Is your video player as good as your content?

Ten years ago, a streaming video player performed one function - it played your video. Today, the features of your player are critical to achieving the maximum return on investment from your video. Specifically, a well featured, properly designed player should increase your site's stickiness, improve your site's visibility, increase the amount of time viewers spend watching your video and help streamline your company's sales cycle.

If you're in the process of creating a new player, or choosing an online video platform, these are the features you should be considering.

Here's your basic video player, a video that I embedded from YouTube. It's a pretty good deal, really, YouTube pays all the costs of creating the player and distributing the video for me, and I get to link it on my site.

However, if you compare this player to the one actually used by YouTube, you'll see that the Google subsidiary is retaining virtually all of the player-related goodies on their own site. By that I mean the features shown in the screenshot below, a grab from the YouTube site for this video.

First, you see views, ratings and comments, both features that allow viewers to interact with the video. This particular video, of my daughter Rosie disassembling and reassembling an HP Z800 computer, has been seen over 8,800 times, had been rated 17 times and has 24 text comments.

Understand that there are really two tasks involved with getting your video watched. First, getting the viewer there, second, convincing them to watch the video. A potential viewer who encounters this video on YouTube will have (to paraphrase Terrell Owens) 8800 + 17 +24  reasons to watch this video, while a potential viewer who sees the bare embedded video window on my site has none.

Actually, it's more that 8800 + 17 +24, because the viewer on YouTube knows that he/she has a chance to join the conversation, to participate and be heard. The player on my site just plays the video.

When creating your player (or choosing your service provider), make sure that it has features that foster viewer engagement.



Comments (4)

Said this on 02/15/2010 At 12:39 pm

Very interesting topic. If producers can offer high quality web video as well as customized players such as the McKinsey player, that would be an obvious advantage. As web video becomes more popular, it seems that offering more control and interactivity for viewers could help separate some producers from the pack. To my knowledge, these kinds of players are largely created in Flash using ActionScript, since Flash's ready made skins all fairly basic. 

Have you learned much ActionScript yourself, and are skills like advanced Flash development something you would recommend willing producers to learn, or is it best to leave such skills to Flash programmers?

By the way, thanks so much for putting all this info on the web. Your site is playing a key role in my online education.


Said this on 02/16/2010 At 11:50 am


Thanks for the kind words, I'm glad you're finding the site useful. 

You're right - virtualy all of these players are made in Flash. I'm not an ActionScript programmer. I think it would be a great skill for video producers to learn, but i think you need both the aptitude and the time. I have neither.

Thanks again for your comments.

Said this on 04/08/2010 At 06:46 pm

The McKinsey video player does look expensive, but ahem, did you notice the video is interlaced  8(

Said this on 04/08/2010 At 07:37 pm

yeah, I did, but didn't want to beat a dead horse.


Thanks for your comments.


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