Colleges Turn to Facebook, NeuLion To Distribute Video

University athletic departments, especially mid-major programs, have been using Facebook to increase their exposure to younger fan bases for some time now. However, the quality of the content that could be posted on the site was limited, at best. Now, with the help of tech-service provider NeuLion, schools can seamlessly post broadcast-quality live and on-demand video through an embedded video player to their official athletic Facebook pages. “It really allows us to put our video product, which is so strong on our main Website, into social media,” says Adam Halfmann, director of marketing & promotions, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. “We can do it so effortlessly.”

The University of Florida is one of three schools serving as a flagship university partner for the social-media extension of the NeuLion digital platform.

Green Bay, whose branded video page is called Phoenix Flix, joins the University of Florida (GatorVision) and Duke University ( Inside Access) as flagship university partners for this social extension of the NeuLion digital platform. The video players create a seamless integration between the official athletic Websites and their Facebook pages. Enhanced tagging and metadata also easily allow schools to customize video players and feed content to sport-specific Facebook pages. For example, simply tagging a video “women’s basketball” will ensure that it will end up on only the women’s basketball team’s fan page and not on the page of any other team. “Really what it’s all about is creating that better Facebook experience,” says NeuLion VP Ed O’Brien. “What we’ve seen throughout this whole process is, our Facebook referral traffic for the network has increased about 25% over what it was last year.” NeuLion’s service also allows increased levels of flexibility as it extends further through its digital-network affiliate program, allowing colleges to share video content with third-party Websites via the embeddable mini-video player. Message boards, fan sites, local newspapers, or any media site can easily embed video content. O’Brien and his team are also working to improve the live-streaming portion of its Facebook package. While most universities keep their live games behind a subscription pay wall, O’Brien says this Facebook initiative offers schools an opportunity to increase revenue by providing a free broadcast as a teaser to its Facebook fans in an effort to boost subscribership. “We’ve had a few successful streams there,” he says, “and that’s what we’re really starting to push now: how do you use the live streaming and the on-demand to really boost brand awareness of the video product on the school side?”

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