The scope of this project, especially with the tight deadline of three months, felt a bit unrealistic for us. However, we decided to take on the challenge of working with technologies new to us and sacrifice our sleep for those three months.
The requirements were to create an online TV channel that would allow the live streaming of programmes and would also give viewers the option to watch any of the previously recorded programmes on-demand. There was also a need for comments, programme and host information, advertising and direct calling through the website.
The initial challenge was to fit all the information without taking the viewer away from the video that they are watching. This was done by creating a system of overlaying containers within the video player itself. The information about the programmes and hosts, functionality for setting reminders and commenting were all set within these containers.
We used Brightcove as a platform for video encoding and delivery, building our own video player on top of it. This allowed us to have a bit of fun with our solution for comments. With an (overly) estimated number of 50,000 active viewers per day, how would a stream of comments work?
We decided that the best solution would be to allow users to comment on specific timestamps of the video. Grouping those within a certain range. This meant that conversations about a certain event within the video could be grouped into threads. These Momments (Comment + Moment), as we were calling them, were marked on the player’s scrubber, with brightness of the marker being based on the amount of Momments in the thread. Hovering over them would show the viewer the Momment feed and allow them to participate. There was also the option to automatically display the Momment feed when the video reached the timestamp containing the feed, allowing viewers to easily follow along with the conversation as it was happening.
After those three sleep deprived months we were ready to launch the Beta version of the website. We could finally call ourselves a digital development studio with something quite substantial backing the fact. And so we launched the website and went to sleep. Unfortunately after a few months on air the channel had to shut down due to internal politics.