10 thoughts on “BrightCove, the new IP Video platform”

  1. Hey, Om. A few comments about Jeremy’s new service (never met the guy, but I’ll get familiar nonetheless)… It is exactly the right approach to the market. I have followed all of these companies, but it seems clear that taking an open standards approach to the market is the way to go. A few issues, however…

    1. TiVo and Akimbo are different in their approach and you appear to lump them together. Akimbo is specifically aggregating content with the eventual goal of providing this content to any networked device. They have already partnered with MS to provide Akimbo licensed content to MCE 2005 boxes and there are rumors of a cable deal in the works. TiVo’s strategy keeps the device much more central to its future (whether this is good or bad is up for debate.) In other words, TiVo’s platform is a hardware/software combo like Apple, whereas Akimbo is evolving into more of a pure software platform like Amazon. This will put Akimbo on a much tighter course with Brightcove.

    2. I think you probably misunderstood Jeremy (or he didn’t explain himself well, probably both) when you said that this was a service (or “proprietary clientâ€? as you called it) that was actually going to run on all of these devices. Unless Jeremy is crazy (which I don’t think he is), he’s just going to provide a Web application and allow content to be remotely loaded on devices that support open standards. The device itself will handle the UI, it’ll just read the meta-data supplied by Brightcove, display it in its own format, and decode whatever file you select. (He seems to allude to this when he says that he doesn’t need distribution relationships). As a result, he also shouldn’t need to structure relationships with all the different manufacturers. Standards will evolve and manufacturers will either comply with them or be slowly pushed out of the market.

    Now I’m not saying this will be supported on every device on Day 1 or even Day 100 (Cable/Sat/Telco boxes will be conspicuously absent), but over time pressure will build on these networks and the CE guys to open up to the outside world as open devices will give consumers greater value for their dollar. As for the cab/sat/telco guys specifically, centralized control is born out of the inherent interest in keeping their network closed (ie high-margin), but new broadband delivery methods with lower cost structures will eventually force their hands. This is all inescapable, albeit time consuming.

    Bottom line, Jeremy will be working with PCs and TiVos and jerry rigged PDAs for a little while, but there are enough consumers there to make the model profitable if you keep your costs in check and wait out the incumbents (It’s just going to be a bit of a wait I’m afraid).

    3. I agree with your sentiment about the PC/active-TV/passive issue. (Although a lot more people have started to watch TV/video on PCs due to Bittorrent, but this is a different issue). The fact is people like to kick back and watch stuff when in front of the TV. They don’t want to go searching the universe for something interesting. (It’s the same reason why interactive TV will not get beyond voting for the next American Idol, it’s just too much of a pain in the ass. If I wanted to interact with my TV, I’d boot up my Xbox.) Anyway, the point is that the TV model will work the same way as the iPod/iTunes model. Find stuff you want on your PC, schedule it to be downloaded/recorded on the device of your choosing (TV, laptop, cell phone, PSP, etc.), and select those programs from a list on the device when you’re ready to veg. The PC was made to search through reams of information quickly and efficiently (and IPTV will be reams of information pretty quickly). The TV was not.

    4. Conversely to my argument that open standards are the way to go in this market, open standards actually make this a tougher nut to crack for a company like Brightcove in the long-term. This whole market is the natural evolution from Blogging (democratization of text) to Podcasting (democratization of audio) to Videocasting (democratization of video). The only problem is, the consumption device and network is pretty open in the first two cases, and less so in the third. (But video is oh soo juicy it’s tough to pass up). This potentially forces Brightcove (and other yet to be announced competitors) to find access to these “closed” devices through intermediaries that comply with open standards (such as Media RSS).

    Let’s take 2Wire as an example. 2Wire is rolling out these slick Dish/SBC devices for “triple playâ€? (voice, video, data) access. They’re going to provide access for niche video content that conforms to Media RSS standards. But who is going to be officially sanctioned to supply these standardized feeds? Yahoo! Terry Semel knows that if they can be the super aggregator of this content and they have the scale to develop these (potentially exclusive) relationships with all the major “closed” distribution networks, they win, and I mean big time. They’ve already got 80 guys working on it. (BTW, Google’s not paying enough attention here.)

    If Yahoo! becomes a de facto super-aggregator of all this distributed video content and they can merge it with mass market content (end-to-end tail which is important to keep customer acquisition costs down) they can add some publishing/billing/DRM tools as well. Then Brightcove is forced to serve these devices through the Yahoo! intermediary which will make consumers ask, “Why am I taking the extra step of using Brightcove and Yahoo! when I can just use Yahoo! for everything?â€? Brightcove then has to just outgun Yahoo!’s R&D group before the networks are forced to open up. Not an enviable task; not impossible, just not a lot of fun.

    Jeremy is indeed heading in the right direction, but like all pioneers, he better watch for those arrows in the back.

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  6. Well, I’ve been waiting for months to see what Brightcove had to offer. I thought I had a chance to be amazed by their product when I found out that http://www.strandvenice.com was using their service.

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t watch anything because the player failed to connect… Good start Mr Allaire!

    Fortunately, other people were able to watch the trailer. One comment on the BRIGHTCOVE PLAYER (taken from the forum at http://www.strandvenice.com ):

    “After reading the story about your project in today’s NYT, I clicked on the pilot episode…and was very disappointed in the visual quality of the Flash technology from Brightcove….colors were garish and the size of the image could not be enlarged or switched to full screen mode… ”

    That’s what I thought at the first place. Allaire is just spending money on press releases, feeding his ego. Brightcove is empty.

    Also, I think it’s a major concern for the content providers to have their stuff downloaded to the viewer’s machine, and a pain for the viewer too. Downloading before watching?? Like Movielink? No way!

    Why am I so tough with Allaire and his so-called product? Because I can’t stand people who talk and talk and do not deliver. I hate people with strong egos, who believe they are important because they have money.

    Now, here is the future: Vividas and NubaTV. AMAZING quality and no downloads required. Two different technologies and two different business models but both have a BRIGHT… FUTURE.

    The future is online..

    – Florine

  7. anyone know of a solution like Brightcove but that is self contained, I don’t need all the hosting, just a costomizable player with playlist and basic CMS/ user profile functions.


  8. Talk to the people at Roo Group, Roo Media. We have seen their player in operation and the customizable features are a good fit for most publishers.
    Very decent content as well.

  9. Also worth trying Perform Group (formerly Premium TV) – the guys behind ITV Champions League live streaming and Virgin’s V-Player on Times, Sun, Telegraph etc.

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