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Project 18 Report (3707k)
 

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    Project 18 Report (3707k) Project 18 Report (3707k) Document Transcript

    • Whole of Government Video Service Scoping Study Advice and Recommendations for a Centralised Government Video Service Jimi Bostock Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, John Ferlito Vquence Pty Limited Report prepared for:
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service PROJECT: WHOLE OF GOVERNMENT VIDEO SERVICE SCOPING STUDY BACKGROUND Government agencies have produced a substantial amount of videos over the years that can help people in their interaction challenges with government, become aware of new initiatives, or access general news and other information. These videos tend to be buried within agency sites or are not online. Gov2.0 is about making information more accessible to citizens. Video buried in agency sites is not as accessible as it can be. Exposure for those videos can be achieved through a centralised government video service which provides video publishing services to agencies and serves as a government video portal for centralised public access to videos from agency sites / libraries. Such a centralised video service will provide improved access through video searchability. It will provide uniform handling of videos across agencies, e.g. with uniform metadata (title, description, tags, categories). If can further provide a uniform ability to e.g. crowd source captions and audio annotations. In general, accessibility will be improved. SCOPE Provide advice and recommendations in the form of a scoping study for the viability of a centralised government video service for use by government departments and agencies based on local and international best practices. OBJECTIVES • Identify local and international best practice models. • Provide analysis of relevant models that could be used to implement a centralised video service for government agencies, including infrastructure, bandwidth, copyright and compliance requirements. • Provide a high level cost benefit and risk analysis for viable build vs. buy models. 2
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 SCOPING STUDY This proposal is for the preparation of a report that includes recommendations for a centralised government video service, which would be used by government agencies to publish video content and which could live at video.gov.au. The study will include an analysis of current best practices by government and other organisations in Australia and overseas. The study will also include a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of different technical approaches such as video channel on a mass market service, a hosted service on a commercial provider, a custom solution based on an open source system, or propriety software developed for the solution. Issues that are relevant to the analysis of technical solutions include but are not limited to: • functionality of the solutions, • discoverability, including the level of indexing of associated metadata and SEO, • development / deployment cost, • service reliability, • infrastructure cost, • bandwidth cost, • copyright and licensing implications, • accessibility requirements, • longevity requirements, • other government compliance requirements, • level of control over form of publication. The existing analysis by AGIMO concerning the upsides and downsides of working with YouTube, http://webpublishing.agimo.gov.au/Using_YouTube, will be included in the study. 3
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service CONTENTS 1.EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 7 AGENCIES............................................................................................................................................7 BEST PRACTICE......................................................................................................................................7 RECOMMENDATIONS................................................................................................................................8 2.FRAMING 9 ONLINE VIDEO – SETTING THE SCENE.............................................................................................................9 BROAD ISSUES....................................................................................................................................10 APS SPECIFIC ISSUES.............................................................................................................................11 STATE OF TECHNOLOGY...........................................................................................................................12 CONCLUSION......................................................................................................................................13 3.BEST PRACTICE 15 INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................................15 WHY HASN’T IT BEEN DONE BEFORE............................................................................................................15 INDIVIDUAL AGENCY BEST PRACTICE............................................................................................................15 EXPERIMENTAL BEST PRACTICE..................................................................................................................21 4.APS ONLINE VIDEO LANDSCAPE 22 INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................................................22 APS VIDEO PRODUCTION.......................................................................................................................22 ISSUES.............................................................................................................................................27 GROWING DESIRE.................................................................................................................................28 4
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 CONCLUSIONS.....................................................................................................................................29 5.PROPOSED VIDEOS 31 INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS..........................................................................................................................31 OTHER VIDEOS....................................................................................................................................31 CURRENT VIDEO OPPORTUNITIES................................................................................................................31 6. FIRST RECOMMENDATIONS 33 7.REQUIREMENTS ON TECHNOLOGY 34 INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................................................34 OVERVIEW: GENERAL FUNCTIONALITY...........................................................................................................34 PRODUCTION-RELATED REQUIREMENTS.........................................................................................................35 PUBLISHING-RELATED REQUIREMENTS...........................................................................................................36 SEARCHABILITY-RELATED REQUIREMENTS.......................................................................................................37 ARCHIVING-RELATED REQUIREMENTS...........................................................................................................38 PUBLICITY-RELATED REQUIREMENTS.............................................................................................................39 8.MODELS OF IMPLEMENTATION 41 INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................................................41 OVERVIEW OF MODELS..........................................................................................................................41 VIDEO PUBLISHING PLATFORMS.................................................................................................................41 CENTRAL VIDEO AGGREGATION PLATFORMS...................................................................................................45 VIDEO PUBLICITY PLATFORMS...................................................................................................................46 VIDEO ARCHIVING PLATFORMS..................................................................................................................47 SUMMARY.........................................................................................................................................48 5
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service 9.TECHNOLOGY 50 INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................................................50 BASICS.............................................................................................................................................50 VIDEO SOLUTIONS................................................................................................................................64 10.RECOMMENDATION 74 INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................................................74 ARCHITECTURE RECOMMENDATION..............................................................................................................74 ESTIMATED INVESTMENT REQUIRED.............................................................................................................77 11.CONCLUDING REMARKS 80 6
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Our scoping of a whole-of-government video solution has been underpinned by semi-formal discussions with a number of agencies including the “National Archives of Australia”, “Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research”, “Australian Taxation Office”, and” Department of Human Services”. These discussions have been the key inspiration for our initial thoughts which, in turn, have driven technical requirements, cost modelling, and recommendations. AGENCIES While our discussions with agencies, mainly with web teams, cannot be considered comprehensive, what we have been told might be representative of the broader Australian Public Service (APS). The agencies have told us the following: • A growing desire for online video coming from line and program areas, communications sections, and senior management. • Any lack of online video content is partly based on it being “too hard” with bandwidth costs being the area of most concern. • I.T. sections are perceived as primary resisters. • Their CMS has not yet been extended with video functionality. • Production of more video is seen as the primary restraint and guidance on this would be welcome. The agencies seemed very open to a central video service that allows them to publish video to a central repository/servers and embed video within their websites and intranets, with internal and stakeholder communications seen as just as important as citizen focus. They see consultation across the APS as the most important need if a centralised video solution is developed. They would like to play a part in shaping the functionality and would most definitely need to be involved in any cost sharing models. BEST PRACTICE We are taking a very literal position on best practice. As such, we contend that there is no best practice in online video across government, worldwide. There does not seem to be any nation that has a central government video portal. However, we will be identifying some ‘better’ practice in our report. 7
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service Our discussions with key U.S. government staff has revealed that the size and culture of their public service is seen as an insurmountable obstacle against any centralised service. To paraphrase, they have simply not considered it deeply. We will be putting forward the opinion that Australia is uniquely placed to develop such an infrastructure through our smaller and more localized APS. RECOMMENDATIONS We are recommending a multi-part approach starting with a substantial improvement in use of YouTube through a central gov.au channel that links to all agency channels, similar to the US government channel on YouTube. This will encourage agencies to produce short videos and will build a publicity channel. We are recommending that this is supported by creation of a series of videos to boost the content on the YouTube channels, and a PR campaign to promote this to the Australian people. These activities will provide insight into expected load of any dedicated video portal. We are recommending that australia.gov.au be extended to provide cross-government video search and browsing capabilities in a consistent and government-branded manner. We are recommending creation of a white label government video solution that will provide YouTube style functionality to agencies from a system run within government and therefore capable of satisfying all requirements on agency branding, video duration, accessibility, tiered access, metadata, archiving, and extensibility. 8
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 2. FRAMING ONLINE VIDEO – SETTING THE SCENE Online video, like many overnight sensations, has a fascinating and long history. Unlike other elements in the online space, digital video was already well advanced on the innovation curve before the Web arrived. It is important to understand this when looking at any major online video project. The longevity of the innovation path might bring profound advances across the next five to ten years, driven by the exploding web channel and increasing bandwidth but supported by a relatively mature technology base. Early research and development in digital video culminated in the release in 1986 of the Sony D-1 format, which was used primarily by television networks and was an uncompressed format. Compressed digital video was first seen in Sony's Digital Betacam technology which is still widely used. The first computer based digital video for personal computers was PICS Animation Compiler (PACO) which was released in early 1991. Not long after, in mid 1991, Apple released its QuickTime format. The release of MacroMind VideoWorks in 1985 and Apple’s HyperCard software in 1987 heralded the start of interactive multimedia development. The first federal government interactive multimedia CD ROM (Introducing Multimedia) was developed in HyperCard. The MacroMind product became MacroMedia Director in 1993 and it quickly overtook HyperCard as the standard development tool. Its superior use of video was one of the major reasons for this. It is now Adobe Director but, for our purposes, its main claim to fame is its offspring, Flash, released in late 1996. Flash is now the dominant platform for online video and has powered the explosion in use of online video with Real Video, Apple’s QuickTime, and Microsoft’s Windows Media formats sharing supporting roles. While we saw early online video portals springing up in 2003-2004 that leveraged the increased maturity and ubiquity of the Flash format, the launch of YouTube in 2005 was the tipping point. The best estimate is that the number of online videos is growing at about 40 to 60% per annum1. We can predict with confidence that the amount of video on the Web is going to continue to increase massively even if the rapid expansion rate of the last few years does taper off. It is also estimated that the time the average web surfer spends watching online video is also increasing at similar rates2. The comScore Video Metrix, suggests that more than 168 million U.S. 1 http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2009/05/zoinks-20-hours-of-video-uploaded-every_20.html 2 http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/total-online-video-streams-up-41-from-last-year/ 9
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service Internet users watched nearly 26 billion online videos during September 20093. We can assume, based on historical trends, that Australia would have a per capita similarity. So Australians may have watched more than 2 billion online videos in the past year. Right now, more than 23 hours of video are uploaded onto YouTube every minute4. For some perspective, that means that there is 1,380 hours uploaded per hour, 33,120 per day, 231,840 per week, 993,600 per month, and 11,923,200 hours per year, almost 12M hours of new video content per year! We can easily imagine growth in the future will explode through consumer mobile video uploading and the major content owners releasing more long-form video. As is the case with other major streams of online innovation, mobile consumption (and creation/uploading) of online video is rising rapidly. The predicted surge in mobile broadband speeds will only increase this trend. Of course, the emergence of ITV (Internet TV) is quite possibly the main game. Hence, most advanced thinking in online video is based on the “three screen” model. In formulating any approach to a government video initiative that may influence efforts across the next five years, we need to be mindful of the three screens: the computer, the mobile device, and the television. BROAD ISSUES CONTENT CONSCIOUSNESS The Web has forced almost every organisation to diversify what it does and how it does it. A significant impact has been that all organisations are now content publishers. While there has always been an element of this, in that marketing, PR, and communications have been centrally important functions, the Web has placed the publishing effort at the core and across organisations. Right now, many organisations including public service agencies have online teams that match, in numbers, many rural print newspapers. The volume of original content these organisations place online is also equal to, or more than, a rural newspaper. As the Web continues to become the key public face for organisations, there is a new focus on quality of content and this is bringing a new challenge – attracting staff with content creation experience. Simple recordings of presentations or even simple vodcasts can now be mastered by anyone with a little practice – the recording technology has matured enough to provide high quality consumer 3 http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2009/9/Google_Sites_Surpasses_10_Billion_Video_Views_in_August 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4BRY56u2xw#t=5m20s 10
