Sky experiments with video tweets

Sky Sports is looking at furthering its growing online reach via the use of Grabyo Studio, a new product that lets it grab, edit and share TV clips in real-time across social media and its own websites.

Sky’s initial focus seems to be on Twitter where it is using the cloud-based Grabyo Studio to tweet clips from its UEFA Champions’ League matches with a minimal lag as a way of boosting exposure of its CL coverage and advertising its OTT NOW TV service. This follows a successful trial of its deadline day coverage at the start of September where, using GS it racked up an impressive 570k clip views within 12 hectic hours.

These ranged from 105 views (a simple trail) to 80,000 (news that Arsenal had signed Mesut Ozil), with further analysis showing that over 6000 clips were reshared to a total reach of 7m users across social media. The numbers are pretty impressive, especially when measured against mounting an advertising campaign of the same scope, and all in all they impressed the broadcaster enough to go ahead with the service for the Champions’ League (though it is still cautiously referring to it as a pilot).

Grabyo Studio is an evolution of the viewer-driven Grabyo app which launched with Sky Living’s ‘Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model’ back in June. That syncs up with the show and enables viewers to capture and share and endlessly comment on the last 20 seconds of video with each other in ad-supported clips.

Rather than relying on the six-second brevity inherent in Twitter’s own Vine service, Grabyo uses the Twitter card API that allows users to attach much fuller and longer media experiences to Tweets that link to content. The Studio iteration of the Grabyo technology uses a browser-based HTML5 interface allowing broadcasters to preview and edit clips (or indeed images) before they are shared with hashtags and a description across Twitter, Facebook and websites. Twitter clips play inline as Twitter cards, without leaving Twitter; Facebook clips play inline in the news feed and/or as a tab on the broadcaster’s Facebook page; while in webpages Grabyo’s gallery is a responsive iFrame which can be embedded in any site. The product also features integrated video ad-serving for that all-important monetisation attempt.

“The real-time nature of our platform drives conversation by helping broadcasters publish live TV content onto these platforms faster than ever before,” comments Grabyo founder, Will Neale. “Broadcasters not only retain ownership of their content by releasing it before others, but also have the opportunity to monetise it with ads. We’re working with a number of broadcasters to launch realtime clip sharing on a wide variety of programmes in the coming months.”

Exactly who these will be is under wraps, though it does look like CBS has signed up for some sort of service with the company. And comments by Dave Gibbs, director of Sky Sports Digital Media, about the importance of making sure that Sky is first online with its own clips and “owns the social conversation around TV highlights” suggests that other rights holders will be giving such technology serious consideration too.

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