Web video specialist Brightcove has announced the latest generation of its online video platform, Brightcove 4, which has new features including higher-quality video encoding, compatibility with Apple's popular iPhone, and live streaming capability. The Cambridge, Mass.-based firm is also offering a low-priced entry level version, Brightcove Express, which is targeted at small companies just entering the online video arena.
Brightcove 4 aims to improve the end product to consumers with both "custom cloud encoding" that allows content to be encoded in a variety of bit rates and formats to optimize the presentation for different broadband speeds and a range of devices, including PCs, mobile handsets and connected TVs; and multi-bitrate or adaptive streaming, which varies the delivered bit-rate dynamically to optimize the available bandwidth in an individual broadband connection. The new platform also supports live streaming, which wasn't previously offered by Brightcove, with the ability to intermix live streaming with on-demand content within the same Brightcove players.
"The way we implement live, it looks just like an on-demand asset," says Brightcove Chairman and CEO Jeremy Allaire.
Brightcove4 also includes a Brightcove Player and Software Development Kit (SDK) for the iPhone, enabling Brightcove customers to deliver video and applications to the Apple handset. The new platform also has advanced monetization capabilities, including access to new advertising networks and servers from Google, Yahoo, FreeWheel and OpenX and support for the Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) standard; enhanced analytics; social sharing tools to support sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter; and new media sharing capabilities for large organizations to quickly share video across divisions, affiliates and with other partners.
As the use of online video had expanded beyond media and entertainment companies into the general business marketplace, Brightcove has grown with it, diversifying its customer base with government, health care and retail clients, which now account for about 30% of its overall business. Founded in 2004, Brightcove has raised some $91 million to date, and maintains offices across North America, Europe and Asia. According to Allaire, it now has some 800 customers in 30 countries, and processes six to eight billion server transactions each month from data centers in Boston, Chicago and Ireland.
"Over the last year we've seen our business heavily diversify," says Allaire. "Now we're seeing brands directly getting into online video as well. There are companies investing in video marketing as part of their overall marketing mix, not just buying ads."
With that trend in mind, Brightcove has developed a new low-cost product aimed at the entry-level end of the online video market, Brightcove Express. It includes the essential tools for breaking into online video at pricing that starts at $99 per month with no annual contract, and provides integration with Internet advertising networks; integration with the free Google Analytics package; and Content Management System (CMS) integrations with popular entry-level and open source CMS solutions such as WordPress, TypePad, Drupal, Joomla and Ektron.
The $99 starting price for Brightcove Express covers one user delivering up to 50 videos and using 40 gigabytes of bandwidth. Additional pricing tiers of $199 and $499 allow more bandwidth and more users until customers have to step up to Brightcove's professional or enterprise versions.
"We look at this similarly to how salesforce.com built a giant business, by allowing you to scale from a $99 to a seven-figure investment," says Allaire.
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