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 cameras that are sufficient for simple video productions. Also, the number of low-price and acceptable quality video editing programs has increased making it easier to produce content in- house. However, creation of high quality content, that may well include digital post-processing and after- effects, continues to require special skills, typically requiring professional video production. Such skills are hard to find and retain in Web teams. This will likely remain a major issue as organisations look to produce more video. Most organisations have high standards and any video produced will naturally need to be up to these standards. The YouTube generation, who use video as part of their online engagement, will be the first generation to have acquired sufficient semi-professional video production skills to naturally publish video and audio with similar ease as text content. APS SPECIFIC ISSUES Here, we have collected a number of special issues that stood out from our discussions with agencies in the APS. ACCESSIBILITY While it applies to any online video, the issue of accessibility is central to any government video. At this stage, there have only been a few government videos available online that comply with the level that we should be seeking, moving forward. The additional resources required to ensure accessibility in videos, while not overwhelming, will be a central issue. Technologies are now available that allow automated time alignment of transcripts and produce captions and subtitles, e.g. on YouTube. This goes a long way towards simplifying the creation of accessible content. In addition, the use of timed text as audio descriptions read through a screen-reader will further enable new levels of accessibility. RECORD KEEPING Government agencies have significant and challenging requirements for record keeping. This effort, led by the National Archives, will have significant impact on the use of online video. The importance of this will need to be highlighted across the next decade as agencies use more video online. DIGITISATION Again, while this is an issue across all online video, the APS may have videos prior to digital platforms (DVD) that agencies would want to place online. Of course, major holders such as NFSA and NAA are at the coal-face of this and are both working on mass digitisation and cataloguing projects. This issue will be less important as the major digitisation processes advance and as new material is born digital. 11
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service CURRENCY While all organisations need to be mindful of the currency and validity of their online content, the APS needs to be especially rigorous. This need is often most pronounced when government changes or in portfolio changes. In general, video content will be more visible to a site visitor than other content and so it is going to be important that the APS works through the issues of currency and validity of online video carefully. The enhanced communications power of video, as compared to text based communications, is also the factor that could make a video more damaging and embarrassing if left online beyond its validity. STATE OF TECHNOLOGY The technology that underpins web innovation is simultaneously maturing and constantly changing. The latter is an important aspect that requires further consideration. While the constantly changing paradigm is dominant and certainly suits the vendors of Web technology and services, there is also an argument that there are many aspects that are not changing so quickly. The Web (and its mobile and TV offspring) is standards-based. This is the actual foundation of all Web efforts. The politic of the standards is well known to rival the most heated political arena. Debate goes on across a large standards community every day. From this process, new standards and adjustments to standards are made. Of course, the most important standards work, in direct relationship to Web development, is now in the HTML 5.0 space. A key aspect of developing standards is the back-compatibility and the arcane discussions are still grounded in HTML 1.0 and every version since. So, in many ways, the technology innovation is partly about brands and tools based on the same fundamentals. Web development has also paradoxically become more complex and easier. Underpinning this is the use of open-source frameworks to develop the computer code for online software. These frameworks allow developers to use components developed and improved by many developers and quickly ‘glue’ these together to make new and sophisticated Web experiences. Typical frameworks are built on the Web application programming languages PHP, Java, Python, Ruby, or Perl. Example frameworks are Ruby on Rails, CakePHP, CodeIgnitor, Catalyst, Django, or Google Web Toolkit. These frameworks have also given rise to sophisticated and stable whole solutions that are then made available to individuals and corporate markets. The most visible of these are generally in the 12
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 content management space (Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Plone, etc) but they are numerous across all types of Web functionality and service. The almost obligatory APIs provided by these solutions, which can be used by anyone to develop unique interactions with an online system, has seen a massive explosion in third-party modules. This world can be referred to as Rapid Application Development (RAD). RAD is at the heart of all web innovation. Twitter was developed as a full working prototype in three days inclusive of the beginnings of the real technical challenge, scaling the solution to cope with massive use. RAD is also behind the explosion in advanced websites that would be revealed by a search on “latest Web 2.0 apps”. Web applications that are far more sophisticated than any found in the APS web space are being developed everyday by RAD developers, many as a hobby. The use of RAD has had a less speedy entry into the corporate and government markets. It may be that major vendors are keen to keep expectations of development times and costs at a premium. The more web focused corporations (banks, media, pure-click) have taken up RAD much more readily. Indeed, many pure-click players (Amazon, Google, Yahoo, etc) have developed cloud based RAD environments for developers to use to create highly sophisticated web environments through almost point-and-click interfaces. CONCLUSION The Web is both a mature communications and service delivery platform and a dynamic environment. On balance, it is more the former than the latter. Advances will, through an adherence to standards, be easier to adapt to than what might be thought. Hence, there is less danger in charting major directions across any web effort now than previously might have been the case. The broader and APS specific issues, as they relate to online video, are relatively minor compared to the opportunities. Impediments are mainly cultural and attention to them within existing staff and recruitment will see the issues fade over time. More specific issues such as accessibility and record keeping will benefit from the expertise of relevant agencies who will easily adapt their core knowledge into the video space. Importantly, this must happen. We believe that the graphic below, referenced from Wikipedia, is an important snapshot for anyone seeking to understand where the Web is at this moment. The graphic names and gives some ranking to the key paradigms and RAD technologies that bring the advanced we to life. 13
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service We believe that organisations, including APS agencies, could do worse than to convert this graphic to a checklist and then measure their online efforts against the paradigms and technologies. 14
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 3. BEST PRACTICE INTRODUCTION At the outset, we can confidently say that no nation has yet attempted the creation of a whole-of- government video portal. Hence, using a very strict definition of ‘best practice’ we believe that none exists as it specifically relates to our brief. However, there are many better practice models that we will explore. WHY HASN’T IT BEEN DONE BEFORE In discussions with key U.S. Government web players, we have been able to identify why they have not seriously considered a whole-of-government approach. Simply, the size of their public service is such that the effort would seem almost impossible. They do not have an obvious lead agency that would have the authority and mechanisms to bring agencies on-board. Overall, US Government agencies tend to be larger than their Australian counterparts and have a larger independence from other Government agencies. These factors have brought them to a position where they do not see the need being yet worthy of the significant effort. To some degree, they do not see the actual need. This may be partly due to the heavier influence on state and local government on the lives of U.S. citizens than what is experienced in Australia. Most US agencies are using online video independently. Almost all have some kind of video functionality incorporated into their existing Web presence – many through a dedicated video or multimedia page with dedicated video or multimedia search. INDIVIDUAL AGENCY BEST PRACTICE To gain some insights into what a Government-wide best practice for Australia could look like, we analysed the video publications of other governments and their agencies. Here we list the best examples that we found. 15
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service THE WHITE HOUSE The Obama Administration has placed significant focus on the use of online video and the White House website would be the current international leader. It has a tab for browsing video content and video search. It would be fair to class it is a video driven site. U.S. GOVERNMENT YOUTUBE CHANNEL The US Government YouTube channel is clearly the leading example of use of YouTube by a national government through the volume and frequency of videos posted and linked to by other agency channels. S.A. GOVERNMENT YOUTUBE CHANNEL With a similar motivation to the US Government, the S.A. Government GCIO has rolled out a YouTube companion site for its Government website at sa.gov.au. They plan to publish sessions of parliament, events, television advertisement, and speeches on the site. 16
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND AGEING The yourHealth video wall is one of the most advanced uses of online video internationally through its use of user- generated content (UGC) and innovative interface. UGC highly improves engagement with citizens and should thus be a feature of a government video solution. FLU.GOV This YouTube site is notable for the use of longer-form videos and the fully government branded interface despite the use of YouTube for publishing. AIDS.GOV This internal site features proprietary audio and video players and is hosted by the National Institute of Health. 17
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service NASA VIDEO GALLERY NASA has been at the forefront of the online revolution. Their video channel is not only one of the oldest, it is one of the most engaging. Hence, it is easily the most popular government video destination in the world. NASA MULTIMEDIA SEARCH NASA also provides a dedicated site to search and browse across their collections of images, video and audio. This is a great example of what a government-wide multimedia site could look like. U.S. D EPARTMENT OF DEFENSE NEWS The U.S. Department of Defense runs its own online News channel. Very professional, TV news style content is published several times daily. All videos can be browsed and searched and are hosted on government servers. 18
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 METAVID – THE OPEN VIDEO ARCHIVE OF U.S. CONGRESS The world leader in the broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings. It gains this accolade partly through its advanced use of transcript and video synchronization, structured tagging, and the use of the new HTML5 standard video element. COMMERCIAL BEST PRACTICE In order to further our understanding of better practice in online video, we have looked across the commercial space for more comprehensive innovation. We offer the following as a small sample of the sort of video landscape that exists on the Web and from which government can learn. NEW SCIENTIST VIDEO While not the most comprehensive collection of videos, the videos are produced exclusively for the channel, sharable, embeddable, presented in a modern way, and refer to each other - all hallmarks of a modern online video presence. Hence, it has much to teach about how online video should be produced. 19
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service HOMEDEPOT TV The hardware category killer in the USA has been at the forefront of web technology for more than a decade. Its highly popular online TV channel is distinguished by the volume of the videos, the way they are produced to work in the online environment, and extensive use of semantics to provide viewers with related content. HOME DEPOT YOUTUBE The retailers YouTube channel provides us with a great example of the inter-relationship between a stand-alone video portal and a YouTube Channel. While the HomeDepot TV site was already popular, the YouTube channel has increased visitors and now is one of the main providers of visitors to the main video site. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC While the video on the site is exceptional in quality and content, the site also is a good benchmark in the use of related content to deepen the viewer’s online experience. This additional content includes e-learning modules that support the educational focus of National Geographic. 20
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 EXPERIMENTAL BEST PRACTICE Online media technology is undergoing a radical evolution with the introduction of HTML5’s video and audio elements. Instead of requiring installation of a Browser plugin to allow decoding of QuickTime, Windows Media, Adobe Flash, or other media formats, HTML5 will support video and audio natively – just like images. The codecs under discussion are H.264/AAC and Ogg Theora/Vorbis. The current standardisation efforts for audio and video evolve around accessibility. There is agreement to natively support captions for the hard-of-hearing, subtitles for internationalisation and also textual audio descriptions which can be read out through the screenreader for vision-impaired users. When this standardisation effort completes, HTML5 video will have the best accessibility support for any online media technology. HTML5 VIDEO WITH CAPTIONS This HTML5 Ogg video has built-in captions displayed by the browser and textual audio descriptions for screenreaders to provide accessibility to vision impaired people. Note how the video player is styled through normal Web page styling functionality rather than a special application. 21
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service 4. APS ONLINE VIDEO LANDSCAPE INTRODUCTION To prepare this report, our team has had conversations with a small sample of agencies, mainly with their web and communications services areas. These have been semi-formal discussions aimed at gaining some insights into general attitudes, plans, etc. Discussions were held with National Archives, Department of Human Services, DIISR, S.A. Government GCIO, and NSW Government GCIO. Input was also received via the Gov 2.0 blog from individuals within other agencies. We have also held discussions with a leading video production house that services the APS to gain insights into volumes of production and attitudes to online publishing. We have also analysed the amount of video production taking place within the APS and compared this to a sample of agencies current online video. APS VIDEO PRODUCTION In scoping any online video functionality across the APS, it is important to understand the state of play for video production by the APS. To do this, we undertook an audit of information contained from the contracts.gov.au website across October 08 – October 09. To this end, we estimate that the APS commissions at least $10M in corporate video production per annum which results in about 200 videos. This may not include many videos produced under larger public information campaigns which are not itemized on the contracts site and we are aware of some videos being produced under the reporting threshold. On any measure, we can say with confidence that there is quite a substantial amount of video production undertaken across the APS and that these are across a wide range of subjects. A quick look at the two years prior suggests that there is about the same amount of videos produced every year. 22
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 The breakdown of agencies that commission video production is as follows: It is difficult to completely map the video produced last year against the video now online. This is caused by the lack of title information within contracts.gov.au to enable cross-referencing. However, we can look broadly across what can be seen on the public web to make some initial observations. To provide structure, we have specifically looked at key departments and agencies identified above and make some broad conclusions. DEFENCE The Department, as seen, is the major procurer of video services in the APS. They have commissioned approximately 60 videos across the last year. As would be expected, they are also the clear leaders in online video. Their main website features a “video” section which contains a mix of full videos and what we could call video snippets. These videos seem to be also routinely placed on YouTube. So, for expediency, we will look at their YouTube Channels which seem to directly match their on-site video. The ADF Media Channel was created in September 2007 and has 96 videos. The channel has had 27,000 views; the sum of the video views is 217,501 views. In August 2008, the “ADF Channel” was launched and it has 5 videos. It appears that the ADF Media channel is largely snippet videos and the ADF Channel is used for professionally produced full videos. 23
