Posts Tagged 'Video'

Pre match live streaming trial, City v Newcastle

We’re back in Premier League action today and for the first time on the site we’ll be trialling live streaming of our pre match build up.

City Square, Summerbee Bar

City Square - Summerbee Bar

City Square was launched last season with a café, bars, covered staging area, and big screens galore. It has given fans, including my Dad and me, somewhere to go close to the stadium prior to the match. I’m setting off shortly to start the pre-match ritual – pint in Summerbee’s bar, watch the big screen build up, argue about the team line up, Manc burger and then to the seats.

From 3 hours prior to the match the big screens show everything from highlights, interviews, features etc as you’d expect. Then there’s good stuff – live footage of City Square, teams arriving, giving away prizes and hospitality upgrades to fans and interviews with players past and present, celebs, team announcements as they’re read out from the tunnel – it’s impressive if I say so my self.

So we want to show the rest of the fans who can’t make it to the ground, local and international, what great content is available before a match. The site already has a Match Day Centre, which regularly receives double the stadium capacity in traffic, and post-match interviews and report but we want to give that sense of anticipation and excitement that builds prior the whistle blowing.

If you want to take a look between 1pm-3pm 19th Nov, City v Newcastle, here you go: http://live.mcfc.co.uk

We’ve also been keeping an eye on the impact our changes in October have made to the site. This is always tricky given the other factors which can affect our traffic. News stories, matches, international weeks, transfers all affect the traffic but we have seen some nice increases in dwell time and video usage – especially interesting given the international break when we normally see a bit of a drop off.

The video player on the site is now served in HTML5 to iOS devices allowing iPad and iPhone users to view video in the site. It also delivers the related videos in the player, similar to YouTube. As such we’ve seen an increase in people watching videos that normally would have dropped off the radar – Micah’s fridge for example saw a small surge in traffic when normally it would have long since tailed off.

More changes are to come in this area which we’ll update you with over the next few weeks.

Last week I headed down to that there London for the ‘Lovie Awards’ winners’ party – which boasts a concept I think more awards should adopt in so much as everyone present was a winner. It was great to turn someone and say “so what did you win?”. The YouTube speeches will be available shortly, thankfully filmed at the start of the night so we’ll post a picture of our new haul of awards as soon as they arrive through the post!

Finally congratulations to Richard Ayers who received a DADI award for Individual of the Year, and for adding Joe Hart’s signature “Deeecent” to the acceptance speech, as requested by fans on twitter. Well done!

Hope you enjoy the live streaming – any feedback to mcfcgeeks @ mcfc.co.uk.

Victoria

Weeknote 2

I’ve been off for a couple of weeks and return to find we’re making good progress on more product roll-outs – with improvements to the search system (both algorithm changes and results page template upgrade) coming along. We’re also working on adding a ‘playlist’ element to the video on the citytv homepage which is shaping up nicely.

The site improvements have had a couple of weeks to bed-in and we’ll be getting stats back soon on how people reacted. More video views, for starters I’m sure, because we’re now offering options of related videos.

I’m itching to mention a whole bunch of new services for fans that we’re going to deliver – but I hate jinxing things, so I won’t mention any of them until they’re about to launch – and then it’ll be a sneak preview for readers of this blog. Suffice it to say that we think they’re going to be appreciated by fans, and will stick to our mantra of giving fans more and more access to the club – just like our youtube deal.

Wristbands, cards, rfid and social media

On a totally different note, I noticed this rather interesting article “What happened when a hotel armed social media-loving clubbers with RFID wristbands?” by Kevin May on Tnooz.

It’s something we thought about when putting together the ‘clever card’ with this year’s new membership scheme. We’re working on a range of ideas of how to use the technology best – in a way that gives something to the fans as much as the club – but bearing in mind that all our membership cards at the Etihad use an rfid chip in them to give holders access to the ground – then it’s a short step to thinking about what kind of social media integration we might do. Or my feeling is that there’s more than social media to be done – there’s fun to be had – fun that makes more of match day – and not just in the ground, but across the network of properties that the Club owns.

