Sean Parker of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) details his journey from an inferior video solution to uStudio's modern video platform.
Tell me how it is that you became a uStudio customer?
Our team was actually created about three years ago. When we came on board, we had an existing video solution that was handed to us. Some of the things that it was doing that we didn’t like were that we had to put everything into one big bucket, and then had to sort through and tag everything to make sure that we could find it later. It was a flash-based solution on both the front and the back end. With a large part of our audience being mobile, that wasn’t going to work. People were complaining about the time it took to upload and transcode. We had other department saying, “Can’t we do this better?” We had player issues. It was just a plethora of issue after issue. When we were looking at this we said, “Okay. We have to change. We have to change.” That’s when we started looking around.
That sounds really painful. How did that feel day after day?
Every time, we had to go in and upload a video, or find a video, or get the embed code, I think all of us dreaded it. I know that every time I went in there -- and I spent hours and hours on this tool, which was just slow, cumbersome -- it just drained you. You couldn’t do anything else for the rest of the day. You knew you would have to save your work until the end of the day, because you knew after you got out of using this tool, you are going to be drained. I should be able to go into a tool at any time and feel like – bam -- it’s done. I’m in, out, gone. With this other tool, you knew you were going to spend time in there, more time than you wanted to, every time.
Did you finally just get fed up?
We did finally get fed up. We knew after the first time we used it at CES that we wanted to move off of it. It was horrible. I mean, like the crick in my neck. That was real. It was misery. I think I spent six hours trying to code one player to work. Then I found out it wouldn’t work on mobile. It would only work on desktop. It was just absolutely horrible.
Was it daunting to think about moving off of your existing solution, even though that technology was making you miserable?
We knew that this was going to be a major undertaking to move thousands of videos that we already had on this platform onto any other platform. We started doing research almost immediately after our initial CES. But by the time the second CES rolled around, we said, ‘this has got to go.’ I think we were all fed up. One of my team members waited for four hours for something to upload, which was just unheard of. So after that, we said, “We’re changing. I don’t care what it is. We’re going to move.” We put it in the budget, we did a slew of research, and we ended up with three final candidates, uStudio being one of them.
So you narrowed it down to three options and then chose uStudio. Why did you choose us?
After we narrowed it down to the three options that we really liked, we looked at what each one offered. One was flash-based still. One was really easy to use, but didn’t offer a lot of the other things. Then we took a look at uStudio, and it offered everything. It wasn’t flash. It was easier to use, and delivered what we needed to deliver. That made it rise to the top very quickly.
I think once we saw uStudio, and we started comparing it to the other options, we kept coming back and saying, “Does this service do what uStudio does?” Then ultimately, all the pluses on uStudio just gave us what we needed -- the multiple studios, being able to upload quickly, being able to deliver to YouTube, being able to deliver to other platforms, whether it was podcast, whether it was Vimeo. Wherever we needed to go we could go with this. It just won out the day.
How did it feel then the first time that you used uStudio?
The first time I used uStudio, I loved it. I thought it was great. I thought it worked well. What was more of a relief to me was I didn’t hear any complaints from my team. I didn’t hear the video people that are working in this on a day-to-day basis complaining. What I heard was, “Oh. This works. Oh. I can do this. Oh. Here. Let’s embed this. How can we make this better?”
That must have felt pretty good?
It was a big relief to be able to have team members not be worried every time they jumped in uStudio, not be worried about what was going to happen. If they had to upload something, I could get other people up and trained in minutes. Where before, it was just a long, long process, so if I needed to bring in like somebody else who’s working on video just to upload stuff, I could just say, “Do this,” and they were like, “Wow.”
How long did it take from the moment where you literally said, “Lights off on the old solution. uStudio is our new partner.” How long did it take to get up and running and have your videos there at your fingertips ready to use?
It actually didn’t take long for us to get up and running. We did have to migrate a large amount of video, which uStudio handled, and handled well. As soon as we said “go,” I think it took less than week to turn over all of our videos.
What was the training and ramping process like for your team once you had formally switched?
It was a process that we could do on our own time, and we didn’t have to go out and have some long training class. I think our initial kick off phone call was maybe an hour, hour-and-a-half. I mean, it was really that simple that we could do a kick-off and then go.
What were your core requirements when you were looking for a new video solution?
The things that we knew we had to have in a new system were: we had to be able to have two different places to put CEA videos and CES videos, and future scalability, so that we could have a third place for something like our innovation movement. Those things were core. Then it had to be super flexible and easy to use, able to deliver to YouTube or other platforms along with just a native player. Those are probably the key things that we had to have.
Player customization was also important as was customer service, because our old customer service was horrible, and our new customer service with uStudio is great.
What was your first impression of uStudio?
My first impression of uStudio was ease of use, just, bam. That was it. It was really intuitive. You didn’t have to sit there and wonder, “Does this do this? Does this do that?” It was clear, “Here’s where you upload the video, and here’s where it goes. Here’s what you can do with it.” It was bam, bam, bam.
How is your experience with uStudio in terms of customer service?
Like I said, it’s one of the reasons we moved. I can pick up the phone. I can talk to my rep. I can send an email. I can have an answer the same day. Our previous solution, I couldn’t ever talk to actually anybody on the phone. I had to email, and then I had to email and wait for this whole system to work. Being able to actually pick up the phone or send an email and know that I’m going to get an answer back is phenomenal.
If we have a bad customer experience, we’re going to walk. We just don’t tolerate that. I think the fact that uStudio’s customer service is where it is and sets the bar so high that it’s something that we really appreciate.
You said flexibility was very important to you. What has been your experience with uStudio on that dimension?
In our previous solution, what we were saddled with was essentially building one solution for desktop and one solution for mobile. We had to put in a bunch of different code to make sure that it would work here and work there.
With uStudio, it’s really you build one, and it is going to work across all platforms. When I talked about flexibility, that’s what I’m meaning -- that it will work everywhere, so it can bend and be shaped to what we need. It can work on desktop and mobile, whether it’s a tablet or phone. It’s that easy to use. You’ve got the player, and it works everywhere.
Has partnering with uStudio changed the way your team is perceived in the rest of the organization?
I do take pride in my work. It frustrates me when we’re not delivering something that people can use. Our previous solution, when I would get a call from our conference team, or I would get a call from our communications department, it really bothered me that I couldn’t deliver to them what they needed. Now I don’t get those calls. They’re like, “This is great. Can you just put it up for me?”
If a friend or a colleague were to ask you should they switch to uStudio what would you say?
If somebody asked me will I recommend uStudio, or if they were looking to switch, I would definitely tell them to switch. The time savings, the ease of use, the flexibility, it works. It is a relief to have something that works well and not have to go through all the machinations that we had to before.
If someone asked you to recommend your previous solution, how would you respond?
If anybody ever asked me would I recommend them, I would say absolutely not. I would say run. Run away as fast as you can.