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service Department of Defence website Defence Forces Media Channel on YouTube As well as these ‘central’ channels, there is the Air Force channel (105 videos) and Recruitment (17 videos). It is important to clarify that many videos across these channels are longer videos that have been uploaded in sections, since YouTube has a 10min limit on the duration of videos. Hence, the actual number of videos is less than the raw number. Our assessment is that Defence is a leader in the use of online video in the APS. HEALTH AND AGEING The main DHA website does not seem to have any clearly identified video channel. Searching for “video” does reveal a lot of press releases talking about video but these do not seem to contain any directions on where to find the video. Department of Health and Ageing website We did locate videos of television commercials on a number of micro-sites for major health campaigns but these, as suggested, are not included in our audit of procured video. 24
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 We are not able to locate a YouTube channel and we have not been able to locate individual videos on YouTube. Interestingly, what DHA video that is on YouTube seems to be posted by interest groups such as the anti-smoking lobby. We conclude that DHA is an active producer of video but seems to use it in a limited fashion online. Having said that, the Department is responsible for one of the most innovative uses of online video - as included in our benchmarks reported in an earlier section. It is obviously starting its way into the modern style websites and we expect a more Web2.0 style website with more engaging content will be on their roadmap. AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE While the ATO is clearly producing a number of videos, we are only able to find three Webcasts on their main website and these were on average 10 min long, of high production quality, and played in overlays, which is no longer the preferred way of presenting video online. Australian Taxation Office website We were unable to find any of their videos on YouTube, but found several Tax related videos by Australian citizens or Tax attorneys that attempt at helping Australians understand their Tax obligations. The ATO clearly has many opportunities to extend their Web presence with videos of interest to the public and make the Website less text-centric and more interactive. AUSAID 25
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service AUSAID produces very high quality videos that support the good work they do on our behalf. They launched their YouTube channel in July 09 and they have uploaded 29 videos some of which are being used on their main website. The video channel has 5,245 views, the sum of the video views is 7,174. Australia’s Aid Program website Australia’s Aid Program YouTube Channel We conclude that they are using YouTube very well but haven’t integrated it with their main site very well, since video content cannot be located or searched for easily. QUESTACON As one of our most innovative institutions with a special brief to engage young people, Questacon has been a significant producer of video. Most of the video on their site is used as part of interactive presentations. They also have had a YouTube channel since March 07 and it now has 83 videos, 2,082 channel views and 42,806 combined video views. 26
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 Questacon website Questacon YouTube Channel We believe that Questacon is a leader in the use of interactive online video and are using their YouTube channel effectively. Exposure of video on the Website through media search could be an opportunity. OTHER AGENCIES There are other agencies that are using YouTube including: • DBCDE (19 videos, 5,228 channel views, 2,447 video views), • Environment (24 videos, 27,661 channel views, 49,559 video views), • Child Support Agency (10 videos, 594 channel views, 2,916 video views), and • National Archives (5 videos, 458 channel views, 5,189 video views). CONCLUSIONS It is clear that Departments and agencies are taking initial steps into online video. These are mainly using YouTube to publish the videos. There is limited use of video on the agency websites and with the exception of defence; these are not aggregated into a specific section or searchable. Where videos are posted on agency websites, they are rightly placed within context by appearing within a specific program. ISSUES In our discussion with the agencies, we have been able to identify some common threads that may be impeding the use of online video for citizen, internal, and stakeholder engagement. 27
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service The broad consensus was that video was “too hard” to get online. In this, many saw video as being a unique type of file that required more technical knowledge than other files. This seemed to be compounded by a cost consideration. Agencies may be holding back on the basis that if more videos were placed on their websites, the viewing of these would result in very high costs in bandwidth use. This also seems to be part of the rationale that agency I.T. areas cite as the reason for either discouraging use on online video or, in some cases, refusing to allow. We heard that some I.T. areas would discourage video because they did not have the expertise to support these files. In one case, we were told that there was some fear that video files could be a security risk. We are not certain why this would be. While the above issues were important, some agencies professed to simply having not given much thought to the use of online video and that there was no agency policy in place to frame how and when video could be used. While the server and streaming issues outlined were an impediment, we believe that the production of video remains a key challenge. Notwithstanding the amount of video produced, as described, agencies are grappling with the need to provide different levels of video for online use in comparison to e.g. classic TV commercial use. The videos that are commissioned are, judging by their budgets, sophisticated and professionally produced. Agencies believe that they need to do more work on what could be called semi- professional video production that would allow quick delivery of such things as speeches, senior management addresses, etc. There was also some suggestion that AGIMO did not support the use of video for accessibility reasons and this has impeded some agencies. Collaboration with Media Access Australia and Vision Australia to define achievable levels of accessibility requirements in a projected government video solution is recommended. GROWING DESIRE Everyone we discussed the issues with spoke of an increasing pressure to use more video. These pressures are coming from within communications/PR sections and also increasingly from within line/program areas. Importantly, many spoke of their senior management wishing to use video more extensively. While there was suggestions that these are driven by a need to be seen to do this, most seemed to be genuine requests based on the validity of video as a communications driver. The Department of Human Services is the best example of this. While the department was not able to share details, they explained that there were major reforms in motion across the portfolio. These 28
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 changes will bring a new culture to the way that DHS service delivery agencies work and the use of video has already been identified as a way to inform and train the staff. When discussion was guided by us on what sort of video might be produced for online delivery, the agencies were very interested. We posed a base question about what ‘how to’ videos could be produced. Each agency was able to see a wide range of suitable subjects. When we posed the question of these agencies taking part in a supported trial involving the sort of videos they offered as candidates, the interest was extremely high. As foreshadowed, it was in the area of ‘semi-pro’ video that the agencies were most interested in. They see a growing need for agencies to be able to produce quick ‘talking head’ videos of senior management for internal and stakeholder dissemination. The agencies also discussed the need for more video conferencing and those conferences being recorded and made available, again to internal staff and stakeholders. To a lesser degree, agencies also identified online learning as an ongoing area of interest and they see a large role for video in these endeavours. CONCLUSIONS One of the more interesting outcomes of our discussions with web teams was their surprise when shown their agencies history of video production. Simply, they seemed to have no idea that so much video was produced. We believe that this reveals a wider issue. There may still be a lack of understanding between the various areas within agencies that are concerned with communications and the Web areas. There also seems to be a somewhat tense relationship between web teams and the I.T. areas within departments. On one occasion it was suggested that the Web team had simply “given up” and have become pragmatic in their relationships with their stakeholder clients in the agency and the I.T. department. The Web team knew they could do much better (and that video would play a role) but they have come to face the reality. They spoke of an ongoing battle with communications driven areas who were seeking ways to “get around” the seemingly impenetrable barriers. For people who have a natural instinct for innovation, the Web teams found it dispiriting to play the role of gatekeeper. Hence, we have concluded that there are cultural issues that would need to be addressed in an ongoing manner. 29
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service We believe that video offers a unique opportunity as its very nature will tend to draw the balance of ‘power’ away from the I.T. areas and toward the communicators and citizen / stakeholder engagement teams. We contend that web teams would find this new order more conducive to their aims and innovation instincts. 30
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 5. PROPOSED VIDEOS INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS As we have shown, there is already a large amount of video produced across the APS and much is not yet online. While many videos may not be suitable or relevant, there is no doubt that a concerted effort to upload those that are suitable and relevant will enhance the communications and engagement between the government and the public. Enhancing this even further would be the production of videos specifically for the online channel. In our discussions with agencies we gauged their reactions to the idea that the agency being funded (or partly supported) to produce these videos. The agencies were not only supportive but also engaged in what these videos could be. Within short brainstorming, the agencies were able to identify a wide range of topics that would be well suited to short but complete video explanations. These included internal, stakeholder, and public facing subjects. There seemed to be some agreement that these could be grouped together across the APS as the “how to” series. They could cover everything from how to use the archives to research family history through to how to apply for a Medicare card, as just two examples. OTHER VIDEOS The agencies also highlighted a range of video productions that they would like to produce. These included the video depiction of presentations (such as PowerPoints), addresses from senior management and staff, video press releases, events recordings, and news bulletins. These might be produced in a semi-professional or ‘industrial’ level manner and agencies see that internal skills would be something to consider. CURRENT VIDEO OPPORTUNITIES In our discussions we also identified two major initiatives that might benefit from a more significant online video treatment. DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES REFORM The department has announced major changes that will transform the way that the service delivery agencies will work. The integration of agencies including Centrelink, Medicare, the Child Support Agency, Australian Hearing and CRS Australia into single-point delivery will first need to be communicated across the Human Services portfolio. 31
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service DHS has already determined that video has a major role in meeting these challenges prior to contact with us. The department revealed that a video training and communications package that is based on scenarios may be part of the rollout. This may be a perfect opportunity to develop a beta intranet/extranet based video service that may then be used by other agencies. DIISR - BUSINESS NAMES REGISTRATION PROJECT The BNRP is in architecture phase for the development of and a seamless national business registration system that traverses all APS agencies and relevant state and local government requirements. Its vision is a one-stop online service that small business can use to complete all formal start-up processes. It is felt that the project is near to the having a quality map of the processes involved. There may be an opportunity to leverage that knowledge within an innovative online video presence that takes advantage of scenario drive processes (a baker in Toowoomba, etc) to create a highly interactive, across government video tutorial. We believe that such a project would be a world-first and can see how the actual online solution developed for the BNRP could be integrated into the video-driven interface. 32
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 6. FIRST RECOMMENDATIONS From our discussions with the agencies, we are certain that there is a growing desire to publish more video online. Two main challenges hold people back: the lack of knowledge about video production (what videos to produce and how to produce them) and the technical challenges. After consideration of all of the above, we recommend that more support is provided to the agencies from a central government video initiative. To help agencies move into the video age, training activities can be provided that also help identify what video opportunities there are in an agency and how to approach them to create content. Further a list of recommended vendors in the space could be provided to identify good producers where a more professional approach is necessary. For the every-day agency content, a list of good production equipment could be provided together with a typical workflow on what to do when and how to make sure that accessibility requirements are met. Integration of video into the CMS of an agency and into australia.gov.au is another challenge that needs to be overcome. The technical opportunities and scope for these will be addressed in the next sections. Finally, there is an opportunity to unify the YouTube presence of government agencies and the provisioning of a whole-of-government channel with links back to the individual agencies. In the next sections we look in detail at requirements and technical possibilities of providing a government-wide video solution. 33
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service 7. REQUIREMENTS ON TECHNOLOGY INTRODUCTION The requirements for a technical solution in this section have been collected from multiple sources: online discussions at the Government 2.0 Task force website, discussions with the project sponsor Peter Alexander, discussions with some of the experts named by the Task force, discussions with agencies, and last but not least our analysis of best practice. While it is almost impossible to create a requirements list that satisfies everyone's needs, the key here is to identify the technical needs such that in the next step we are able to propose different architectural solutions that can satisfy the requirements. OVERVIEW: GENERAL FUNCTIONALITY We have grouped the requirements into larger topics– this makes it easier to list them and compare system solutions to the requirements. • Production: Agencies that want to publish video often have to overcome the problems of how to produce video in the first place, typically never having had the practice, nor knowing the possibilities with respect to what content to produce, scripting, shooting, and editing. • Publishing: The complexities of publishing and delivering video and audio online are another stumbling block for agencies. This is mostly a technical challenge that can be solved by offering a service that will make it easier and adheres to government video publishing compliance requirements, which include amongst other things accessibility and metadata requirements. • Searchability: From a user’s point of view, video that is published must be easily accessible, findable, and consumable. Finding video and audio on agency sites is a bit of a hit and miss – most are just part of the general flow of articles, have no separate metadata, and are not individually searchable – means for improving this situation need to be part of a government video activity. • Archiving: As video is being produced and published directly in the digital domain, video must be made a part of the archiving and record keeping processes other digital content has to adhere to. It is important to provide a means to archive the high quality video and audio source material and store it with appropriate metadata. A government video solution should provide for such needs automatically without agencies having to worry about it. 34
