We were delighted to be featured on Live Stream Insider’s last week. Co-founder Jo York took part in the 50-minute chat on Blab with presenters Peter Stewart (in London) and Krishna De (in Dublin).
Live Stream Insiders discusses all things livestreaming technologies and in case you missed it you can watch again here – ‘Build your livestream and replay audience through UGC micro content – with Reframed.tv’
We covered so many things in the show about how we make your videos more social – including all the basics of how Reframed works for content creators big and small as well as the data we get, why it’s of value and the step by step process to get your event livestreamed – that we thought it easiest to include a transcript (paraphrased in places due to length), which we hope you find useful to give Reframed a go or try new features.
Thanks again to Peter and Krishna for the awesome opportunity.
Peter: Can you give us an overview of Reframed?
Jo: It’s been very much a learning process, which is true of things in startup world, if you’re doing it properly. We started from trying to take TV and make it a lot more democratic. Take the internet and TV then smoosh them together. We joined a tech accelerator and they said ‘you have three months and that will take you eight years so why don’t you scale it down a bit?’ I think that’s also a British concept, “scaling it down a bit”.
We were speaking to people who went to conferences. They said…there’s lots of Twitter activity. The one thing they would do is make a note on a piece of paper and look back at it a week later and have no idea what it meant. So we thought wouldn’t it be great if you could tweet that and it would drop you straight into the moment of that video so you’d know exactly what that Tweet or note was referring to.
From there we built the idea outwards, integrating it with Twitter – where most people discuss live content. That made a lot of sense and we’ve gradually found that that solves a lot of problems for not only people in conferences but for broadcasters, people in news, and anyone really because video is one of the fastest growing elements of the web at the moment.
So that’s a quick run-through of where we’ve got to with the product we have now.
Peter: So essentially it is joining the concept of live video streaming and as people make comments, they are attached to the video at that particular point?
Jo: We wrap the social content around the video. We didn’t want to put anything over the video because we understand that’s an artform in itself. So we literally wrap around the interface video. It works with YouTube, hangouts, YTLive, Vimeo, Kaltura, self-hosted video. It’s just a very simple snippet of code, which wraps our interface around the video and it timestamps the tweets either from the live broadcast. When you’re watching the video these comments come in at the moment they’re actually relevant.
We also have a box at bottom where you leave comments directly from the video so you don’t get that horrible comment feed. We bring those comments in at the moment they’re relevant.
Over the timeline, we have an activity graph so you can jump around the video to see which bits were the most popular. You can hover around the comments and get an idea of what people were talking about at that specific moment within the video.
Peter: How does it work?
Jo: It works in two different ways. We capture live tweets using a hashtag and that’s why people don’t even have to know about us. it’s just normal user behaviour. In the case of Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s first ever PMQs, we take the video and do what we call ‘retroframing’, which started off as a joke and is now what we call it.
This is where we don’t have the live video so we grab all the tweets and as soon as the video becomes available on YouTube we just sync them up and then we release it. We can put in our own bookmarks and tweet out the really interesting moments.
There is usually a whole load of Twitter activity from us on Wednesday afternoons and evenings where we’re dropping people into that moment where a specific question was asked or something else that people are talking about. We can drop you into that exact moment.
Peter: And that’s to do with the time reference of when the Tweet went out… to the minute or can you be more accurate than that?
Jo: Yes, if we’re just grabbing the tweets and they’re separate from us we just import them to the moment they were sent live. So, yes that is just a correlation with time.
The way that the algorithm displays them is fairly top secret but it’s a fine balance between how much activity there is and how much we know about you. So if you’re logged into our Player with your Twitter account, we know the people you follow. So if everyone else is like me, my friends can say something really quite inane but I’m going to care about that more than someone else who might be more insightful. So I get to see my friends’ reactions as more important than other people that I don’t know.
Peter: Ah right, so you’re not seeing everything that is mentioned, you’re seeing things more tailored to your Twitter followers?
