Brightcove Pursues Web Video Dollars

Company takes new software platform to broader market

Brightcove has officially launched the latest version of its online video platform, Brightcove 3, after beta-testing it with customers such as Lifetime and Showtime since June.

The new Brightcove software is designed to provide a higher-quality streaming experience through dynamic bitrate adjustment. New software APIs (application programming interfaces) are intended to make it simpler to integrate video with other content, which should generate more traffic for large customers by making video easier to find for search engines like Google or Yahoo.

"The way to monetize online video more effectively is to get video inside the page," says Brightcove Chairman and CEO Jeremy Allaire.

Brightcove 3 also offers new features aimed at small to midsize companies that are seeking to address the rapid growth of Web video. Brightcove 3 includes new media management and publishing tools for streamlining production workflow, and the updated Flash-based video player is designed to be easily customized through templates, which means that a company can achieve a professional look without having an advanced Web developer on staff.

One of the new customers for Brightcove 3 is FEARnet, the on-demand horror network created by Comcast in partnership with Sony Pictures and Lionsgate Entertainment. FEARnet began using the Brightcove software this month to replace a proprietary platform.

Paulo Lemgruber, senior VP, digital for Comcast Emerging Networks, says that Brightcove 3 allows FEARnet to offer a full-screen video player, and that the ability to attach metatags to the video makes it easy for search-engine crawlers to find and index the video.

Brightcove 3 also offers more flexibility for placing advertising around FEARnet content, which consists of movies, original series and behind-the-scenes features, he adds. FEARnet currently offers pre-, mid- and post-rolls and skins, and is also thinking about experimenting with in-video ad windows. "It creates a lot of ad inventory we didn't have before," Lemgruber says.

FEARnet is using the Brightcove player to deliver streaming video at up to 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps) at 720-line-progressive resolution, and has plans to increase the data rate up to 3 Mbps in the future, he adds.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Brightcove, which was founded in 2004, has raised $91 million to date and continues to grow. When looking at its entire customer base of more than 400 companies, Allaire says, its video players are used by 135 million monthly unique users. Europe and Japan have been targeted as key growth markets, and Brightcove announced that it has opened an office in Hamburg, Germany, and hired a new VP, Vanessa Wade, to manage its business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Allaire, a former chief technology officer for Flash creator Macromedia (subsequently acquired by Adobe) who has been working on Internet-based applications for the past 15 years, is still impressed by the rapid growth of Web video in just a few years. "In 2005, there was virtually no online video business, just a few experiments," he says. "Now online video has become a pervasive part of every media company's repertoire."

In trying to take Brightcove's technology mass-market and find new customers in education, government and other industries, the company will be selling Brightcove 3 in three different pricing and packaging options. Basic, which is aimed at small organizations, can get a company started in Web video for "four figures per year," Allaire says. The Pro option, aimed at midsize companies, runs in the "five-figure range," and the large-scale Enterprise starts north of $100,000.