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 • Engagement and publicity: Video that is produced and tells a government message should get as much public exposure as possible. A huge opportunity with current social engagement networks is by hooking government video into the existing networks that citizens use amongst themselves. Not only can the videos transport the message themselves, but also can they draw eyes back to other related government Web content. PRODUCTION-RELATED REQUIREMENTS These requirements mainly focus on challenges that agencies have to deal with when trying to move into the age of video. While these are in principle outside a technical solution for publishing, agencies still often have to grapple with the issue of how to produce video content in the first place that is appropriate to their needs and will prepare appropriate source material for publishing. They ask questions such as: • What types of content can/should be published? • How to script an audio/video production? • How to shoot audio/video footage? What equipment should be bought / rented? • How to edit audio/video footage? What editors are appropriate? • What format to encode it into for archiving and to prepare for publishing? • What companies could be used to help with video production? What is reasonable pricing? The best means of helping agencies solve these issues is through: • Guidelines e.g. of what content to produce / what not to produce, what format to encode into • Training • List of suggestions / recommendations, e.g. of content fit for publishing, equipment to purchase, recommended video production partners, recommended video editors The report looks at the format question later. Here, it may suffice to say that the original digital format should be in as high quality as possible, since it will be archived and the source material for any future transcoding needs. Typically, DVD quality would be the minimum quality to use for archiving. The format to use for uploading and publishing should be reasonable – high quality but compressed such that the upload process doesn’t take too long. Typically, H.264 in QuickTime mov or flv format are good formats to use. Ogg Theora is not yet used as an export format from video editing software, but is expected to emerge as another good production format in future. 35
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service PUBLISHING-RELATED REQUIREMENTS The following are functionality requirements that a publishing and distribution platform should fulfil to make life easy for the publisher: • Standard publishing format for video material • Upload / Inject functionality • Mass upload functionality • Transcoding functionality for a vast range of upload formats • Publishing to different Web and mobile formats • Automated thumbnail creation • Support for audio-only as well as video files • Pre-defined appropriate metadata, keywords, categories possibly partially filled in for agency • Engagement functionality: comments, ratings, favouriting, sharing, embedding • Support user-uploaded content • Pre-defined set of licenses and rules to chose from • Video player for single, and groups (playlists) of videos • Embedding of video player into third-party sites • Ability to block embedding • Adaptable branding on the video player • Cascading fallback solutions for video player for almost every possible Web browser setup with a ultimate fallback to a download option • High/low bandwidth versions of video and support for mobile • Support for overlay captions and subtitles at minimum, but also transcripts and timing of transcripts with screen readers to create audio descriptions 36
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 • Sign language tracks, audio description tracks, and dubbed audio tracks could be used and need displaying • Search and browsing functionality • Availability of video statistics: total number of plays, unique plays, bandwidth used, number of embeds, hotspots, statistics on caption use and other variants • Reasonable deployment cost For government use, the publishing platform could provide extra features such as: • Automated generation and insertion of default intro / outro titles including specific metadata fields, such as agency, license, attribution, presence of vision / audio of indigenous Australians • Intranet / Internet servicing of content • Integration with existing authentication and authorisation systems As we will see later, many platforms are available to provide such a system, though none will provide for all the functionality. When choosing a system one has to make sure that the list be segmented into absolutely required functionalities, nice-to-have functionalities, and less important functionalities. Then, any system under consideration can be evaluated with respect to meeting these requirements appropriately. SEARCHABILITY-RELATED REQUIREMENTS These requirements mainly focus on the needs of target users. If a video cannot be found easily by a user of the website, or more generally by an Internet user, all the effort that has gone into producing it was in vain. Therefore it is important to make the content discoverable. • Videos should have their own host page, so they can stand on their own with their own full text information. • SEO should be applied to video content, too. • Metadata, subtitles and transcripts should be exposed to external search engines for indexing. • Embedded videos should retain their metadata so they can be indexed by the site-wide search engine and also by Internet search engines. • Site-wide search engines should index video as much as any other Web content. 37
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service • A video tab should provide an overview of all videos published on a site. • A mediaRSS feed of all videos per agency and per topic should be available so people can subscribe to them and find out about new postings, and syndicate them to other sites. • Further discoverability can be achieved through providing tags on videos that are integrated into the search terms and can even be displayed in a tag cloud to be clicked through from. These are requirements for a central video of government site, but also for every single agency website that wants to take video seriously. ARCHIVING-RELATED REQUIREMENTS The requirements in this subsection focus on the needs of a digital archive that has to store the media files and their metadata and make it available and searchable. Naturally, the needs depend on what archiving infrastructure may already exist for digital objects and whether the video archiving should become part of an existing solution or whether a new solution needs to be built or whether the video solution for government agencies should in itself be a video archive as well as a publishing platform. • What format will the digital media objects be stored in? On Disk or on tape? • Source material is always the highest quality - which original file formats are accepted as storage formats? • What metadata should be stored for the digital media objects? • Will there be controlled vocabularies and ontologies to choose from? • What access rights will be defined for the digital media objects? • What re-publishing rights are there on the digital media objects? • Will video archiving be integrated with other archiving solutions? • What will the workflow be? • How will it be possible to extract a video and its metadata from the archive? • Will it be possible to provide an automated conversion to multiple video output formats from any one of a number of video input formats? • What open API will the video archive provide? For upload, search, syndication? 38
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 These are all questions that an archiving solution will need to be able to answer. Notice that there is a lot of overlap with the requirements for a publishing platform with the exception that publishing platforms tend not use controlled vocabularies and ontologies to save and record the metadata around objects, but rather use the more flexible keywords, categories and descriptive text. Also, the storage of the original, typically large source content material and the availability of transcoding into all sorts of output formats are not widespread on publishing platforms. PUBLICITY-RELATED REQUIREMENTS Video is a great means to make a message heard. However, if video is not publicised widely, only regular readers and occasional searches will lead people toward the content. It is important that the videos becomes part of the conversations people typically have online, which means video should be part of the social networks that people regularly use. • Every video publication should be announced to twitter and similar short messaging systems (in particular identi.ca). • Video that can stand alone with its message should be re-published on the largest video publicity site of the Web: YouTube. The Google search engine favours YouTube videos in its search results5, which will expose the videos to a larger audience. Bing allows for video playback previews from multiple video providers directly in their search results. Also, YouTube is now the second largest search engine directly behind Google6, so anything that is published on YouTube has a high publicity value. Video is increasingly taking a more important position in Web search engines – a situation to take advantage of. • Every department should have their own YouTube channel. There should be a central government channel that links to all the department channels (example of best practice: http:// www.youtube.com/usgovernment ) • Videos should be part of a more general social networking strategy – if a department decides to, e.g. set up a Facebook Page (example of best practice: http://www.facebook.com/government#/ usdos), then the YouTube video channel should be part of it, and also the mediaRSS feed from a potential government video publishing system should be presented there. Facebook is the dominant social network in Australia and it is possible to reach users of all age groups there and provide additional customer service there. • It is important to keep track of results on social networks through Web and video analytics. Some existing web analytics tool (e.g. Omniture, WebTrends, and Google Analytics) provide metrics on self-hosted videos. For video published to social networks, other tools are necessary. 5 http://blogs.forrester.com/marketing/2009/01/the-easiest-way.html 6 http://www.tgdaily.com/trendwatch-features/39777-youtube-surpasses-yahoo-as-worlds-2-search-engine 39
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service YouTube provides YouTube Insights for videos published through YouTube. Other service providers allow tracking across multiple channels, e.g. TubeMogul or VQmetrics. Depending on how video is published, it needs to be tracked and measured appropriately. 40
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 8. MODELS OF IMPLEMENTATION INTRODUCTION A whole of government video service can mean many things to different people. In this report we do not want to exclude any of these ideas, but we do want to stay focused on the above cited needs by government agencies, the users of their content, and government administration. Our focus here is on content for publishing and not on general video use in government, which will extend to using video for communication between individuals and groups within and outside government. However, recordings of such video communications can and should be the source of content to be published through some of the means that we describe here. Also, we do not analyse the particular solution necessary for a large-volume recording, streaming and publishing services such as would be necessary for parliamentary video. In this context, we would only like to point out to the above presented MetaVid open source system as a best practice for parliamentary video. Our approach in this section is to describe pure architectural models in order to clarify the software needs and costing. The recommendation will then be based on an integrated view of all these models. OVERVIEW OF MODELS What could a government video solution mean? These are the different models that we will analyse: • Video publishing platforms (centralised or distributed solution) • Centralised Video aggregation platform • Video publicity platform (centralised or distributed solution) • Video archiving platform (centralised or distributed solution) The following subsection will analyse each one of these models in turn. VIDEO PUBLISHING PLATFORMS A government agency has several different system options when trying to use a video publishing platform: • Video Content Management System (CMS) 41
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service • Integration into existing Web CMS • Hosted Video Service INSTALLATION OF A VIDEO CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS) A Video Content Management System (CMS) allows managing video content on your own media servers in your own computing environment. • Centralised vs. Distributed – the alternatives  Every agency might decide to install their own, different Video CMS solution and take care of their own storage and delivery infrastructure. In this case, we end up with a vastly different user experience across different government agencies and incompatible features between the sites, making it rather difficult to aggregate such videos in a meaningful manner centrally, to other social networks, or even into a video archive. This approach has all the advantages and disadvantages of a decentralised solution.  A centralised Video CMS can be installed that every agency has to use/ is free to use with a single central media storage and delivery infrastructure. In this case, we end up with a system where the administrators of the central site have all the control, have to provide all the support, and have to manage the infrastructure scaling with typically incomplete information. This approach has all the advantages and disadvantages of a centralised and, from an agency point of view, mostly outsourced solution.  A Video CMS solution can be purchased that every agency installs itself on its own media storage and delivery infrastructure. The advantage over leaving the choice of software to the agencies is that central support can be provided and that central aggregation is simplified, since all agencies offer the same API. There is duplication in administration across different agencies, but since everyone runs the same system, that administrative effort will be lower. This approach has all the advantages and disadvantages of a federated solution. • Build vs. Buy – the options  A Video CMS solution can be acquired from a commercial provider. This has the advantage that there is a company behind it that is responsible for fixing bugs, developing new features, and providing updates. It has the disadvantage of becoming dependent on a commercial provider whose products may not fully satisfy the needs of the agencies without a real possibility to enforce development of the required features.  An open source Video CMS solution can be used. Unless there exists an administration group within government to roll out such a system and provide support, one would contract 42
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 a local commercial entity that can provide the support, including training and the development of new features, bug fixes, and software updates. The advantage is that all required features can be developed and added on as required. Also, there is no dependency on the local commercial entity – if their service falls through, others will be around to work with the software since it is open source.  A video CMS could be built from scratch. This is quite a substantial undertaking for a government agency and would only make sense if there are no products in the market that come close to satisfying the requirements. The disadvantage of this approach is the typically much higher cost and effort involved in specifying and developing a system from scratch. The advantage is that a well designed and developed custom solution will provide for all the requirements and for full control over extensibility. If a custom solution is indeed requested, it makes more sense to work from an open source system to avoid having to start completely from scratch. Also, if indeed a custom solution was designed from scratch, it would be best to partner with a commercial entity that can later take the system to market for other users. INTEGRATION OF VIDEO INTO AN EXISTING CMS Depending on what system an agency already uses for publishing Web content, it may be possible to integrate video into it. • Does the existing Web CMS of an agency provide for video publishing and does it satisfy the listed requirements? If an agency uses their existing CMS for video content also, the question of archiving becomes an issue. The CMS should expose a mechanism for other systems to federate the metadata and content into an aggregation and an archiving system. • Is it possible to write a plugin for the CMS to hook it into the functionality provided by a (possibly central) video CMS? An agency that already runs a Web CMS should not have to also run a video CMS. Instead, they should be able to have extensions for their existing CMS that make the functionality of a central video CMS available to the local CMS. • At minimum, is it possible to cut and paste HTML snippets into the CMS with embed code for videos from a different video CMS? If the last question cannot be answered affirmatively, the agency will have to consider changing their CMS for Web publishing altogether in order to allow for video (re-)publishing. Since all modern CMSs allow for insertion of HTML snippets, this should not be a problem. • Apart from making video embeddable into agency Websites, it is also important to actually allow targeted search and browsing of video within an agency Website. If not natively available within 43
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service the agency CMS, such functionality can be provided through a separate Web page, which is created by aggregating all video information from the agency site. USE OF A HOSTED VIDEO SERVICE Most video publishing services follow the Software as a Service (SaaS) model and provide video hosting functionality on a remote server with capabilities to embed the videos into Web pages in an existing CMS. While the videos are managed on the remote site, which includes their metadata and their metrics, the existing CMS only has to take care of a small snippet of HTML code in its Web pages and is relieved from worrying about the videos. • Advantages - Disadvantages (+) Key functionality is available, including upload, transcoding, video player, and metrics. (+) Functionality is well tested and tends to be reliable (at vendor service levels). (+) No need to build out own infrastructure. (+) No need to build and deploy own software solution. (+) No need to worry about scalability. (+) No need to worry about bandwidth cost planning. (+) No need to worry about service reliability. (-) Reliance on a service that may have downtime at unsuitable times. (-) Dependence on the look-and-feel of the available video player(s). (-) Dependence on the available functionality, e.g. limited accessibility – there is no general means to extend functionality. (-) Dependence on a vendor. • Free vs. Commercial  Hosted video services that also function as social networks usually offer their basic hosting services for free. Using such a service makes for a very simple and low-cost solution. Advantages – Disadvantages (+) Free service. (+) Typically comes with socialisation functionality (sharing, Facebook, Twitter etc) 44