Jo: Yes. You can see a lot of it but what we found in our early iterations is if you show everything that’s happening on Twitter you feel like it’s hitting you around the face. No one can deal with that.
Peter: Absolutely, it’s going to be too much.
Jo: So we’ve created this experience that makes it feel a lot calmer. We have comment slots that come in from the side. We have a number of those comment slots and we show the most interesting ones and you can use the left and arrows to drill in and out of them.
If you’ve got a smaller screen, the algorithm will adapt so you might be able to fit two comment slots on there and if you’re on a mobile you only have one comment slot so we grab the most interesting tweet and show you a tailored experience.
The other thing is that if you Tweet directly from our Player, we can be a lot more specific. It will sync the tweet from the moment you start typing.
Peter. I can see there are other things like private conversations and open discussions that you can have as well but we’ll come back to that later. As a broadcaster watching people’s reactions to a programme during live broadcast is really valuable data, isn’t it?
Jo: Yes and we can also do sentiment analysis as well. So, around the election debates last year we built a suite of fairly rudimentary sentiment analysis. We partner with people who have those fancy pants algorithms that work out what people are saying but then tailor the timeline for them.
For instance, we can show them when people are really are angry about money (for example) and it will re-draw the graph to jump into those moments. So, in that kind of treatment, we’re looking at the reactions as being half of the conversation and then we’re syncing them back to those moments so you can see why those people were tweeting about those things at that specific time.
Peter: It reminds me of the BBC’s wiggly worm, which shows a general feeling, but isn’t very detailed.
Jo: With the BBC’s worms, you can see the peaks but it’s important to know why those reactions are happening at those points. We did some work with the Scottish Referendum debate as well and there was this whole bit about Nicola Sturgeon’s legs and we couldn’t work out why so many people were tweeting about it. It was only when we synced back earlier to a cutaway to her legs and it turns out the people of Scotland hadn’t seen her legs before, which was weird.
You can also take those bits out of the conversation if you don’t want them. We have in-house tools for that. We use swearing as a measurement of arousal and have a profanity filter. We like to watch it with it on. We can filter it out or put them in. To see what people are passionate about and what it is that’s made them angry using those tools and being able to filter them is really useful.
Peter: Presumably it’s useful for adverts too, e.g. John Lewis. That is gold dust.
Jo: Yes and it’s about the asynchronous conversations that are happening because each time that advert goes out there’s a different set of people talking about it. It’s one of the reasons why what we’re doing is so interesting to broadcasters as well. We’re living in a world now where we can choose when we watch that content but all of the social media channels are geared up for ‘now’. So as soon as you get away from ‘now’, you can’t really join in with that conversation. So what we do is we join all those conversations together. So whenever people were watching it, you can see it’s that bit of the video that causes that response, not that they happened to be watching it at 8 o’clock on a Thursday or 2 o’clock on Sunday afternoon.
So bringing that conversation together and being able to put it back into context is really interesting.
Peter: We’re talking with Jo York from Reframed TV. They’ve got a fantastic new platform, which is essentially linking the tweets that are sent at certain times while someone is watching a live video stream. They marry those together to give a gold mine of information to a broadcaster or maybe an advertiser or even for you if you just generally want to take part in a conversation to see what other people who saw the same thing as you, what their reaction was, what their interaction was with a programme, advert or maybe with a film or maybe for a conference all at the same time, which is absolutely fascinating.
Krishna: I came across the product through events. TDC Manchester and the Web Summit in Dublin…Tell us how it works with events being livestreamed and the infrastructure we need to have in place.
Jo: If the event is being livestreamed through YouTube live or hangouts, they just need to tweet the URL of the video with a hashtag and our automation will pick it up and automatically Reframe it. Or we have a form on our website on the Livestreams page and we will automatically sync your tweets, it will automatically start when you press go.
We can work with other platforms, but we have to schedule them. So, if you’re using Vimeo or Kaltura or something, yes, get in contact and we can see if there’s a way to get involved.
