Ooyala Social: A Quality Customizable Platform for Selling, Renting, and Sharing Video Through Facebook

Online video technology developer Ooyala this week announced its new customizable platform for content owners that want to rent and sell video via Facebook applications. Ooyala Social is just that, with a wide variety of viral and engagement features licensees can include such as live chat, sharing of video clips that can be watched in the news feed,

Ooyala Social is the most engaging social video experience we’ve seen yet. With an inclusive set of payment options including Facebook Credits, PayPal, Credit Cards, and mobile, it could help video content owners turn their Facebook presences into new revenue streams.

We reviewed Miramax’s implementation of Ooyala Social last month. Its ability to let users choose from a variety of different films to rent made it more useful to TV and film studios then Milyoni’s Social Theater app. However, it lacked some important social and viral features found in Milyoni’s app. It turns out, though, that Miramax had simply opted for a more stripped down experience, and that the Ooyala platform it was built off of supports many more social features.

With Ooyala Social, video content owners can allow users to:

  • Rent videos for a limited time
  • Buy videos, which are then stored online and can be accessed at any time
  • Subscribe to an updating series of videos
  • Share with friends through Facebook social plugins
  • Select between high-definition and standard video quality
  • Live chat with other viewers
  • Purchase and gift a film to friends
  • Leave timed comments
  • Watch simultaneously and chat with a specific set of friends by distributing a unique URL
  • Begin watching the film on one device or social platform and resume playback from a different device or platform
  • Receive recommendations on what to watch based on their interests
  • View an activity feed of what friends have watched and shared
  • Share video clips that are viewable in-line from the news feed (requires custom Ooyala development)

Licensees are charged by Ooyala on a software-as-a-service reoccurring payment model. Clients can also pay extra for Ooyala’s client services group to do custom integrations and offer even more compelling experiences, such as the ability to share scenes that can be watched from the news feed.

On top of in-app purchases, clients can earn money by serving in-app ad campaigns. Clients can also drive sharing of their app by only showing video once a certain threshold of users are present in what approximates a group buying model.

Nick Edwards of Ooyala tells us he believe multi-title video distribution apps provide a better experience than single title apps because they offer users a higher chance of discovering and paying for content they didn’t know about before. He also thinks they could be a powerful way for television networks to “reach a whole new target demographic in a different geography where they don’t have the right to distribute through terrestrial television.” For example, a British network could reach ex-pats and other fans in the US through Ooyala Social.

Facebook currently only requires game developers to use Facebook Credits that include a 30% tax. But as Facebook apps such as Ooyala Social begin processing significant volumes of purchases, Facebook may need to establish its virtual currency as the exclusive payment method for apps too so it can take a cut.