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 (+) Typically easy to achieve discoverability and good SEO. (+) Typically simple to set up and easy to use. (-) Typically riddled with advertising which is the business model of free services. (-) Typically comes with a branded video player that advertises the third party service. (-) Typically, submitted content is given away under a broad license that allows the third party service broad usage rights. (-) Limited to the features of the chosen service. (-) May imply endorsement of a third party service.  Other social video networks provide both, a free and a premium service. The premium service often includes the use of private videos, which do not have to be made public. Typically, prices tend to be smaller than with proper commercial video hosting services, but the functionality may also be more targeted towards consumers – e.g. insufficient metrics, no video player skinning.  Finally, commercial hosted video services provide a video hosting solution with many features and none or only little socialisation aspects. Advantages – Disadvantages (+) Commercial service with defined service level agreements. (+) Typically good support. (+) Typically allows for branding and video player skinning of the service. (-) Typically reliant on external services for discoverability, such as a site-wide search engine. (-) Typically expensive service. (-) Typically poor integration with socialisation platforms (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter etc). CENTRAL VIDEO AGGREGATION PLATFORMS Citizens that go to e.g. the URL http://video.gov.au/ will expect to be able to find access to all videos that government has published. But how can this access be provided? In the simplest version, this site may just be a video search engine, which provides access to all the videos indexed from any agency’s website and from agency’s other public Web presences, such as YouTube or Vimeo channels. Such a search engine is built by aggregating metadata about all government published video in a central database, indexing that database and making the index available for search. There is no video actually hosted at the aggregation (sometimes also called “syndication”) site. Only the metadata found about the videos (possibly through mediaRSS feeds) is copied and organised in a standard manner. Also, the search results can be presented in a uniform manner giving all government published video a common styling. Typically, a click-through to related material, such as 45
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service the host page of the video or the article in which it was published, is also displayed for videos. This will lead back to the publishing agency and provide a further source of audience to them. This can be taken one step further by introducing categorisation on the videos. Often, keywords or categories are already available for a video to decide what government-defined category it should be part of. Then, the aggregation site can also provide a browsing interface to its aggregate videos, which allows people to browse through government videos by government category. Related categories / keywords can also link to further video content. • Build vs. Buy  There are a few hosted video aggregation services available (as SaaS – software as a service).  It is not difficult to build an aggregation site from scratch – the effort is very much akin to building a mash-up site. This is why there are no commercial products available. Most of the required code is available as open source libraries. A relatively small consulting contract can build the system using e.g. MySQL, and some ruby code for data scraping/mediaRSS parsing on the backend with possibly PHP or Ruby on Rails code on the front end. The challenge will be to locate all government video content in a diverse CMS environment. VIDEO PUBLICITY PLATFORMS The dominant video publicity platform on the Web is YouTube. It is the second largest search engine on the Web – directly behind Google search. More people type queries into YouTube than into Yahoo or Bing. In addition, YouTube video results are favoured within Google search results and thus get an unfair SEO advantage compared to any other content on the Web. All this means that video that is published on YouTube receives an unfair publicity advantage over video published on any other website, and that includes other social networks as well as any private video CMS solution. This advantage should be exploited. • YouTube vs. Other Social Networks  Given that YouTube is the dominant video publicity platform on the Web, the main publicity effort for certain videos on the Web should be to publish (or re-publish) these on YouTube.  YouTube has attraction for the general Web audience. When targeting specific audiences, however, YouTube may not be the best means. For example, young males are better targeted on sites such as Break.com, or a European audience is better targeted on Dailymotion.com. Every video with an important and targeted message may need particular treatment on top of being published to YouTube. 46
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009  Further publicity can be achieved through a good mix of social engagement platforms, e.g. use of Facebook pages, Twitter channels, Del.icio.us, etc. It is not the aim of this document to develop a social engagement platform mix, but there is some overlap with such an endeavour. Video can both be used to enrich a social engagement strategy, as well as be the core content to be driven through such a strategy. • Central vs. Distributed  Just as most Australian government websites have a well defined focus, videos produced by an agency will be well focused around a specific initiative/area of work, too. Thus, it is only reasonable for there to be multiple YouTube channels for the government videos.  A central Australian government YouTube channel is also a sensible addition to the government’s YouTube presence. Just like the US government have launched a central channel, that links through to all the other government agency channels, a similar initiative will be a great means of grouping the channels together in the public eye and finding out about government video content on YouTube. A video publicity strategy should really include all of the above approaches. Since publication to social networks is generally a low-cost exercise and only costs the effort to do it, all adequate avenues for publicity should be used. Please note that even when using social networks for publication, there may be some further cost involved in creating captions if not done in-house. Fortunately, YouTube provides some very good tools to help simplify fulfilling these needs. • YouTube and Accessibility  YouTube now provides some of the most sophisticated methods for creating captions and subtitles: it is only necessary to create a mere transcripts and the timing for the captions will be calculated automatically by YouTube’s tools. It should therefore be prescribed to Australian government agencies that upload videos to YouTube to provide such transcripts and use the YouTube automatic timing functionality to create captions from them.  YouTube has as yet no solution for the needs of vision-impaired users other than encoding audio descriptions together with the main sound of the video. Since this is suboptimal for non-vision-impaired users, it is not a recommended process. It is therefore best to also publish the full transcript as simple description text on YouTube videos – thus, screen readers are at least able to provide a read-out of the spoken video content. VIDEO ARCHIVING PLATFORMS Records are a part of the information/knowledge asset base which is being regarded, increasingly, as a major organisational asset in organisations and government. Australian government agencies have a mandate to keep records of their work and to archive digital artefacts in high source quality for 47
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service prosperity with the National Archives of Australia. It is also part of the National Archives’ work to define the metadata necessary to maintain around a digital asset. The National Archives already have to deal with the requirement to archive video. There is probably already a system in place to do such for websites, including video in the Websites. • If there is an introduction of a video CMS either in the agencies or centrally, it would certainly be necessary for the National Archives to include such a CMS into their digital archiving efforts. At the same time, the agencies have to make sure to fulfil record keeping requirements around the video production and publishing process. These can be made part of the functionality of the CMS. • If there was to be an introduction of social video channels for agencies, e.g. on YouTube, it would certainly be necessary for the National Archives to include such public video into their digital archiving efforts. Fortunately, most social video networks provide mediaRSS or a similar XML feed for video channels, which can help extracting the videos and metadata, including the originally uploaded video format. • If there was to be a video aggregation site such as discussed above, and that video aggregation site exposes a mediaRSS feed, it would also make it even easier for the National Archives to locate all government video and archive it. • The largest challenge for the National Archives will be to actually receive the source material for digitally born video and audio – i.e. get access to the tapes, DVDs, CDs etc that contain the footage from the shooting, and also the high-quality output from a digital editing process. This can be solved if the archiving process is integrated into a general workflow which takes a hold of the material from the start. SUMMARY This section has analysed in separation the different pure architectural models of the software systems that can be used to satisfy different types of requirements on a Government video solution. An actual implementation may and should best consist of a mix of these models depending on the actual goals of the implementation project. As there are agencies that have challenges in publishing video, it makes sense to offer a whole-of- government video upload and publishing solution. This solution can also publish through to a centralized citizen access to government video – or alternatively an independent aggregation solution is created that can syndicate video from all places through which government publishes. 48
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 Further, if there are government-wide publicity videos, setup of a government-wide YouTube channel makes sense – combined with links through to agency YouTube channels. Decisions within an agency on what to do to solve the video issue can actually take a fairly logical course. The following decision tree can lend a helping hand to such agencies decisions. It focuses on making a technical decision about what publishing means an agency should set up: Decision Tree for Government Agencies for a video solution Note that we are not in a position to propose what videos should go up where - that is a publicity and political decision and should be made on a case-by-case basis where it's non-obvious, but trusting or empowering the person who publishes the videos online to make the decision. There is thus plenty of work necessary to educate/train the relevant people in agencies both technically and from an ideas point of view. 49
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service 9. TECHNOLOGY INTRODUCTION Some technical background knowledge is required in order to make a good decision about the best system architecture and the technical components to choose to realize the video system architecture. This section provides a basic video technology background. Then it lists products and open source solutions that can be used to provide for each of the above discussed architectural systems. BASICS The knowledge aggregated in this section is required as background information when implementing a new video solution – it will help determine the different necessary components and pricing for them. When going with an existing solution – be that proprietary or open source – most of these technology decisions have been made and integrated into the product. It is still important to understand these components, since there may be a need to adapt components of existing systems – e.g. existing CMSs or even the selected video solution. Then, this section provides valuable background information. VIDEO AND AUDIO FORMATS There are many proprietary, standardised and free formats available for publishing video and audio to the Web. Some of the main video formats are Adobe FLV, Windows Media Video, QuickTime, MPEG-4, and Ogg Theora. Some of the main audio formats are Adobe FLV, Windows Media Audio, QuickTime, MPEG-4 AAC, MPEG-1 MP3 and Ogg Vorbis. Some of these are actually container formats and can encapsulate more than one codec – the latest Adobe FLV for example carries H.264 video and HE-AAC audio, both MPEG-4 codecs. Before this, Adobe FLV contained typically VP6 (On2 Technologies’ video codec) and MP3 (MPEG-1 audio codec)7. Similarly, MPEG-4 codecs live inside Windows Media or QuickTime files. Ogg is a new container format and typically carries freely licensed and open codecs Theora, Vorbis, Speex, Dirac, FLAC, or CELT. It can in theory also carry H.264, but is not typically used for that. Of all these formats, the only really open and free formats are Ogg Theora and Vorbis. The Microsoft Windows Media codecs and the QuickTime Sorenson codecs are proprietary codecs. The MPEG 7 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_Video 50
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 codecs are standardised and specifications are available, but royalty payments apply. This is also true for the MPEG-4 H.264 codec, which is currently available for free when used for free Internet Broadcast, but royalties will need to start being paid from 1st January 20118. From a quality per bitrate point of view, H.264 is currently the best available video codec, closely followed by Theora. Dirac targets large resolution footage and can overtake H.264 in that space, which is more for TV or movie theatres than online. VP6 is a little behind by now, but the newer proprietary VP9 codec will compete with H.264. Microsoft’s VC1 will compete with Theora on quality per bitrate. For audio formats, one distinguishes between general audio and speech. ACC is probably the best general-purpose current codec at quality per bitrate, followed by Vorbis and MP3. Speex and G.722 are typical for Voice over IP applications. FLAC and MPEG-4 LAS are in use for lossless audio compression. Online, Adobe FLV, MPEG-4, and Ogg matter most as encapsulation formats with their respective codecs. Ogg is expected to become the commodity codec of the future with the HTML5 video and audio elements. FLV with MPEG-4 codecs is the de-facto standard online right now – MPEG-4 will probably continue to be used by large content publishes as a high-performance codec with additional DRM, watermarking and other features. TRADITIONAL BROWSER SUPPORT OF A/V FORMATS At this point in time, we have to look at what widely deployed browsers support. This may change quickly with the spread of HTML5, about which we will talk more in the next segment. For Adobe FLV to be used on websites, the Adobe Flash browser plugin is required, which is installed in roughly 99% of all browsers. The Microsoft Silverlight browser plugin is typically used to publish Windows Media content on modern websites. It is installed in roughly 48% of all browsers. To play QuickTime content on general Web pages, the QuickTime browser plugin needs to be installed. No numbers are available about the installed base of the QuickTime browser plugin. To play Ogg file on general Web pages, the Cortado java player is typically used in traditional browsers. Java is installed in roughly 56% of all browsers. So, the most widely supported codec in Browsers at this stage is Adobe FLV. HTML5 BROWSERS AND A/V FORMATS 8 http://www.streaminglearningcenter.com/articles/46/1/H264-Royalties-what-you-need-to-know/ 51
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service The latest development in Web technology is the new HTML5 standard. It is still in development, but many of the modern browsers have already implemented parts of it. The part that we are particularly interested in are the new HTML5 <video> and <audio> elements. They bring native support for audio and video content into the browser without a need to install browser plugins. The HTML5 standard at this stage does not prescribe a common baseline audio or video codec that has to be supported by all browser vendors for the new elements. Therefore, browser vendors have made diverse decisions on what codecs to support natively. Typically, they have chosen either Ogg Theora/Vorbis support or MPEG-4 H.264/AAC support. Browser with HTML5 support Codecs supported Note Chrome, since version 3.0 Ogg Theora/Vorbis, H.264, AAC, Broadest codec support (September 2009) MPEG-4 Firefox/Mozilla, since version Ogg Theora/Vorbis H.264, AAC and MP3 support 3.5 (August 2009) can be speculated on, though with much pain Safari/Webkit, since version 3.1 QuickTime, MPEG-4 Install XiphQT QuickTime (March 2008) component to gain Ogg Theora/ Vorbis support Internet Explorer No <video> or <audio> support Speculated that MS started implementing <video> and <audio> support and that it may be ready for IE9, but nothing has been announced. It can also be speculated that they will follow the path of Apple and provide native support for Windows Media and for MPEG-4, but not for 52
