Streaming Forum 2014: Vans Embraces Interactive, Multi-Feed Live Streaming

For a company like Vans, which celebrates its customers as much as those customers celebrate the brand, interactive, multi-feed streaming is a perfect fit.

With online coverage of Vans-sponsored events such as the Triple Crown of Surfing and Off the Wall Spring Classic, the company wants to put the viewer into the center of attention and let them choose what they want to watch, said Katrin Mayr, interactive marketing manager for Vans EMEA during the session “Interactive, Multi-Feed Live Streaming” at the Streaming Forum, which began today in London.

Vans began experimenting with off-the-wall approaches to online video several years ago by shooting self-produced footage on GoPros and captured with NewTek TriCasters. “The footage was very popular,” said Mayr, “but view times were short because the footage was so shaky.”

So after working with a number of production companies, Vans began a relationship with 3xScreen Media and Factory Media with the intention of creating multi-feed live streams of many of its events, bringing the experience to viewers who couldn’t attend in person.

Mayr and Robinson

Katrin Mayr from Vans and Scott Robinson from 3xScreen Media

This year’s Off the Wall Spring Classic marked the latest step in that partnership, garnering 180,000 views of the live event, with an average total viewing time of 30 minutes and 18 seconds, up 9 minutes from last year. 62% of viewers watched on the desktop, with the remaining viewers spit fairly evenly among mobile phones and tablets.

According to Scott Robinson, director of 3xScreen Media, the focus was initially more on the interactive piece than on mulitple feeds, integrating social media and e-commerce, with the 3xScreen team manually adding hotspots into the on-demand versions of the videos that would link to products the skaters were wearing.

That was soon expanded into an approach that offered a live feed and a selection of "near real-time" highlight feeds so that viewers always had multiple experiences to choose from. "You have to make sure you really choose your highlights carefully appeal to what viewers are interested in seeing," Robinson said, since you're asking them to switch feeds.

On a different project, the Ray-Ban Boiler Room at SXSW, 3xScreen showed the main concert feed on the large window, with backstage interviews on a smaller window below. When something of particular interest was happening on the backstage feed, a "light' on the webpage flashed to bring viewers' attention to the fact that they might want to switch to the backstage content in the main window.

Robinson warns that interactivity and mulitple feeds both come with a price. Interactivity can actually discourage syndication and sharing, he said, and going from one stream to four can "easily double the cost."

Mayr and Robinson's presentation, with links to a variety of interactive and multi-feed events, can be found here.

Watch the full presentation: 

Streaming Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues