and leading content publishers, including CBS, MTV Networks, Universal Music Group, PBS, Condé-Net and Scripps Networks.
The Adobe Media Player relies on RSS feeds to update and publish its large content library. Stream OS supports the RSS publishing standard with both the Media Framework – which offers player best practices to support parsing and publishing of RSS to Adobe Flash® Player – and RSS Manager, for easy creation and content updates of RSS feeds.
“It was simple to take advantage of Stream OS to enable our publishing workflow, especially since our media player is an RSS aggregator,” says Donlon. Content is uploaded to directories in Stream OS that are mapped to the correct RSS feed, resulting in a hands-off approach to publishing. Additional distribution channels can be added simply by creating another RSS fee.
Adobe’s goal is to get the word out about its products to as many people as possible. By enabling people to embed Adobe videos on their own sites or pages, the company greatly expands its reach. “Because Akamai is delivering all our videos – even when they appear on someone else’s site – we maintain control of the experience and can be confident that the playback quality positively reflects the Adobe brand,” says Donlon. By leveraging the power of word of mouth and the network effect of the Internet, Adobe greatly increases the reach of its message and the success of Adobe TV – without a substantial marketing investment.
Because the Akamai Media Framework is completely open, Adobe was able to create a custom streaming video player experience that met its unique requirements, including community features such as ratings and rankings by popularity. Once viewers rate content, Stream OS publishes the information to the Adobe TV interface in the RSS feed. Through Stream OS reporting tools, Adobe can determine how many viewers are accessing content on the Adobe TV site and via the Adobe Media Player.
Video is a powerful way for Adobe to educate, inspire and entertain the creative community, enabling the company to show users how to get the most from Adobe products. With Akamai powering Adobe’s media management and distribution workflow, the company can easily manage and catalog videos that reach millions of designers and developers worldwide while directly impacting the bottom line. “Adobe’s vision with Adobe TV was to use online video to engage with our customer base in a more powerful way. The success of this endeavor is evidenced by our nearly 10% conversion rate for trial downloads from the Adobe TV site. That means we are effectively inspiring our audience and increasing the likelihood of converting browsers to buyers,” concludes Donlon.