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 Ogg Theora/Vorbis. An ActiveX control to provide Ogg Theora/ Vorbis support in IE is in development. Opera Experimental build of <video> A beta release is upcoming. and <audio> with Ogg Theora/Vorbis support Overall, roughly 40% of all browsers support Ogg Theora/Vorbis at this stage. OTHER FORMAT ISSUES When YouTube became the star amongst video hosting sites, it created a default standard for the size of video published on the Web. This was in about 2007 and the default standard was SD (Standard Definition video) in 320x240 pixels, giving an aspect ratio of 4:3 and a bitrate of 350Kbps to 500 Kbps9. Since then, further formats have been commonly used, including: • SD 480i (640x480 pixels, 4:3) – bitrate of 500Kbps to 1.5Mbps • HD 720p (1280x720 pixels, 16:9) – bitrate of 1 Mbps to 5Mbps • HD 1080p (1920x1080 pixels, 16:9) – bitrate of 2Mbps to 10Mbps YouTube only released HD (High Definition video) at 1080p resolution on 12th November 200910.This is also the quality that is being used on Digital TV for broadcasting. In an Australian context we have to consider that the maximum available bandwidth via ADSL+ right now is roughly 24Mbps, so high quality video can be deployed. However, many Web users who live in outlying areas can only access poor connectivity, excluding them from online video altogether. Most Australians are, however, now able to reach 14 Mbps via Telstra’s "Next G" HSPA wireless network, making video streaming at higher quality possible11. 9 http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flash/apps/flv_bitrate_calculator/index.html 10 http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2009/11/1080p-hd-comes-to-youtube.html 11 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_in_Australia 53
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service We recommend publishing where possible video in HD 720p format, since those Australians that are on “broadband” will have 8 - 24Mbps. The HD 1080p quality may be achievable with the rollout of the National Broadband Network. CROSS-DEVICE VIDEO Thus far, we have concentrated on publishing video to the Web. However, the modern world is one of diverse devices where Web content is delivered to different screens. This introduces extra challenges to the content provider. Here, we only briefly mention mobile devices and IP Television as additional target platforms for video content. • On the Web, the current standard format is Adobe FLV with the H.264 video codec and the AAC or MP3 audio codec; within a few years, we expect HTML5 will take this place, which currently uses either MPEG-4 (H.264, AAC) or Ogg (Theora, Vorbis) video. • On IP TV, the current standard format is MPEG-4 (H.264, AAC), typically with a higher resolution than for the Web – 1080p is the aim. • On general mobile devices such as the iPhone, other smart phones, or iPod, the typical standard is 3GPP or 3GPP2. 3GPP provides MPEG-4, H.263, and AAC or AMR for audio. 3GPP2 provides MPEG-4, H.263, or H.264 for video, and AAC, AMR, or QCELP for audio. The iPod, for example, takes MPEG-4 H.264 video up to a size of 640x480 pixels and AAC audio in MPEG-4 and QuickTime containers. When trying to support multiple devices, it is recommended to provide a selection of source files each targeted at a particular device market. Special systems may be necessary to provide video publishing functionality to specific platforms, since content re-formatting may be necessary, e.g. http://www.azukisystems.com/ for Mobile, or http://www.irdeto.com/ for IP TV. With HTML5, this selection is being made available through the <source> elements inside the <video> or <audio> element. Otherwise, implementation of a script is necessary that will choose the correct source file based on device reported capabilities. AUDIO/VIDEO FORMAT RECOMMENDATION There is no doubt that HTML5 <video> and <audio> are the future of on online media. These elements will make it much easier to work with video and audio content on the Web and are even expected to provide a built-in markup for captions and subtitles, potentially even text-based audio descriptions that can be read by a screenreader, thus solving the basic accessibility needs right through the standard. Looking exclusively at the conditions around codec formats and disregarding 54
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 availability of commercial and open source solutions for the above listed architectural models, it is therefore tempting to recommend use of HTML5 <video> and <audio> elements. When we inspect the current state of standardisation of <video> and <audio>, the still very patchy browser support, and the low number of solutions available that provide for the above listed architectural models using HTML5 <audio> and <video>, it is prudent to consider the commercial market for HTML5 not yet ready at this point in time. This situation is, however, bound to change very quickly and may be completely turned on its head in 6 months. Our recommendation has to be dependent on the time at which an architectural model is planned to be realised. At the current time, we would recommend to use an Adobe FLV based solution. Adobe Flash has the largest uptake and with YouTube using it, Adobe Flash has become a de-facto standard for publishing video on the Web. Right now, YouTube and Dailymotion – the two largest social video networks – are undertaking experiments with HTML5 video – we will see online hosting sites move to html5 video faster than we might expect. Therefore, this recommendation needs to be re-assessed in about 6 months. It then needs to be determined whether HTML5 media support has improved in the browsers and whether vendors have started offering solutions using the new <video> and <audio> elements for publishing. Also note that if a decision was to be made to create a Government audio and video system from scratch, we would recommend using HTML5 <audio> and <video> with the Ogg Theora and Vorbis codecs simply because there will never be a requirement to pay royalties for the use and for publishing Ogg Theora and Vorbis encoded content, whereas the same does not hold true for MPEG-4 and other codecs. ENCODING AND TRANSCODING Every video system that requires uploading and publishing needs to solve the issue of encoding and transcoding video from the upload or ingest format to the publishing and possibly even to the archiving format. For encoding into Adobe FLV or MPEG-4, there are several choices for encoding software: • Adobe Flash CS4 Professional (Desktop version): A$1,415.00 inc GST • On2 Flix Encoder Pro (Desktop version): US$249 per seat, or On2 Flix Encoder Engine (server version): approx US$3,000.00 per server • FFMpeg (server & desktop): $0 – mature open source software – used by YouTube • Other less well known software:  Total Video Converter 3.5 (Desktop): US$350 (site license) 55
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service  Video Sharing Script (Server): US$600 per server  Conaito Video2Flash SDK (Server): US$499 per server  Flash Video MX SDK V2 (Server): US$1,000 per computer  Turbine Video Engine SDK: US$1,495 to develop server app, US$4,995 to develop desktop app  Squeeze 6 from Sorenson: Encoding software $499 (for Flash) There are now also some Web services (SaaS) that provide encoding on a per-use price: • http://www.encoding.com/: US$19 - $299/moth for 1GB – 75GB of encoding capacity • http://www.ankoder.com/ (AU product): US$2 per GB in + US$2 per GB out • http://heywatch.com/ : US$0.04 for first 45min of encoding, US$0.04 for every successive 15min for HD and 2-pass encoding Ogg Theora/Vorbis encoding software is open source and called ffmpeg2theora. Our recommendation is that if a video solution is to be created from scratch for Adobe FLV, it should be created on a Linux server and run the free FFMpeg software, which is incidentally also in use by YouTube. If, however, agency-specific Web CMSs are to be extended with video functionality, we recommend using a SaaS service such as Ankoder which avoids having to create agency-specific transcoding infrastructure. INFRASTRUCTURE AND HOSTING REQUIREMENTS FOR PUBLISHING VIDEO There is a large misconception amongst some agencies as to the actual costs involved month to month in publishing online video. With one agency quoted as saying "We do not have a million dollars a month to spend on video." While video publishing is more expensive than traditional website hosting, the actual costs involved have been for the most part greatly exaggerated. To put the million dollar number into perspective, let’s see what kind of a site can be run by spending a million dollar a month. We will here look at YouTube costs as they are known and confirmed from 2006. No official numbers are known about current costs, so these three year old numbers will need to suffice to face the fear 56
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 and uncertainty that is being spread about the real cost of hosting video. We know the following about YouTube in October of 2006, before it was acquired by Google12: • YouTube had an estimated 100 million video downloads per day which equates to 3,000 million downloads per month. • YouTube was using Limelight Networks as their Content Distribution Network provider. • Limelight’s monthly revenue was $4.7M USD/month, out of which YouTube is estimated to have made up 25%. Bandwidth cost is the main cost involved with publishing video. We can thus fairly safely assume that the monthly cost to run the 100 million video gorilla YouTube was above US$1M but probably not more than US$3M per month. Unless there are agencies who believe they can have the kind of audience YouTube did in 2006, the million dollar number is mostly born out misinformation. So, let’s clarify these numbers. Here, we will work with two example agencies. The first one is a small agency that publishes a fair number of videos a year, but doesn’t get that much interest – it is modelled on something like the US Government Accountability Office’s YouTube channel, but we have increased the number of videos and views to give a good baseline number. The second one is a large agency that publishes a large number of videos a year and attracts a lot of interest – modelled on something like the NASA YouTube channel. EXAMPLE 1: DEPARTMENT OF PAPER CLIPS (DOP) This department is solely responsible for regulation around the use of paper clips in the community and ensuring they are the right shape and colour. They regularly post one or two videos a month on their website. These videos are for community updates and announcements and are usually two to five minutes in length. The department also hosts a quarterly public Paper Clip forum. These forums have 10-20 speakers and the 20-45 minute presentations are uploaded to a special section of the Website. The department has a small regular following of viewers and it's regular updates receive from 200-1000 views while its conference videos being more reference material receive around 100-200 views. 12 See http://www.limelightnetworks.com/2006/05/limelight-networks-reports-continuing-strong-growth/ and http://willy.boerland.com/myblog/youtube_bandwidth_usage_25_petabytes_per_month 57
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service After a year of activity the department has the following videos • 24 - 3 minute videos (Regular updates), with 7,500 total views • 40 - 20 minute videos with 3,000 total views • 10 - 60 minutes videos with 1,000 views Minutes of video stored: 1,472 Minutes of video watched: 142,500 per year EXAMPLE 2: UNDERGROUND COLONISATION AGENCY (UCA) The UCA is the second generation of the Underground Exploration Agency (UEA) – while initially responsible for manned underground digs it is now responsible for a colonisation attempt at the earth’s core. Diggernaughts vodcast regularly about their training and journeys to the centre of the earth. There are also many mini documentaries made about all the technology and missions. There is a vast amount of public interest around the work the agency is carrying out which means that the UCA has the most viewed videos due the ground breaking work it is involved in. Its weekly summary videos have 5,000 views, while special events may receive up to 800,000 views, giving on average 300,000 views per month. After a year of activity the department has the following videos • 700 - 3 minute videos (Diggernaught vodcasts), 2,000,000 total views • 50 - 5 minute videos (Regular updates), with 1,000,000 total views • 100 - 20 minute videos with 300,000 total views • 10 - 60 minutes videos with 30,000 total views Minutes of video stored: 4,950 Minutes of video watched: 18,800,000 per year STORAGE REQUIREMENTS Here we are calculating example storage requirements using the two agencies above to get a bracket from minimum to maximum requirements on a per agency basis. 58
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 We assume that for each video uploaded we need to store 6 separate files. • the original video • transcoded OGG for HTML5 playback, standard and high definition • transcoded FLV for flash playback, standard and high definition • transcoded 3GPP for mobile phone playback This assumes that we want to be forward-looking with our infrastructure and provide for the possibility of serving Ogg format videos in an HTML5 video element. Captions, transcripts, and thumbnails will also need to be stored but since they pale in comparison to the size of the video, we will ignore them for this exercise. The quality of the original videos will most likely range from extremely poor 3:4 SD video to DVD quality 16:9 HD 1080p. We assume a fairly random sampling of videos across these sizes to calculate the numbers below. Some bias is included with the assumption that the UCA in general has higher quality original video as some of it is used for broadcast media and DVDs. We assume an average encoded rate of 2Mbps for the original videos. We transcoded the videos at 500kbps for the SD version and 2Mbps for HD version. We thus arrive at a total of required storage at the end of the first year of DoP = 76GB UCA = 257GB Note that we are not talking about a significant amount of storage, independent of whether this would be hosted internally by a department, on a hosted dedicated server with a large amount of disk, or in a virtual storage environment. For the internal storage scenario this data easily fits on a $100 SATA disk. If we look at an expensive hosted solution where premium SAN disk might be sold at $1/GB13, then we are looking at monthly costs of DoP = $76/month UCA = $257/month These numbers include backup and high availability when purchased from a provider offering SAN- based storage solution. TRANSCODING REQUIREMENTS 13 Indicative pricing was gathered from Bulletproof Networks, AC3, Hostworks, Web Central 59
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service On a 2 year old Intel Core Duo laptop SD video can be encoded at about 1:1 while HD video can be encoded at about 2:1 (i.e. twice real time). For every minute of video uploaded, approximately 7 minutes of real CPU time are required. With multiple processors and cores available on most modern servers this allows for multiple streams to be transcoded at once. Even for the larger UCA agency, roughly 5,000 minutes of video a year need to be transcoded, which equates to 3 days of CPU time. So a single server is more than up to the task of transcoding all the video for a number of agencies. For cases where many hours of video need to be uploaded for a single event and be made available quickly it may well be necessary to spin up further transcoding servers. There are also web services which can be used for transcoding on an as-need basis, see above. BANDWIDTH REQUIREMENTS There are two aspects to take into consideration when calculating the bandwidth required for hosting video. The first is the actual available bandwidth at the hosting site, i.e. the size of the pipe. This places a limitation on the number of concurrent streams that can be viewed. In Australia most hosting providers charge on the basis of bandwidth used, not the size of the link and have a minimum of 100Mbps connections. In the examples we are examining, even a 50Mbps link would allow for 25 HD streams or 100 simultaneous SD streams. So we will not take this factor into consideration here as we are not aiming to stream live events to hundreds of viewers and can thus satisfy typical agency needs out of any typical provider link. The second consideration and the most important is the amount of data which is used, as this usually has a direct correlation to cost. If we assume that streams default to SD and that 30% of viewers switch to a HD stream then based on the examples above we would see the following bandwidth usage over a year. DoP = 992GB/year = 83GB/month UCA = 131TB/year = 11TB/month Most hosting providers will charge for inbound bandwidth rather than for outbound bandwidth. The current inbound rate is approximately 2c/MB14 in Australia. At a typical 10:1 ratio this equates to 0.2c/MB for outbound traffic. On that basis we would see. 14 Indicative pricing was gathered from Bulletproof Networks, AC3, Hostworks, Web Central 60
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 DoP = $165/month UCA = $21,802/month Alternatively it is possible to purchase traffic at a flat rate by the Mbps. The current rate is about $200/Mbps, which is about 10 times as much as the US cost. This alternative doesn't necessarily make sense for the DoP since it would be risky to run such a site with less than 5Mbps per second since you need to be able to meet peak demands and this would already cost $1,000. The UCA on the other hand requires a minimum of 34Mbps to meet the average utilisation. If you add 50% to this to handle peak demand then you end up with a cheaper rate of $15,000 per month: DoP = $165/month UCA = $15,000/month These numbers are calculated under the assumption that the videos are hosted in Australia. If the videos are hosted on US servers or in a US cloud or CDN then these prices can be reduce by a factor of 10. SERVER SOFTWARE Ogg Theora/Vorbis does not require a special Web server. However, it is recommended to extend a normal Web Server such as Apache with an open source and freely available CGI script extension called oggz-chop to provide for some speed improvements on delivery of Ogg Theora/Vorbis content to Web browsers, such as faster loading and direct access to time offsets. Similarly, to work well, Adobe FLV requires special server software. Software alternatives are: • Adobe Flash Media Interactive Server 3.5 : US$4,500 per server • Adobe Flash Media Streaming Server: US$995 per server – more targeted at progressive download • Wowza Media Server Pro: US$995 per server • Red5: $0 – open source Flash Server software – mostly used for live streaming applications (using the RTP or RTMP protocols rather than HTTP) • HTTP server plus a script: $0 – open source modules to provide direct seeking to time offsets providing pseudo streaming There are also services from CDNs and hosting companies available, which include the price for serving Adobe Flash15. Pricing is on a per-use basis, for example: 15 http://www.flashcomguru.com/articles/hosts.cfm 61
