Health and fitness, like every industry, has seen a significant digital transformation in recent years, with the rise of online fitness and wellness platforms, virtual therapeutic and training sessions, and on-demand workout videos. As video is the most widely engaged media type, it has become crucial in helping companies reach a wider audience, connect with users, and deliver an immersive and engaging experience. However, to ensure they consistently provide the best experience to their users, it depends solely on the streaming workflow they are utilizing. In this blog, I will go into the top 5 essential pieces every platform should use across their streaming workflow and why they are important for quality, retention, and ROI.
Maintaining your video library
When it comes to maintaining video content and having it easily accessible for your team, cloud-based hosting environments are key. They provide your team with a secure environment to house your proprietary video and access the content from anywhere in the world as long as they have access to the internet. Cloud environments eliminate the need for on-premises infrastructure, reducing operation and maintenance costs and increasing scalability as your content library grows. Additionally, depending on your hosting and content management platform, it can be directly integrated with an encoding solution that makes your content quickly available in multiple qualities for streaming over the internet.
The Bitmovin Streams solution enables health and fitness platforms to easily upload and host their health and wellness video content. That content is then encoded to Per-Title presets or customized video qualities and made available to embed directly on your website or application. The entire process is manageable through the UI dashboard and API, making it easy to use.
The Bitmovin Streams Workflow
Per-title Video Encoding
As I mentioned before, encoding video content is necessary for streaming over the internet. It prepares the video in the set codec (H.264, H.265/HEVC, VP9, and AV1) and quality (SD, HD, 4K, and 8K) of your choice to ensure compatibility with devices that support video playback. However, encoding can be costly and time-intensive, and depending on how many files you have and the variations of those files you want, it can require a lot of storage. It can also increase streaming costs due to the higher bitrates the traditional encoding process implements. This is where Per-Title comes into play.
Instead of traditional encoding, Per-Title encoding optimizes the encoding settings for each individual video, resulting in superior video quality and reduced file sizes. This matters for industries like fitness and health, as it enables them to save dramatically on storage and CDN delivery costs, as showcased in our case study with Thrive360. It does this by minimizing the storage space needed for each resolution through optimized compression and lowering bitrates for playback while enabling viewers to see a higher-quality video. These benefits are especially true at Bitmovin, where our proprietary Per-Title algorithm can help reduce costs by up to 90%, depending on the content being streamed. Furthermore, with Bitmovin’s VOD Encoder, the turnaround time from encoding content to making it available to be streamed is lightning-fast, meaning you and your users won’t wait.
Event-based Live encoding
For health and fitness platforms that offer live streaming of workouts, classes, and wellness events, event-based live encoding is necessary. It enables these platforms to deliver real-time fitness experiences to their users, cultivating engagement, interactivity, and either a personalized one-on-one lesson or a sense of community. When streaming live, reliability and resilience are essential, which is why having a stable connection and utilizing a trustworthy open-source software or commercial hardware contribution encoder make the difference.
Once your live source is connected to the software or hardware of your choice and is generating the encoded content in a supported protocol (RTMP, RTMPS, SRT, etc.), a live encoder and packager, such as the Bitmovin Live Event Encoder solution, is then needed to make the content available for playback over the internet. Bitmovin’s Live Event Encoder makes it possible for you to input your live content and output multiple renditions, ensuring your content is available to be streamed across any device.
Want more insight on live streaming? Check out our latest blog on the 20 best live streaming encoders.
The Bitmovin Live Encoding Workflow
Adaptive bitrate (ABR) streaming and a Custom Player Experience
The video player is the next important piece of the puzzle, as it is how users engage with and experience your brand. Having a player that causes a bad viewing experience (long load times, buffering, etc.) or doesn’t support devices users want to stream content on can cause users to cut ties, which is why the video player is vital. To provide a consistent viewing experience, video players must be able to detect available bandwidth and adapt the bitrate being streamed to ensure users can stream even in low bandwidth environments. This helps users avoid experiencing buffering issues and maintains customer satisfaction as the video continues to play, even at a lower quality, without a drop in the stream flow.
Another major factor for the player is providing a unique experience when streaming. Specifically for health and fitness, having a player with a custom overlay showcasing information about the user’s progress while streaming provides an interactive experience. An example of this can be seen below with Bitmovin’s Video Player. Our robust Player solution gives health and fitness platforms the ability to customize the player skin for users, along with the ability to integrate and enable over 32 other modules such as DRM, ABR, advertising, and more that improve and benefit the streaming experience. Additionally, it is built to allow for the best viewing experience possible, meaning it will detect and adapt to the user’s available bandwidth by providing the highest quality rendition available for them to view.
CycleMasters Player skin with Bitmovin. See more in our case study with them.
Quality and Audience Metrics for Video Analytics
The user experience on health and fitness platforms is critical, and quality of experience (QoE) is a part of how that is measured. Many factors affect QoE, such as the application users will access when engaging with your content and the viewing experience that users will have after requesting the content they want to stream. Regarding the streaming portion, accessing metrics that track player performance, video quality, and audience analytics is vital, as it will empower you to understand how your users are experiencing your content. Having the right analytics can make or break your platform, which is why Bitmovin’s Video Analytics is key to helping you analyze your user base and even get as granular as a single user session, giving you a complete picture of how they viewed your content.
Summing it up
Ensuring a high-quality experience in the health and fitness industry is crucial, as it directly impacts your user engagement and keeps your users coming back for more. Each component, including video hosting, encoding, the player, and analytics, is essential and can impact user retention and the overall cost of your streaming workflow, depending on implementation. The right partner matters dramatically, as they can help set you up for success, and that’s precisely what our solutions bring to the table.
If you’re in need of solutions and tools that will take your health and fitness platform to the next level, sign-up for a free 30-day Bitmovin trial today!