‘Film It And They Will Watch’: Challenging Conference Video Practices with CatchTalk.TV

by | Sep 15, 2014

‘Film it and they will watch’ is the prevailing strategy of many conference organisers. But could event video do more? In this post we look at a new video hosting platform specifically designed for events.

 
More and more conferences are choosing to film their proceedings, generating hours of footage of varying quality. However, discussions about where to put this footage and how to use it are usually very short: put it on YouTube and leave it to rack up the views. This is approach will magically achieve ‘good things’ for the event. In reality, viewer numbers are often low and there is no clear way to relate a video view to a beneficial outcome. Instead, viewer figures are bundled together with a range of other metrics to demonstrate impact, often receiving little further scrutiny.

A new platform is challenging this approach and providing event organisers with an alternative that focusses on specific outcomes, such as driving ticket sales and generating business leads. In this post, we examine the potential of CatchTalk.TV and how it might be used to support event amplification.

What is CatchTalk.TV?

CatchTalk.TV is a video hosting platform designed specifically for conference video content. Videos are arranged by conference, complete with conference branding and direct links to event registration to help the videos drive ticket sales. After watching for 90 seconds, viewers are asked to sign in via LinkedIn, allowing CatchTalk.TV feedback high quality business leads to conference organisers. CatchTalk.TV derives its revenue from providing these leads, allowing it to operate an advert-free interface.

This slide deck gives a useful overview of the key features and describes how CatchTalk.TV can help conference organisers:

How could CatchTalk.TV help to amplify an event?

CatchTalk.TV is still at a very early stage, but after chatting with founder Henry Embleton, I discovered that there are a range of features that could make it an attractive platform for event amplifiers:

  • Intelligent approach to commenting: Not only can you comment on video content, CatchTalk.TV allows viewers to ask the speaker questions via the comment feature. With the speaker’s consent, the organiser can provide the speaker’s contact email address so that CatchTalk.TV can automatically send any questions or comments to the speaker. This could be a really useful feature for amplified events, bringing video comments back into the fold as an active, long term discussion space.
  • Emphasis on knowing your audience: Knowing not just how many people have watched, but who they are, their business sector, background and interests, and which of your videos they have watched could be a very powerful tool for event amplifiers, particularly for annual or series events. Identifying viewers and engaging them in the wider discussion around the event theme is a key goal of event amplification, but it is often an impossible task due to the invisible nature of these viewers. YouTube Analytics currently tells you how many people watched, but only gives very basic demographic information about the makeup of this audience, which does not really help inform future event or social media strategy.
  • Avoids institutional firewalls and prejudices: CatchTalk.TV may be useful for events with target audiences that operate behind institutional firewalls, or may not feel able to use YouTube in a professional work environment. The interface of CatchTalk.TV may also be more conducive to focussed viewing and relevant content discovery, without the distractions that frame YouTube content.
  • Reuses conference content to drive ticket sales: Video content from previous events can be used to directly drive registrations for future events in a very clear and user friendly way. This may be more effective than including links and sign up information in the expandable description box under a YouTube video (where it is often ignored, if the organiser remembers to add it at all).
  • Focus on connecting event content: Other event/talk materials, such as Slideshare links, can be included with the video, which could result in a more joined up viewing experience.

catchtalktv screenshot

Access to the next event’s registration page and other key information whilst browsing videos is a really useful feature of CatchTalk.TV

How Might CatchTalk.TV Develop?

Based on my discussion with Henry, CatchTalk.TV seem very open to adding new features to make the tool useful to conference organisers. I suggested that improving the analytics to show how long viewers engaged with a particular video (one genuinely useful YouTube Analytics measurement), and capping the number of leads provided for those on a budget so that costs can’t spiral.

Videos uploaded to CatchTalk.TV are not currently embeddable, but Henry assured me that this is coming very soon. If some of the really useful features of the main website (such as the event registration button and Slideshare link) can come with the video as part of a really well designed embed code, that could also be a major benefit to event organisers.

Conclusions

Whilst the idea of a video hosting service specifically for conference content is intriguing, the current video hosting landscape is very much dominated by YouTube. Many event organisers want to position their content where it will attract the most views with the least effort, and YouTube’s integration with Google Search can certainly achieve that. Over the last year we have seen a move away from Vimeo (which is a more attractive platform in many ways) to YouTube based on this very trend. In this respect, CatchTalk.TV is coming to the market at the point where YouTube’s gravitational force has never been higher, so it could be a tough battle to win users and viewers.

That said, as investment in conference video content increases we may see more fragmentation, with video hosted across multiple platforms targeted at specific audiences/outcomes. For certain events, CatchTalk.TV’s focus on generating leads and driving registrations will be really valuable features that could justify the additional effort involved in hosting video on multiple platforms. However, aggregating and comparing viewer data across these platforms to calculate ROI over time may be an issue.

The presence of a targeted alternative to YouTube, like CatchTalk.TV, is really exciting for me as an event amplifier, for several reasons:

Firstly, I believe it will help conference organisers to see their video content against that of other events, and may therefore drive a greater focus on production quality.

Secondly, even if CatchTalk.TV isn’t the right platform for a particular event or client, the presence of a video hosting platform with a clear connection between a video view and a particular business outcome will help us to have more informed conversations with clients about what they want their video to achieve, and how that might be facilitated and measured. The dominance of YouTube can make people lazy when considering their options and thinking strategically about their video content, so anything that can stimulate that conversation and help to illustrate the opportunities available will be a useful addition to the video hosting ecosystem.
 
Image credit: Alice Popkorn

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