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An Exclusive Behind the Scenes Look at Minute Media's New Voltax Video Player

Context

Almost a full year has gone by since Minute Media’s team sat down and took on the bold challenge of completely revamping the company’s video player. From this meeting, the groundwork was laid for the new Voltax Video Player. While Minute Media’s initial player got the job done, there was a lot of work to be done to contend for the top spot in the industry and give our customers the experience they want and deserve. 

This year has been challenging for everyone, and the publishing industry has suffered some of the most extreme changes as a result of current world events. As a publisher ourselves, we are going through many of the same challenges, making it all the more important to keep our partner’s needs and expectations at the forefront of the rebuilding process and to make sure our player can help ease some of the new challenges they may be facing. 

Throughout 2020, the team spent countless hours conceptualizing, designing, and developing a new state of the art player, which will reduce latency, offer more functionality, and improve the user experience for all of our partners and O&O brands. 

The Research 

To begin, it was important to perform due diligence and collect all of the relevant data that may be helpful throughout the production process. 

To compete within the industry, we needed to know what our main differentiators were and how we could effectively bridge the gap between ourselves and the top players. This included comparing dozens of video players on the market and analyzing which features make them stand out. It also involved the team asking our partners and clients questions like “What is your perfect player and why?” and “What player functionalities are must-haves for your business?”. With these new insights, we were able to begin to form a comprehensive guide going into the refresh process. 

The Design

Since its initial release in 2018, our video player has undoubtedly been our company’s most profitable tool, and because it is seen by millions of unique visitors every day, the “look and feel” is one of the most important representations of the player as a whole. Luckily, here at Minute Media, we are blessed with an extremely talented design team who took our player’s design to the next level.

Due to the company’s B2B2C business model, the question of “Who are the users?” is a little less straightforward than in most cases. While we aim to provide a solid product for other businesses, the video player itself will mainly be used by the clients of those businesses, making the viewers the true end-user.

“I started my visual research by looking at other video players in the market. A lot of them. All-day long. I decided on the following approach: I will start with the Macro - the bigger picture, and then drill down into details - the Micro.” - Shelly Izenstros

With improving our user's experience as the main objective, project manager Shelly Izenstros was able to begin designing expanded features that met the needs of our partners, as well as helped to make our player more appealing to prospective new clients. This painstakingly detailed process allowed the team to decide which elements of the new player would maximize the user experience while ensuring our publishing partners had the customization and performance they required. 

Player Infrastructure

In the early stages of planning, the team knew it would be important to add new features to the player without compromising the overall goal of increasing its speed, performance, and scalability. In the first version of the player, all of the features were built as a single entity, limiting the personalization for each customer and slowing down the player’s performance. 

The new Voltax Video player uses an innovative plugin-based approach, which essentially unbundles all of the different key components of the player. This way, we’re able to reduce latency and offer full flexibility to partners who want to add their own design components, analytics events, or other customization elements. Publishers of every size can now leverage the Voltax player to not only drive traffic but to increase their brand exposure at the same time. Also, the new player now comes standard with our security offerings such as Token Authorization and Media Encryption, letting you keep full control over your content. 

The results of unbundling the player’s infrastructure were quickly realized after A/B tests showed the loading time to be considerably faster compared to the first version. On average, we saw a 16% improvement in terms of loading time, which not only speeds up page load but increases overall monetization, as we noticed a more than 10% increase in ad impressions. 

Player Features

Following the release of our first video player, a lot of the feedback we received from partners related to the available feature set and customization of the player. To keep up with industry needs, the team made the scalability of new features one of the main goals in the revamp. By leveraging the aforementioned unbundled infrastructure, we are now able to move quickly and deliver new features without major changes to the core of the player. 

Also, the new player now allows the user to preview the next video, increasing on-page retention, and with the ability to add custom branding and logos, brands have more opportunities to connect with their audience. 

While the new player has a fresh polished design and several new features, the idea of stopping here simply doesn’t fit into our innovative nature. Moving forward, we’ll continuously be adding more advanced features to improve the partner and user experience. You can look forward to caption support, galleries, video recommendations, and other capabilities meant to boost your overall revenue in the coming quarters. 

The Release

After more than six months of development, it was time to release the new player into the market. We had to be patient as we slowly released the player onto our O&O sites, testing speed and performance as we went to ensure our external partners would have the best onboarding experience possible. 

After we were confident the new player could thrive with a higher volume, we were able to efficiently onboard our partner sites and quickly give them the tools to improve their video offering. As we continue to improve our onboarding process, current partners have commended the work that has already been done in transitioning them to the new player. 

What’s Next?

Now that the Voltax player has been released to all of our partners, our team is planning to continue improving the technical infrastructure of the player by developing new features to give users the best possible on-page experience. 

In addition to our state-of-the-art player, Voltax Video also offers a vast content library, a modern Video Management System, a proprietary contextual matching algorithm, and many other key components built to maximize revenue through video. To learn more about Voltax Video’s full offering, as well as our other publishing solutions visit ovp.minutemedia.com.

For more detailed questions, feedback, or suggestions regarding the player, contact your account manager or send an email to PubOps@minutemedia.com