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Monetizing your digital content - by Cog Design

As part of our series showcasing the options that Spektrix users have for adopting video, Michael Smith from Cog Design introduces the Spektrix-driven paywall and Cog Player.

Two users explore CogPlayer on tablets, with an animated cog overlay

At Cog we help arts organizations inspire their audiences. 

The nature of that help has shifted dramatically in the past nine months, perhaps more than at any other time in our 30-year history. 

We’ve been partnering with over-stretched marketing and box office teams, as they juggle time between their furloughs, finding new ways to engage audiences with digital content. 

Nottingham Playhouse website, showing headshots of many performers and information about their Unlocked festival

Audience behavior has changed too. 

For instance, for their online season, Unlocked, Nottingham Playhouse saw an average of 63% new buyers (compared to 20% previously) plus unprecedented in-purchase donations. 

We’ve been doing some interesting website work to accommodate these shifting needs. 

We were, I think, the first to create a Spektrix-driven paywall. 

From an audience perspective, it just means that instead of buying a ticket to a show, they are buying access to digital content. 

From our clients’ perspective it opens up all sorts of possibilities. 

Most people are using it for live streams or on-demand video. But it can be (and is being) used for almost any type of content you might host online: Zoom-based classes, virtual gallery tours, long-form writing, bonus images and content, backstage blogs, and the list goes on .... 

And, because it’s all hooked up through Spektrix, our clients can use all of their powerful tools, data and reports to handle customer communications and payments exactly as they would with ticket sales. 

They can provide season discounts, lock on-sale dates for different membership levels, cross-sell and encourage donations in the booking path, direct specific audiences to targeted access enhanced versions, use targeted email to keep bookers informed, and much more.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra website, showing a double bass player and a cellist, with information about their livestreamed performances

One of our first integrations was for Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, UK (BSO). We learned a lot, both technically and about the ways that audiences react: when they book, when to send login details, what they worry about, and how to reassure them. It led us to publish guides such as how to watch streamed content on your TV

BSO sold more than 16,000 tickets to their first online season, all streamed through their site with surprisingly little fuss from a largely older audience. 

We’ve already rolled out this solution to lots of different clients, including the Albany and Lyric in London, the Belgrade in Coventry, and Nottingham Playhouse, with a handful more in progress.

Adding our set-up to sites we created is now relatively straightforward.

But we started to get lots of calls from people whose sites we hadn’t designed. 

It’s never easy (and can be pretty unfair and unethical) for one agency to try to add functionality on another agency’s site; we try to avoid that.

Multiple screenshots of CogPlayer on desktop and tablet, demonstrating what's on and login screens for an example arts centre

Instead we created CogPlayer. 

CogPlayer is a super-simple, standalone platform utilizing all of that "paywall" experience and most of the same technical set-up. 

We create the platform and manage the hosting of the player pages and the security. You add the content, set up events in Spektrix and embed the feed from your video hosting partner. 

Then we hook it all up for you.

You can sell across your main website (side-by-side with live performance events) or through CogPlayer.

Because we’re using your normal purchase path (through iframes) your customers feel comfortable and you can encourage donations and cross-selling in the usual way.

The payments and transaction data are all handled in the usual way through Spektrix.

We charge for the set-up plus a flat monthly fee, with no ongoing obligations.

There are no per-user or per-play charges.

You can use it "out of the box," add your logo, change colors and fill it with your images, events and personality.

We currently have clients across England, Scotland and North America, using CogPlayer in all sorts of imaginative ways.

And if you want to push it even further with specialized customization then we’re always excited to chat about the possibilities.

For links, examples, guidance, detailed pricing and contact details, visit our website: CogPlayer.com

 

Michael Smith is Founding Director of Cog Design, London

For further information on how Spektrix us supporting users with video, view our growing collection of Online Content blogs.