Rhode Island School of Design: A Case of Valuing Video with Brightcove

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Article ImageFounded in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is located in Providence, R.I. With about 2,200 students and 400 staff members populating the historic College Hill campus, the school offers 16 undergraduate and 17 graduate programs as well as a 6-week precollege program designed for high school students.

Business Challenge
It only makes sense that a school like RISD would want its website to reflect the latest in technology and design aesthetics. So in 2004, RISD started making videos for potential students browsing its webpages. As the school started to populate the site with its video content, problems began to arise. The videos were isolated from each other and difficult to manage. It quickly became clear that RISD needed a video platform solution to manage its content.

Vendor of Choice: Brightcove
Brightcove, a provider of online video platforms, got its start in 2005 and has mostly focused on the media industry by working with companies such as The New York Times Co. and FOX. The company provides SaaS solutions, allowing clients to upload video to the web as well as manage and monetize the content.


The Problem in Depth
Since the advent of YouTube, the popularity of online video has soared-anyone and everyone can post home videos for the world to see. Media companies scrambled to catch up, and now other types of organizations are seeing the value video can bring to businesses of all kinds. The Rhode Island School of Design was no exception. But managing hundreds, or even just dozens, of videos is no small task.

In 2004, RISD recognized the potential that online video held, especially in terms of student recruitment, and it started creating videos. The school produces two main types of promotional videos for its site: testimonials from students, alumni, and faculty and documentary-style videos about the learning experience. As the content began to build up, Eric Meier, director of interactive media in the media and partners division of RISD, says, "It became a real mess for us."

Each video was isolated on the site and had to be addressed individually, which was a time-consuming process to say the least. "The videos were buried within the site. They were disparate. They were disconnected from each other," Meier says. The hand-built players did not allow for scaling or include any viral capabilities, i.e., there were no linking or cut-and-paste functionalities. All of this made for an ungainly, inefficient system that did not allow for the kinds of viral promotion Meier, and most people who use video as a marketing tool, hoped to achieve.

Meier and his team were working hard to produce engaging, informative videos for potential students. But it was becoming apparent that RISD needed a new platform to manage the video if it was going to maximize the value of its content. "For a while we thought we would build one in-house," says Meier. However, a new understanding of the power of the web came along with a new administration at RISD, and the school started looking outside its walls for a solution. Meier, who says he had been aware of Brightcove for about a year, was glad to hear he would be able to institute a professional video platform that would allow for a level of sophistication that RISD would not have been able to achieve otherwise.

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