Anyway, having said I don’t like jinxing things, perhaps I’ll stop there. But, as ever, we’re interested in any thoughts you might have on good uses of this technology. Usual contact points: mcfcgeeks [at] mcfc.co.uk and @mcfcgeeks, or talk to me on @richardayers.

One final thing:

We’re up for an award – tonight at The Drum Awards for Digital Industries (@dadiawards) in Leeds, where there are some really great entries in a whole range of categories. Our iPhone app, developed by our builders at Aqueduct is one of the finalists in the Use of Mobile category, but it’s well worth checking out some of the other creative work.

Also, we’re delighted to be honoured with two Lovies – the first European awards from Internet Week Europe. We got a silver award for the website in the Sports category (there wasn’t a gold award in that one) and another silver in the News category for the iPhone app. Which, as they say, is nice.

 

 

 

Making things better

If you’ve ever been involved in running a website then you’ll know that there is always a long, long list of things that need to get done.

I’ve always felt that you should never really get to the end of that list. Technology moves on, new systems and software are invented, usability and functionality can be improved and user needs are always developing… so if you get to the end of the list of things to do, then you’re not really evolving the site.

We’ve been tempted to do a redesign – largely because it always crosses your mind as an option and because it’s been a couple of years that we’ve had this design… but our considered decision was that there was a lot to improve with the functionality that we’d like to do before we go changing the appearance as well.

This is a roundabout introduction to the fact that we’ve just completed the first wave of improvements to the way the site works.

With the help of the hardworking chaps at Aqueduct, our builders, we’ve made the following changes:

  • Video Player Update - two main things here: videos can now be viewed on iOS (iPhone and iPad – yes, about time, we know) and also we’ve changed the player to be a bit more like youtube – for example offering other relevant videos. This won’t work retrospecitvely, but you’ll see it come online as we publish more.
  • New galleries – Sharon’s pictures are clearly very popular – the ‘Today at Carrington’ picture galleries always get lots of user attention, and so we’ve introduced a new gallery template so that you can a) see the pictures bigger and b) have better experience seeing them (like going full screen, or hitting ‘play’ and letting them do a slideshow).
  • Goodbye mcfc.com, Hello mcfc.com – a long time ago in a galaxy far far away we launched an American version of the site – but, frankly, all the fans who were interested came to mcfc.co.uk anyway. So now we’ve melded mcfc.com back into mcfc.co.uk.
  • iPhone detection – this isn’t a usability improvement, but it’s an interim step. We know that we need to build a mobile version of the site – that’s in the pipeline – but in the meantime, we’re pointing people on iphones to the app – in an attempt to stop them having the ‘i need a magnifying glass’ experience of the site on mobile at the moment.
  • Clickable Carousel – this is an example of a range of smaller functionality improvements we’ve made. You used to have to go to the orange button and click ‘read more’ or ‘play video’ but we thought it would just be easier to make the whole image clickable. Obvious, isn’t it. There are a series of little tweaks like that too.
  • Retro-Homepage-Setting link – It’s a very basic, and quite old-fashioned piece of functionality, but it’s also something that a surprising number of people still use – so we’ve put in a ‘make this my homepage’ button on the top right. I’m sure it’s not needed as every fan would have the site as their homepage anyway… right?

There are, of course, some back-end things that we’ve improved along the way and, as I said, there’s a long list of tasks on the to-do list. A mobile version of the site for one, improving the search algorithm, etc etc.

While I’m here, I’ll also mention that we’re constantly trying to improve the content as well as the site design – so there’s the introduction of things like the Inside City format which people seem to like (I love the appearance of the Carrington cat). Or there’s the #asksamir format that we’ve done to get players responding to your questions. Also, we’ve been adding in picture galleries and videos to players’ profile pages – which is an improvement, though we feel there’s a lot more to be done here.

Feedback?

As I mentioned, this is the first wave in a series of improvements you’ll see over the next few months. We’ll blog about them here – but we’d also like your feedback. In particular, knowing what you think will help us prioritise the changes.

Tweet us on @mcfcgeeks or email mcfcgeeks @ mcfc.co.uk.

Or you can leave a comment here and we’ll publish what we can.

Thanks for reading, and we look forward to hearing from you.


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This is the official blog of the digital and media team at MCFC.

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