Despite the recent video streaming explosion, with players like Facebook and Twitter developing services, the technology remains limited. There remain barriers to simultaneous social media broadcasting and a lack of live user-friendly editing tools. The EU-supported Contentflow project was created to be a one-stop solution for livestreaming events. As the system is browser-based, it does not require any software installation, and events can be livestreamed from venues using video capture devices, be they mobile phones, iPads or cameras. Videos can be edited in real time, during streaming, with the built-in editing tool, and posted immediately on social channels or stored for post-event documentation. The system offers a variety of dissemination options such as web page embedding. Users can re-stream to all social media channels and automatically add multiple-language subtitles. An embedded chat facility also encourages audience engagement. Contentflow is available on a subscription basis through a range of packages. Current customers include: Red Bull, Electronic Sports League (ESL) and the Tagesschau/Channel 1 in Germany. With the EU funding, Contentflow was able to conduct qualitative interviews with some of these market leaders, potential customers and partners resulting in insights into the future of the market. With a spike in usage driven by the current COVID-19 pandemic, necessitating the large-scale use of virtual gatherings, the team is optimising the system in preparation for onboarding new customers.
Generating ‘snackable’ content
“When I worked in event management, making events available to a broad audience meant choosing between many different options, each specialising in one area only. I saw the need for a one-stop solution that didn’t require extensive AV knowledge,” says Sebastian Serafin, CEO of Contentflow. As Contentflow is browser- and cloud-based, the only change to producers’ current workflow comes at the output stage where streaming is filtered to the chosen channel/s via Contentflow, not directly by the user. Contentflow provides HD-quality video content and accepts any Real-Time Messaging Protocol signal, as used by the major social networks. The system comes with an integrated folder system, to manage media assets, which includes access-control list, permission-based rights. Data is encrypted and fully compliant with data protection requirements. Additionally, Contentflow’s analytics allow producers to learn about their audience, helping them optimise future content to retain and grow viewership.
Bringing people closer to government
Contentflow was test streamed, in a closed environment of sessions of the parliament of the German federal state of Hessen, in all languages. The same test, but also with live clipping, was conducted with the German TV news series, Tagesschau. The results were a spike in user retention rates and an increase in event marketers using live clips to highlight event aspects. These tests, alongside others such as with trade union conventions, point to ways in which the Contentflow technology could enable dialogue between citizens and decision-makers, promoting transparency, without incurring prohibitive overheads. Of particular relevance in these COVID-19 times, press conferences for example could be conducted virtually with journalists asking questions via a moderated chat. Politicians could also conduct virtual town hall meetings or regular consultations with the public, as demonstrated when a German Ministry of Education member held a chat for thousands of teachers. Having secured initial venture capitalist investment, the team is now seeking further funding to advance R&D efforts to get the technology to the next level. “We are confident that we are close to realising ‘the’ go-to video streaming solution for the European market,” says Serafin.
Contentflow, livestream, video, COVID-19, events, cameras, social media, clips, editing, cloud, GDPR, virtual, transparency