Brightcove Streamlines its Live Streaming Platform

Online video management specialist Brightcove has launched Video Cloud Live, an adaptive bitrate, live streaming module that’s designed to make it easier for its content partners to host and stream live events over the Internet.

Supporting live events is not entirely new to Brightcove, as it has previously cobbled together that capability in more one-off fashion, but the new module and management console will make the process easier and more tightly integrated with the company's analytics tools, Chris Johnston, Brigthcove’s vice president of digital media solutions, said.

Tuesday’s launch, announced at the company’s annual PLAY digital media conference, also marks the integration between Brightcove’s Web publishing platform and Zencoder, a cloud encoding vendor that Brigthcove acquired last summer that brought in customers such as PBS and Scripps Networks Interactive. 

“This is the first time we’ve made [Zencoder] part of our core platform,” Johnston said.

The launch also puts Brightcove in more direct competition with Ustream, Livestream and thePlatform, the Comcast-owned unit that recently announced a string of upgrades that will help its content and service providers partners manage and distribute live events to IP-connected devices.

Brightcove’s newly integrated live video streaming system will lean heavily on the proverbial cloud. Video of the event is captured and encoded on-site (via a hardware- or software-based encoder) in Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) format, then distributed to the cloud-based Zencoder Live Transcoding platform, which slices and packages the primary, high quality stream into a bunch of streaming formats and bitrates for delivery to end devices such as smartphones, PCs, and tablets.

The new module is in beta now, with commercial availability slated for the end of the second quarter or the start of the third quarter. “It’s a Google-quality beta, not a startup-quality beta,” Johnston said. “So, it’s usable. It’s not experimental.”

Brightcove didn’t disclose specific pricing, but the model is based on two factors: the number of streams required and the length of the live event. But the cost of Brightcove’s approach would be a “fraction” of what it would require for partners to buy the hardware on their own to do the same job, Johnston said.

The only announced user of Brightcove’s new Video Cloud Live service is Joyce Meyer Ministries. Recent Brightcove wins include Network Ten, a large  Australian broadcaster that is using Brightcove’s Video Cloud for a catch-up TV service. Weather Channel Interactive is another large customer that recently inked a new, multiyear deal with Brightcove. Bassmaster, an online service with more than 500,000 members, is using the Zencoder to help its base of 500,000 members watch weigh-ins live.

Brightcove ended the first quarter of 2013 with 6,321 customers, up from 4,254 at the end of the year-ago quarter, and posted a non-GAAP loss of $1.2 million on revenues of $24.7 million, up 24% year-over-year.