Wikis—those topic-specific, online communities for educating and sharing information between enthusiasts, are getting a facelift thanks to the ability to embed online video and pictures within postings and pages.
Wikia, the media company that hosts wikis, has launched the Lightbox multimedia player with the aim of enhancing the multimedia viewing experience for the site's more than 50 million monthly global visitors. The Wikia Lightbox will feature nearly 100,000 videos and 14 million photos, including content from premium partners AnyClip, IDG, IGN, RealGravity, and ScreenPlay, Inc., - giving users access to about 5,000 hours of premium content from which to choose.
"The new video library and Lightbox player will amplify Wikia's naturally strong community creation and curation activities by enabling the assembly and packaging of user created and premium photo and video content in one place," said Wikia CEO Craig Palmer. "This also gives us the opportunity to bring our users the best professional video content available on the Web…these efforts will make it even easier to showcase the passionate pursuit of knowledge through collaborative storytelling.”
Through the Lightbox, professional, licensed content can be integrated with original wiki content. Wikia users will be able to stream trailers, previews, clips and exclusive studio videos at up to 1080p HD video quality as well as browse through an entire collection of multimedia assets by page.
During beta, the Lightbox offered multimedia collections on wikis such as Shrek, Mortal Kombat, Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings. The Lightbox is now available to all 250,000+ Wikia communities across its video game, entertainment and lifestyle categories.
The strategic direction to include online video content in the toolbox comes at a time when the comScore (News - Alert) Video Metrix service recently reported that 180 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content in July for an average of 18.5 hours per viewer, creating greater engagement and opening up advertising opportunities with a wide array of influential consumers. Wikia scents an opportunity here, launching a new advertising initiative as well.
Wikia will offer video pre-roll, companion ad units within the Lightbox's interstitials and a full sponsorship option to create a unique branded video player that reinforces sponsor's look and feel.
"The Wikia Lightbox video advertising option gives sponsors a new canvas where they can tap into the influence of the Wikia community to create real brand stories in digital space," said Wikia's senior vice president of sales, Bob Huseby. "These specs help creativity flourish by making it easier for brands to take advantage of our video ad inventory while allowing advertisers to deliver in-stream interactive video ads with the confidence that users will always receive a consistent, clean and well-lit viewing experience on all of our wikis and pages."
So far, its trial results for the ads have been positive: Beta testing across 450 wikis has shown that users that engage with the Lightbox are 20 percent more likely to view the next video in the collection. Some beta campaigns have shown nearly 75 percent video play rate on pushdown video ads.
The player can be triggered from any photo or video thumbnail, or users can navigate directly to the entire collection of video on any given wiki by selecting the new stand-alone video collection page in the wiki navigation bar. Users can select video content from a source library that aggregates video assets available for any Wikia contributor to post and curate. Lightbox also allows content to be shared with friends even if they are not Wikia users, via e-mail, Twitter and Facebook (News - Alert). In the near future, users will have the ability to embed Wikia videos on their websites and blogs, the company said.Tara Seals has over thirteen years of experience as a journalist. Her areas of expertise cover the waterfront of the service provider segment, especially mobile networks, devices and applications; and video infrastructure, content and broadcast models.
Edited by Brooke Neuman