We say on the homepage of this website that we’re proud industry veterans and that’s absolutely true! Our MD, Kauser Kanji, got his first related job at the Racing Post newspaper (part of Trinity Mirror) in 2005 where his brief was to get live and catchup horse racing on to the internet. He then led video projects at NBC Universal, ITN and Virgin Media before setting up our former magazine site, VOD Professional, in 2011.
If you work in this space, you’ll know that you’re helping to shape the future of TV. But in such a dynamic, fast-evolving environment, how do you keep up to date with developments in online video products, business, strategy and vendor solutions? That was always our starting point with VOD Pro. We wanted to express that curiosity, to ask questions, to understand and ultimately demystify the technology and help explain how you can create and provide, using internal or external resources, brilliant front-end services for viewers.
We met lots of superbly talented people – at broadcasters, operators, service-providers and suppliers, learnt from them and subsequently wrote about all areas of the “glass-to-glass” process: how to build a VOD service from scratch; search and recommendation; workflow; scheduling; MAMs (media asset management systems) and DAMs (digital asset management systems); ingest, encoding and transcoding; payment services and CRM; content delivery networks; growth, business models, pay models; AVOD, SVOD, TVOD, MTVOD and live-to-VOD.
But our inquisitiveness went further. At the end of an interview with a senior exec at Sky in late 2011, we were asked if we’d seen any great UIs (user interfaces) lately. That was the genesis of our VUIX Library – a vast catalogue that now tracks over 500 VOD services, across platforms, from all over the world. At the last count, the VUIX Library contains over 22,000 screenshots, 1,000+ benchmark test scores and 2.5 million reviews from the iTunes and Google Play app stores. If you want to see how your peers at Netflix, HBO, the BBC, Canal Plus, Discovery, Fox, ITV, MTV and TED build their consumer products, the Library is a great place to start.
The rigour and discipline involved in researching and building the Library (no screen-scraping was involved in the making of it!) allied with the knowledge we gained from writing about the industry through VOD Professional, meant that it was a natural progression for us to offer consulting services. You can read more about the projects we’ve worked on here. Our customers in this area include Netflix, the BBC, Channel 4, TiVo, BBC Worldwide, RTE and the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.
It also felt natural to us to bring people together specifically to discuss online video product development, UI / UX and strategy. That led to the formation of our annual VUIX conference which is now into its fourth year. VUIX 2016 featured some excellent talks, presentations and panels from, amongst others, Sony, ITV, Netflix, HBO, Freesat, UKTV, NRK, Wuaki, the BFI, Digital UK, Viaplay, EE and STV. We’ll be announcing details about VUIX 2017 soon – sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of this page and we’ll keep you informed.
VOD Professional >> Vodkr
So finally, we get to Vodkr. As VOD Professional, we wrote about the industry so logically, we were thought of as journalists. Not true! If you’ve read our company history above, you’ll be able to tell that we’re passionate about online video and we love working for all companies in this space. It made sense to us, however, to clarify our offering and that’s why we’ve retired VOD Professional and started Vodkr: a consultancy that specialises in VOD-related product development, strategy, market analysis and UI / UX.
And we’re hiring! If you’d like to come work on the future of TV with us, get in touch. We’re looking for consultants, researchers and an experienced events / marketing guru.