Krishna: Have you explored or is it even possible to work with platforms such as Periscope?
Jo: It’s on our development list of things to look into. We have a really good relationship with the UK Twitter team. They’ve been really supportive so the more ways we can integrate with Twitter’s companies, the way that things are already being done on Twitter, the stronger a position we have.
At the moment, we’re trying to work out what the best mobile experience is and that’s one of the next things that’s really important to us. Obviously mobile is really huge, but trying to get everything to work and not have to build a native app for every single platform, we have a very small team, is quite a challenge. So that’s the next 3-6 months, really looking at that and making sure we have a strong platform so people can have that social experience even on a very small screen.
Krishna: Sticking with events, if I can tell you what the event is, how does money change hands?
Jo: We have a free version at the moment, which allows you to sync up all of the tweets. And that’s really because we’re changing behaviour. When we’re speaking to the brands all of their campaigns are very much set up for shorter and shorter Vine-style, snackable videos and what we’re saying is you don’t have to do that, you don’t have to re-edit the video, we can just drop you in at that point.
And actually the advantages of that are huge, because we’ve found that we can get people to watch on average up to 6 times longer. The PMQs usually lasts around 35 minutes, but the average viewing time on that video is over an hour and so in terms of increasing the time that people are spending on it, Reframed is really effective at that.
And of course as soon as people log in and Tweet it means you can start to put people to your audience to your community and of course, for events, building a community is part of it. It’s part of that live shared experience where you can all come together almost like a pop-up community once a year and share all of these ideas. And then you can go back into those moments so it’s a really good fit for conferences.
So, yes, we have a free version you can add to the website and you can even embed the video to your own website. We actually didn’t mean to create a platform, we just wanted to create a Player but there’s a lot of proof and experimentation that we want to do and so we’ve built the platform to show how it works really and allow people to grab the embed code and add that to their website.
The Dublin Web Summit, I’m not sure if we caught that through automation or it was something we did ourselves and Thinking Digital Manchester, the whole team have been really supportive. We’ve known Herb Kim for a number of years and he’s really excited with what we can do with Reframed. He trusted us enough to put the livestream free and to wrap that Player around it and manage that experience for them and they add it to their website.
The way that it becomes something that we charge for is if we’re customising the Player. So, if we’re taking all of our branding off it, that’s a paid-for thing. We can actually show adverts and queued activity at the side as well as all the tweets and all of the conversations. So that’s something we offer to brands.
In terms of being able to link up just normal tweet activity that isn’t live, that’s a relationship that we need to have and we’re really looking for partnerships so the reason we don’t have a very straightforward pricing structure on our site is because we really want to work out what everyone wants to do, how can we add value and how could we just offer some advice and not have to get involved at all.
So, we’re very keen to speak to people who have livestream events. The main sources where it becomes more like income for us is where something is a bit more tailored or where someone has an entire platform.
One of the things we don’t really touch on on our website is that everyone can have their own user profile and every tweet that’s been synced and every comment they’ve made, you get a dashboard and you can link into those specific moments of video.
I use it a lot for TED Talks so I can make my own private notes. What usually happens when you’ve seen great talks is you want to share those with people so I’ll be speaking to someone and I’ll say you need to watch this amazing talk. I can’t remember what it’s called, I can’t remember who said it, because they’re all amazing, so I’ll send you the link.
So I can tweet that exact moment of video to whoever I was talking to about it. It will put the entire video in Twitter and play it from that exact moment as well.
So there’s loads of other things we can do with platforms, but our first job really is to…in startup world people like to call it disruptive but we’re hoping we’re doing the complete opposite from disrupting it, we’re linking all of these conversations together. So we need to show people that it is possible and get them using it before we figure out who are the people we are going to charge for.
But at the moment there is a free livestreaming option and we’d like very much for everyone to try that and give us their feedback. It may not always be completely free but we’d like to offer something for free because we become more of an option for people.
Krishna: On your site it says ‘Reframe your website”. Perhaps you can explain to people what that means?