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service • Wowza Pro for EC2: US$0.12 in/out per GB • Influxis: US$9.95 – US$895 per month for 10GB – 2TB of bandwidth • LimelightSTREAM: unpublished, but estimated to be about US$0.30 per GB - CDN for large and worldwide content distribution • Akamai: unpublished, but estimated to be about US$0.30 per GB - CDN for large and worldwide content distribution For hosting video, no support for live streaming is actually required. So, the only functionality that a Adobe FLV server needs to provide is pseudo streaming functionality. Thus, we recommend using open source software if a video solution is to be created from scratch for Adobe FLV. It is both cheap and effective, and matches the solution that YouTube chose. Similarly, for Ogg Theora/Vorbis we recommend using the open source and free software oggz-chop to provide similar pseudo streaming functionality for Ogg content. If indeed a Adobe FLV streaming server solution is necessary in order to provide live streaming support, a good discussion of when to choose the original Adobe software or a third-party hosting provider can be found at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashmediaserver/articles/fms_hosting.html. PLAYER SOFTWARE When using HTML5 and Ogg Theora/Vorbis, each Web browser provides a video player with default controls. There is no support for playlists out of the box. However, since HTML5 is part of the Web Browser, JavaScript for extending functionality and CSS for styling are available to the Web developer. This provides a very flexible environment for publishing video. When using Adobe FLV for a custom developed video solution, a video player needs to be developed in Adobe Flash or Flex in order to provide all the video playback functionality in the Web Browser. A Adobe Flash or Flex developer can also provide custom functionality such as playlist playback or styling, but it has to be developed in ActionScript and not through usual Web technology. To help this situation, several pre-compiled FLV video players are available online. Here is a short list of some of the available software – selected from a much larger set because these have subtitling functionality implemented: • Flowplayer with the caption plugin: US$395 multidomain license • JWplayer: US$225 base license for 25 sites, additional modules available for skins, Google Analytics etc 62
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 • FLVplayer: US$65 multidomain license When setting up a video service from scratch, we recommend using the JWplayer or Flowplayer. Not only do these provide a wide variety of features – including caption support, skinning support, a comprehensive JavaScript API, and playlist support – but their source code is also available, so if some adaptation has to be made, it can be done fairly easily. We recommend against building a new FLV player from scratch, since the required features take a long time to implement and many bugs will need to be overcome. Those listed here have reached a very high maturity level. For HTML5, we recommend simply re-using the default skinning and add custom styling through CSS. The advantage of the default skin is that it will support accessibility features natively, such as keyboard control of the video transport bar. VIDEO METRICS To determine the success of published videos requires measuring their audience and engagement. At the simplest level, video metrics are no different to Web analytics: it is necessary to measure the number of views, the duration of the view, unique views, the number of returns, segment the audience by gender, age, and country, find paths through the Website that include the videos, etc. However, since video and audio are time-based resources, it is also important to notice not just how long a viewer has consumed the resource, but also which parts of it he/she has consumed. This helps identify the hot spots and the dead parts of a resource, and provide feedback to the video creator who can use this information to improve the content. Web analytics tools available for video are: • Free tool: Google Analytics: also JavaScript-based Web page statistics collector; Google Analytics further provides a Flash API, so direct tracking of events in e.g. Flash video players is possible to e.g. gain hotspots (e.g. in use for JWplayer16) • Free tool: Yahoo Web Analytics (former IndexTools): also JavaScript-based Web page statistics collector; cannot collect Flash API calls • Open source tool: Piwik: a JavaScript-based Web page statistics collector, which also has functionality to track goals such as the clicking on links to videos; can also track Flash API calls of JWplayer using the Madlytics plugin. 16 http://www.longtailvideo.com/addons/plugins/107/Google-Analytics-Pro 63
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service • Commercial Web analytics: Urchin: it’s basically the self-installable version of Google Analytics; like Google Analytics, it provides video statistics through collecting stats on file downloads, but can also be used to track events in a Flash video player, e.g. pause, play, link • Commercial Web analytics: Omniture: provides video statistics support through their SiteCatalyst product • Commercial Web analytics: Webtrends: provides video statistics support through their Webtrends product • Commercial Video analytics: TubeMogul: focused on social video hosting site uploads and tracking, but also has on-site metrics • Commercial Video analytics: VisibleMeasures: focused on measurement of internet video campaigns • Commercial Video analytics: Vquence VQmetrics: Australian video analytics company with a focus on cross-site statistics for social video hosting sites VIDEO SOLUTIONS INTRO As discussed above in the models section, the main types of video solutions related to putting video on the Web are: • Video publishing platforms • Centralised Video aggregation platforms • Video publicity platforms • Video archiving platforms VIDEO AGGREGATION PLATFORMS In the models section, we determined that a centralised video aggregation platform will likely have to be built. Not many commercial solutions are available and no open source solutions could be found: • Xigla Software “Absolute Video Channel .NET”: US$349 (special $229 Nov 2009) – this is software to buy and install. 64
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 This product provides the interface of an aggregation solution, but doesn’t provide for captions or for discovery on the backend. All the links to videos need to be entered manually. This is a huge drawback, since it also will not automatically update new videos published e.g. to YouTube channels or on agency websites. • Magnify.net: a hosted solution to creating aggregation channels with a free and a enterprise solution. The standard Magnify.net system seems to have many ways of automatically finding video and grouping them differently, but it seems to be less concerned about managing additional information for each video, such as metadata and captions. We recommend using Xigla’s Absolute Video Channel as a pilot system to experience the capabilities of a video aggregation feature, but we believe it is necessary to develop a custom solution to make sure all the required features are available and ultimately minimize ongoing administrative overhead. VIDEO PUBLICITY PLATFORMS We also determined that the main video publicity platform is YouTube and that publishing videos to YouTube should be part of a larger social media strategy for the government. This does not imply that YouTube is necessarily the best solution also as a generic government video publication platform – this is something we want to analyse in this section. VIDEO ARCHIVING PLATFORMS Finally, video archiving is another challenge for a video solution. This should either be taken care of by the National Archives in the same manner that website archiving and archiving of other Government artefacts is being taken care of. A good video publishing platform will, however, also retain the original source file of every uploaded video, retain metadata about the objects, and thus fulfil some archiving needs, or at minimum prepare the content well for archiving. In this section we will not further look into video archiving solutions. VIDEO PUBLISHING PLATFORMS What, therefore, remains, is an in-depth look at existing video publishing platforms, their features and appropriateness for Government. While this section will list examples of the different types of platforms available and even analyse some of their features for fulfilling the requirements as listed above, this effort is not complete. It is recommended that an in-depth analysis of the existing products and solutions in this space is undertaken before a choice is made to choose an open source, a proprietary, a hosted solution, or even build one from scratch. 65
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service VIDEO CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS BUY A small number of commercial video content management systems exists. Mostly, software solutions in this space are now offered as software as a service, which also take care of the server infrastructure and bandwidth use. By installing a system, the system administration side of things still has to be taken care of. At the same time, there is more control over the system and a larger choice of using other solutions, for example for gathering statistics and hooking into other existing government systems. • Ensemble Video: US, includes caption support, not the prettiest players, • WorldNow ProducerTM of WorldNow: a browser-based Site Management System to manage and distribute media content on the Web; mainly used by media companies • Chuckwalla's: digital asset management (DAM) technology, no obvious subtitle support • PHPmelody: US, video CMS product, no obvious caption support, $49 (without logo) Apart from these actual video content management systems, many commercial CMSs now also provide video support. Here are three example commercial CMSs typically in use by government agencies: • Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server: MOSS is more than a CMS, also having document management, archiving, versioning, and workflow functionality. To include video into a Web page, you can cut and paste HTML embed code into a “Web Part”. A video player must be installed then, too – probably Flowplayer or JWPlayer. Silverlight can be integrated with MOSS, too, but it is rather complicated. Neither provide for video search or browsing. • Lotus Web Content Management: HTML embed code pasting is possible. There is also the Video Upshot product from Genus, which enables commercial CMSs, in particular IBM Lotus Web Content Management IBM Content Manager, with further video support (upload, transcode, metadata, streaming server), but has no obvious caption support. • Vignette 's Web Experience Platform: there is a Vignette Video Service that can be purchased on top of the Platform, which provides full video support, supports captions. 66
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 OPEN SOURCE A few open source video management systems have been developed: • Fez : developed by the University of Queensland’s library as a archiving and publishing platform for their digital documents on top of the FEDORA repository platform, it also includes support for video. Fez supports Adobe FLV for embedding. Fez is published under the GNU GPL license. Fez is a Web platform and provides the key functionalities such as search, browse, provide metadata, upload, transcode, embed, etc. However, Fez is mainly built as a front end to an archiving system and thus doesn’t include statistics or caption support. • VideoPress: developed by AUTOMATTIC as an open source video publishing platform similar to the popular Web CMS WordPress. VideoPress supports video in MPEG-4 and Ogg format. Like WordPress, VideoPress can be installed by anyone to create a video hosting solution and is published under the GNU GPL. It doesn’t support captions yet. • Kaltura Community Edition (CE): developed by Kaltura as an open source video and rich media platform including video management, searching, uploading, importing, editing, annotating, remixing and sharing functionalities. Kaltura CE can be installed by anyone to create a video hosting solution. It is published under the GNU Affero General Public License v3. Captions, subtitles and other contextual overlays are provided through PLYmedia. Kaltura CE is the only solution that also includes video editing software. Kaltura has extensions for Drupal, WordPress, MediaWiki, PHP and Ruby on Rails. • PHP Motion: PHPmotion is a free video sharing software that also has support for other types of media such as audio/mp3. It uses the free tools such as JWplayer, FFMpeg, flvtool2, mencoder to provide a full video CMS. It claims it is open source software, but it doesn’t provide a license and to remove the branding, payment of US$100 is necessary. There is no subtitle support at this stage. • Almost every open source CMS now has some video extensions, which can either embed video from another site or directly host video inside the CMS. For example:  Drupal video modules, e.g. http://drupal.org/project/video  Joomla video modules, e.g. http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/multimedia/video- players-a-gallery/1628 67
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service  WordPress video modules, e.g. http://www.easywordpressvideo.com/  Plone video modules, e.g. http://plone.org/products/plumi  MySourceMatrix has an embed movie tool BUILD As can be seen in the previous section, most existing Web CMSs will support video only through embedding, rather than providing full video support, including upload, transcoding, video server, video player, captions etc. They will work with any Video CMS though and we may consider building such a CMS. To build a video content management system from scratch requires development of all the above listed functionalities. Given modern Web development frameworks available in all major Web development language (Java, Python, PHP, Ruby on Rails), it is actually not a huge challenge to develop the Web interface for a video CMS. Further, video server software, transcoding software, and video player software is now available as open source and can be used as part of a build from scratch. Finally, video metrics can be provided either through hooking up the video player with traditional Web analytics tools, or through special providers. See earlier sections for more details on these. Further functionality such as accessibility, socialisation, and authentication integration would be necessary, too. A rough estimate for the minimum development cost for a video solution is calculated here: Encoding / Transcoding Software Open Source Software $0 (FFMpeg) Server Software Open Source Software $0 Player Software Open Source with commercial $500 license fee (JWplayer) Video statistics Software Free or Open Source Software $0 68
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 (Google or Piwik) Management and Publishing Open Source Software $0 Platform Basis (Kaltura CE) SW Enhancements Custom Development $100K - $500K est. Infrastructure Architecture Consulting $100K - $300K est. Sum $200K - $800K est. HOSTED VIDEO SERVICES (SAAS) COMMERCIAL SAAS PROVIDERS Many of the commercial hosted video services (white label video platform) do not announce pricing on their websites. However, there are price and feature comparisons available17,18,19,20. Basically, services are available for anything from about $10 to $2000 a month. • Ooyala: US, Director package (includes detailed metrics and multiple users) - The entry level is $500/month with 2,500 hours of delivery included (they charge by hour, not GB, which is really nice if you do a lot of HD). The “director” level is $1,500/month, with 15¢/hour for delivery. The director level includes full API access, as well as dynamic bitrate streaming and more advanced analytics. The “studio” level is $6,000/month and is 10¢/hour for delivery. It includes an interactive video editor for advanced video interaction. • Brightcove: US, Professional package (includes custom metadata, custom CMS integration) - The entry level is $6,000/year, 1 TB/month transfer, and 120,000 streams/month. “Pro” level is $24,000/year (and $6,000 setup) with 2.4 million streams/month. • Viocorp: Australian, no integrated video CMS, but provides the necessary hosting, distribution, and reporting functionality, as well as many special production needs; player is a bit crude and subtitling functionality is provided separately 17 http://www.mig69.com/docs/comparison_sheet.pdf 18 http://go.ooyala.com/rs/OOYALA/images/ForresterWave.pdf 19 http://cmorrell.com/web-development/video-platform-roundup-follow-up-128 20 http://www.masternewmedia.org/professional-white-label-video-publishing-platforms-guide/ 69