Jo: One of the battles we’ve had is explaining in as few words as possible what we actually do and we’re not always as effective as we’d like to be so hopefully we’re getting better at that.
You can Reframe individual videos by pasting in the YouTube or Vimeo URL, into a box on the site and we’ll give you the embed code.
Or you can put a very simple snippet of code in the header of your website and it will automatically Reframe all the videos that are compatible on an entire website.
So you either Reframe your entire website with one line of code. Or if you just want to try it for one video you can do that as well.
Peter: I’ve noticed the icons that come in on the tweets on the Player and it looks like you’re able to correspond directly with them.
Jo: Yes. All of the tweets are still tweets so you can reply to them, you can retweet them, and, again it will put that moment in the video within Twitter. So it’s not here’s a tweet and here’s a still and we animate it, it will just drop it in for you. So we can do this live and we can do this quite often and it’s something we were doing with the Thinking Digital team at the start of everyone’s talk. We just added a comment saying so and so’s talk starting now to highlight when the speaker starts so it automatically brings people in. As a livestream you can be bringing more and more people in but it’s all there afterwards as well.
We’ve found that getting people there live is one struggle, you can get them there a couple of hours later or a couple of days later so it’s almost like the long tail of live video.
Peter: And then people can add to the conversation even though they’re watching it after the fact, yeah?
Jo: Exactly, yeah.
Peter: And then correspond to someone who left a message perhaps the week before and say I liked that, have you seen this so you’re building up a community first of all but also you’re making that data much more important if you can go back and check who has watched this, who was giving you some really good tweets during the course of your presentation and then approach them directly yourself as a business, as a brand, as a broadcaster.
Jo: Yes, exactly. We’ve also got a couple of tools as well. So at the moment something that we pushed live last week was we showed the top 5 tweets from any one video stream so you can jump straight into those moments at the bottom as well. You can go back in then and say we featured your tweet and that brings people back into the conversation.
Of course whenever anyone is doing a live talk, it’s very difficult to give a very good presentation, be on twitter and see what everyone is tweeting at you so it’s also a chance for all those speakers to go back and look at what people picked up on, what people liked about it, the questions they still had and then go and answer all those questions or add a link to some other material as a reference. So you can add links to other resources, you can link to different videos. It’s just another way of bringing that video to life and making it work a bit harder.
Because video’s expensive, particularly if you’re livestreaming at a conference. You have to have at least a small camera crew, you have to make sure you have the bandwidth infrastructure and if you’re making all that investment why not make it work for you just as hard across the whole year or across its entire existence really?
Krishna: What are the successes people have had using it on Vimeo?
Jo: There’s not as much activity that we’ve seen on Vimeo actually. Yes, people tend to prefer it as a player afterwards. When we’re working with conferences that tends to be when we retroframe it. If we’re taking the entire feed or the entire session and allowing people to interact with that, that can stay up there whilst those videos are being edited into smaller talk-by-talk pieces. But then we can take all of those tweets and sync them up so you still have all of that Twitter chatter on that Vimeo.
Obviously it’s easier for us if we know the edits and there’s not that many edits but we can repurpose it afterwards.
Krishna: How could people on the Blab platform use Reframed?
Jo: So far we haven’t actually looked into whether we can wrap around Blab, but if people are repurposing it, as soon as it’s a YouTube video that’s when we could wrap around it so they could add it to their website. If we know it’s happening in advance we can gather all those tweets for you and sync them up. But once it’s on your website you can then tweet out from it. And that link will bring people back to your website, not ours, which is another reason we want people to use the Player.
So we want as many people as possible to be using the Player on their website to bring their community there because they’re the experts about the videos they’re making. They know how to engage with their community. Wherever possible we’d just like to make that a bit easier for them and get out of the way.