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service • BitsOnTheRun: European, the guys behind JWplayer, very promising, subtitle support in the video player, but not in the video management platform • Delve Networks: US, does speech recognition for improved SEO with direct access to time offsets, provides captions through PLYmedia • Fliqz : US, video hosting solution, $99 - $999 per month • Twistage: US, open API. integration with Flowplayer and JWplayer • Vzaar: US, open API, $15 - $300 per month, http://vzaar.com/pricing • MulticastMedia: US, focus on live streaming, acquired Veotag, works with Akamai, pricing not published • The FeedRoom 4.0 Enterprise Video Platform (EVP): US, players support captions – unsure about the platform, pricing not published, part of Kit Digital • The Platform: US, mostly resell through CDNs e.g. EdgeCast, no subtitle support in the system – player can be adapted to provide subtitle support There are many other commercial services, but this list has filtered out those services that do not meet minimum requirements, such as subtitle support. • VMIX: US, no obvious subtitle support • Castfire: US, no obvious subtitle support • Mig69: European, no obvious subtitle support • Episodic: US, focus on live events, no obvious subtitle support • Backlight: US, focus on agencies, no obvious subtitle support • Sorenson 360: US, no obvious subtitle support, short videos only, $99 - $999 per month PROVIDED THROUGH CDN Adobe provides a list of CDNs that integrate with the Flash Video Streaming Service21 - companies involved are: • Akamai 21 http://www.adobe.com/products/flashmediaserver/fvss/ 70
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 • Level 3 Communications • Limelight Networks • CD Networks • EdgeCast • HighWinds • Internap • StreamingMedia Hosting • Velocix, part of Alcatel/Lucent These generally do not provide an integrated media hosting solution, but rather satisfy only the hosting, serving and distribution needs. These can be used in conjunction with a built solution. In December 2009, Amazon released CloudFront Streaming, which also satisfies the hosting, serving and distribution need. Pricing starts at US$0.170/GB per month for the first 10 TB served and reduces linearly the more video is served. Uploads cost US$0.010 per 10,000 uploads, plus storage costs of US$0.15/GB per month for the first 50 TB. FREE A comparison of free online video services can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_video_services . These are the main ones, where only YouTube and Dailymotion satisfy subtitle requirements: • YouTube: US, YouTube’s service has many advantages, in particular a very advanced subtitling functionality, but the videos are restricted to 10min duration, 1GB size, and the videos will always have a YouTube logo on them – even in chromeless players, which are a possibility to create a nice styled player than the default one • Dailymotion: France, Dailymotion is a service that provides both, HTML5 Ogg hosting and Adobe Flash hosting. Their upload limit is 2GB (roughly 20min long files). Dailymotion provides HD video hosting and caption support. • Vimeo: US, high-quality video, nice player, for US$10 a month: 5GB/week upload, priority uploading, HD video. Video doesn’t support subtitles and has only basic analytics. • Viddler: US/Polish, $100 - $1,500 per month to get high volume channels, analytics and a branded player. Viddler does not support subtitles. 71
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service • Blip.tv: US, statistics for authors, focus on independent shows and monetisation, doesn’t support subtitles. • VEOH: UK/US, has a focus on TV and movie content, but doesn’t support subtitles. • Metacafe: US, has a focus on short-form original content and general Web search, doesn’t support subtitles. • TinyVid: NZ, hosts HTML5 video, no statistics, no support for subtitles yet. • DotSub: US, this is a particularly interesting free video publishing platform, because its focus is on enabling the crowd sourcing of subtitles, which are then automatically propagated into the embedded video player in use within a Web CMS. Their upload limit is 650MB (roughly 10min long files). There are basic statistics, but no comments, ratings, or favouriting. It is a very useful tool when considering crowd sourcing of captions and subtitles. BUILD WITH OPEN SOURCE The above listed systems Fez, VideoPress and Kaltura CE can provide the basis for setup of a centralised video hosting solution that offers services to agencies. It would be necessary to extend these and include further functionalities such as authentication and accessibility features. BUILD FROM SCRATCH The first part in building a central government video service for agencies is to create the software. This was described above at the end of the previous section. To provide the service requires the creation of an architecture that is robust and scalable and will support the storage, CPU, and bandwidth needs of the agencies. A rough estimate for the monthly expenditure in actually running such a Government video solution from Australia is given in the next table: Storage Per agency $76 - $257 /month Transcoding 1 server $200 - $2,000 / month Application Serving 1 server $200 - $2,000 / month Bandwidth 83GB – 11TB/month per agency $165 - $15,000 / month Sum Fixed cost $400 - $4,000/month 72
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 Per agency variable cost $240 - $15,257 / month Note how the Australian bandwidth cost dominates all other cost for large content collections. If instead of hosting in Australia, it was possible to host out of the U.S., per agency variable cost would drop to $100 - $4,000 per month. At early stages of the service, the top example of the UCA agency will be very unlikely, even for agencies that publish a lot of video content and get a lot of publicity. In the event of a very popular video, one could always decide to simply move it to YouTube and avoid the massive bandwidth hit. 73
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service 10. RECOMMENDATION INTRODUCTION Building the best system architecture for a government video solution depends on what the existing infrastructure looks like and what possibilities exist to extend it and integrate with it. Input from existing Web managers across the APS should be acquired in order to understand the technical possibilities and any potential special needs before deciding on the best possible architecture. This report makes a recommendation that assumes that a diversity of content management systems exists in and between agencies, and that the National Archives have a solution for archiving Web content, including video content. It further assumes that agencies are asking for help in solving video publication issues, that citizens cannot locate Government video content easily, and that video publicity should be solved as part of a general online engagement strategy for Government. The recommendation is based on a strategic vision integrating video into the publicity activities of the Government. ARCHITECTURE RECOMMENDATION After consideration of all of the input we have received from diverse agencies, from analysing best practices, and existing technology solutions, we have created a strategic vision for an integrated government video solution. We recommend creation of a video system for government that consists of a modern, cooperating and integrated set of solutions for agencies, for government communicators, for government administration, for citizens, and more broadly for the online community. A single video software system is incapable of satisfying all needs of these diverse groups of people. We recommend the following solutions: ALL-OF-GOVERNMENT VIDEO CMS The heart of the system that we recommend consists of a central government video content management and publication system. Think of it as a “YouTube for Government” – we could call it “GovTube”. It is a service provided by a central government agency to the agencies and relieves the agencies of having to worry about setting up a reliable and scalable infrastructure for publishing videos. It will further provide a consistent handling of video content across all of government. 74
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 The software to be chosen here must fulfil the needs of a video publishing platform as discussed above, including upload, transcoding, publishing, embedding, accessibility, metrics, and API features. We recommend not using a social video platform for this, but rather either (1) license software, (2) use a sophisticated SaaS service, or (3) customise an existing open source solution. A checklist of required features for such a software should be created and used in a tender to judge potential solutions. AGENCY WEB CMS INTEGRATION Agencies’ Web CMSs will require interacting with the all-of-government video CMS. It is possible to create an integration in such a way that agency users will not need to learn using a new system, but can access the core functionality of the video CMS transparently through their existing CMS. This will solve the video publishing needs for agencies. This requires development of some glue code in the form of code extensions or plugins for the existing Web CMS. These plugins can automatically log into the central video CMS as the correct user and then interact with the API of the video CMS to provide seamless video upload, publishing and embedding functionality. The development effort required to hand down these functionalities should be minimal and can be shared across agencies where the same systems are used. It is also possible that vendors already provide such code for typical open source CMSs. YOUTUBE CROSS-PUBLISHING YouTube is the best means to gain exposure and search engine optimization for videos. For publicity reasons, we recommend that each agency (or portfolio) receives their own YouTube channel as a partner to an existing agency (or portfolio) website, branded in the same style. There should be a publication guide for which videos make sense to publish through to YouTube, including the need to keep such videos under 10min. As a central video CMS is being rolled out, publishing through to YouTube can be integrated and made available seamlessly. The agency-specific YouTube channels should be complemented with an all-of-government YouTube channel similar to http://www.youtube.com/usgovernment. This special channel will have links through to all the other agency/portfolio channels and provide a central access means for Australian Government video content on YouTube. The use of other social video networks such as Facebook, Dailymotion, Break.com, Vimeo should be sparse and part of a larger social engagement strategy/activity. 75
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service Some of the publicity for video published to YouTube and to “GovTube” should be automated, such as RSS type XML feeds, an announcement to Twitter, Facebook pages, del.icio.us, etc. A strategy should be worked out and set up. AGGREGATION/SYNDICATION/SEARCH To make government video searchable and discoverable from a central location, we further recommend extending http://www.australia.gov.au/ with video search and browsing functionality. It can also be accessed directly from http://video.gov.au/. This accesses a central government video aggregation platform, which discovers video on all government publication platforms, including websites and YouTube channels, and makes them available to the public in a consistent manner. Further, it provides another source of audience to the agencies as video links back to the publishing pages on the agency websites. We recommend that this should be built as a separate browsing service where all video is organised by categories or tag cloud, as well as searchable. The aggregation software should to be written from scratch and should export mediaRSS feeds in diverse groupings. The search functionality could be provided through the existing Government search provider. This video service should be made a part of http://australia.gov.au by introducing a “videos” tab similar to the existing “directories” tab, which includes both, search and browsing functionality for videos. WORKFLOW & ARCHIVING Governments have more requirements and processes to fulfil than typical commercial entities. For example, the acquisitions of source material into archives or the need to manage the approval process for publishing are not typical functionalities of a video CMS. It may be necessary to develop a custom workflow for these extra needs. The workflow would initially be manual – e.g. “send your CDs, tapes or DVD to the National Archive together with a reference into the video CMS for metadata”, or “you must have approval from your manager on this form before publishing the video”. The full workflow could eventually be automated with an online system, upload of high-quality source material, and an email-based approval system. There will likely be more steps in such a workflow and it may even be possible that most of this can be handled by the central video CMS. The need for a workflow system will have to be monitored and a system potentially be implemented at a later stage. Here is an overview diagram of the main components in the video solution vision: 76
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 Note the separation between what is a Government agency activity and a central Government activity. Also note how Google only crawls what is directly exposed to the Internet and not the white label government video platform, even though that one provides APIs to interact with other Content Management Systems and with the syndication site at australia.gov.au. ESTIMATED INVESTMENT REQUIRED • “GovTube”: white label video hosting service for agencies, centrally provided – proposed to be custom developed on the back of an existing open source solution to allow for custom extensions, such as custom workflow, custom access control, hosting of interactive e-learning content, potential HTML5 support – costing is difficult to do without more in-depth specification, but is estimated to be between $200K - $800K development cost, $400 - $4,000 monthly fixed cost, and $240 - $15K monthly variable cost per agency. • Web CMS integration: custom developed either in-house or through contractor – maybe $15K- $30K per Web CMS – includes video search and embedding; no extra cost required for hosting and delivery. • YouTube channels: branded YouTube channels for Government have just become free for all government departments (http://governingpeople.com/Home/18878) – this offer should be taken advantage of; no extra cost required for hosting and delivery. 77
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service • Video publicity: some setup effort is required to optimise automated publicity either in-house or through contractor – maybe $5K - $10K; minimal monthly cost for hosting this service less than $100/month. • Video aggregation & citizen access: custom developed mashup-style system either in-house or through contractor – maybe $20K-$30K – includes video host pages with all information about videos and links to agencies; small monthly cost for hosting this service less than $500/month. • Video search: extension of Web search on australia.gov.au to videos – extra service to be negotiated with vendor (Funnelback is currently powering search on australia.gov.au). “GovTube” Development Cost $200K - $800K Monthly Fixed Cost $400 - $4K Monthly Per Agency Cost $240 - $15K Web CMS Integration Per Agency Development Cost $15K - $30K YouTube Channels Per Agency & Whole-of-Gov $0 Video Publicity Processes Development / Setup Cost $5K - $10K Monthly Fixed Cost $100 Video Aggregation Site Development Cost $20K - $30K Monthly Fixed Cost $500 Video Search Extension to Development Cost & Monthly Vendor request Australia.gov.au Fixed Cost OVERALL THE COST MAY BE: Development Cost for the central site: $225,000 - $840,000 Development Cost per agency: $240 - $15,000 Monthly Fixed Cost: $1,000 - $5,000 78
    • Whole of Government Video Service 2009 Monthly Cost per Agency: $240 - $15,000 This cost is just for setting up the technology and infrastructure. To make a fully workable government video solution, one has to also consider other requirements such as training needs, support services and production assistance. 79
    • 2009 Whole of Government Video Service 11. CONCLUDING REMARKS Video is the most powerful communications tool. As the visual literacy of the people rises, video will become even more powerful. A massive rise in online/mobile/ITV video is inevitable. As the commercial world drives this, governments will need to respond. The use of video will soon define the difference between a modern web presence and one that is lagging behind on the innovation curve. Indeed, it is probably already the case for many people. We believe that the Australian people now expect government agencies to invest in their web/mobile channels and judging on their online habits, video is a key requirement. As our report reveals, contrary to what might be thought, online video can be made accessible for people with vision impairment. A concerted effort to communicate core information and services using video will substantially increase awareness in the visually-impaired community. Importantly, video could substantially improve awareness of government activities amongst the many people with some level of cognitive disability. As one example, it may be possible that some people might not consider going into business due to some inability to understand the ‘red tape’ across the levels of government. The BNRP video presentation we presented in our report could support these people. As highlighted by our DHS change-management example, video will help organisations cope better with substantial changes to the way they work. Many complaints about government stem from staff not being fully versed in new service delivery paradigms. Video can drive awareness better than any other communications approach. As has been identified in other government thinking, government also has a role to play in stimulating innovation in the online space. This is important in the context of the National Broadband Network (NBN). Government can demonstrate advanced use of video online and the opportunities that this extra bandwidth can be used for. We present our recommendations on the basis that their implementation is a strong and powerful answer to the question that rightly is being asked by the Australian people. Only through actual demonstration can we be sure that the underlying reasons for the NBN can be explained. This report should be considered a major step forward and a basis for more consideration and work. It is the beginning of what will be a long and complex road. In the spirit of the web, we should get to work, develop rapidly, experiment, and not be afraid to fail. 80