The other interesting thing is we know every single instance of the Player. Say it’s a video about a red carpet interview, some people might be talking about the celebrity aspect, others will be talking about the film itself, others might be talking about fashion. All of those conversations will be separate. If you embed the video on your website, you have admin rights, which means you can push the conversations you think are important to the top and you can just get rid of the ‘noise’. You don’t need to have the whole Twitter conversation on there, you can tailor it to give the best experience for your audience.
Krishna: So if someone’s repurposing their Periscope or Blab video, what do they need to do, step-by-step?
Jo: If it’s a single repurposed video, you go to reframed.tv and in the top right hand corner of the website there’s an add video button. Click that and then paste the URL of your repurposed Vimeo or YouTube video and you get an individual code.
If it’s more than one video, go to the ‘How to’ page and follow the instructions for a bit of code to add to your header that will Reframe all the videos you’ve done.
Peter: And it’s trusted by all these brands (showing printout of website), including the BBC.
Jo: Yeah we worked really early on with the BBC R&D team who’ve been really supportive. Ian Forrester was great. He picked up on it from the Thinking Digital Conference that we were in the finals of the Startup Competition. We worked with him and it allows you to comment on data protection etc without the Twitter tie in because it’s not live.
We also have a good relationship with BBC Worldwide Labs in that they’ve taken us under their wing and while we’re not one of their official startups we’re their entrepreneurs in residence which means we get to have loads of conversations with all of that wealth of knowledge within the BBC.
Peter. Yeah and that must be fascinating for the broadcaster too especially with all the second screening that’s taking place now.
Krishna: What does it mean to you as a startup to win the TechCityInsider award. How will that support you and help you achieve your goals?
Jo: Some people say awards are just vanity metrics. If you spend most of your time entering awards, I can see how that can be a bad thing. It’s not just me, there are six of us and we all work very very hard.
You’re constantly trying to push the boundaries of what you can and do it as fast as possible and it can lead to not being sure if people are really getting it.
The TechCityInsider awards means that other people can see what you’re doing as a team, which isn’t always visible. It’s also really good to know that other people believe in what you’re doing above and beyond people actually using it. Don’t get me wrong, I want as many people as possible to use it. But that extra PR means that we do get opportunities like this to be able to talk about it. It’s the excitement and the amount of belief you can bring into your idea along the way is something you can use if you’re having a really hard day at the office. And everyone likes winning, right?
Krishna: What are your predictions for livestreaming in 2016?
Jo: We don’t spend a lot of time looking at what other people are doing. There are a lot of exciting things coming up in the next year that I’d love to tell you about but I can’t. So if you do want to find out, you can join our mailing list, which is at the footer of our website and you’ll be the first to know. Or follow us on Twitter.
I do think that livestreaming is just going to get bigger and better. Things like YouTube hangouts that have a four-hour window, I think there’s going to be longer and longer livestreams. Obviously I would like to predict that Reframed is going to be huge and that people are going to be doing longer and longer videos not just these short vine animated gifs that we’ve been seeing. That’s an option but if you can make that recommended moment and drop people into those livestreams, you can build more and more momentum and I think that’s what we’re going to see.
Video is going to be really big for Twitter and I think they’re going to be making a whole load of other investments and there’s a battle over who can get the TV audience as well.
I don’t want to recommend other people’s products but I think we’re going to see more products coming out and people are going to get better and it’s only going to get better quality.
Peter: Thank you Jo York from Reframed TV. Just to finish off with a few stats. Viewers stay six times longer watching a Reframed video than a non-reframed video. These are terrific stats. 59% of viewers are likely to take another action and Reframed videos get 20% more traffic than non-reframed videos. That just makes so much sense. As I said earlier, whether you’re an individual, a broadcaster or a brand, whether you’re organising and running a conference for all that interaction, engagement and data capture as well is really really important stuff.
Krishna: I think we’ve had some great insights about how this great startup, Reframed TV, can help your video be more social. As Peter said, it’s relevant to you if you’re a broadcaster, if you’re hosting events, or if you’re thinking about repurposing your content. Lots of opportunities there and looking forward to seeing what you do with the team, Jo, and congratulations again on your recent award.