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Comcast Unifies Broadcast, Digital Video Distribution Platform

Comcast Wholesale and thePlatform, the online video publishing firm Comcast acquired in 2006, used this week’s NAB show to unveil theVideoPlatform, billing it as a unified system for the distribution of broadcast and digital video to multiple screens that will put in on stronger competitve footing with the likes of MLB Advanced Media and Verizon Digital Media Services (VDMS).

Comcast Platform Services said theVideoPlatform is underpinned by its media infrastructure and mpx, which has long been thePlatform’s flagship online video publishing product. The new, unified product also comes about six months after former co-CEO Marty Roberts left thePlatform and the unit was aligned under Matt McConnell, SVP and GM of Colorado-based  Comcast Wholesale.

Targeted at broadcasters, other MSOs, programmers and digital media publishers, the integrated product mix will handle elements such as video management, publication, distribution and monetization, Comcast said.

Free Speech TV (FSTV), an independent non-profit news network with 40 million subscribers,  recently tapped  theVideoPlatform for its linear and online content distribution.

The debut of theVideoPlatform represents a “broadening” of Comcast’s video distribution capabilities and how the company views the market, Barry Tishgart, vice president of Comcast Wholesale, said.

He said a more unified, preintgrated approach with respect to transcoding, content delivery networks and live linear streaming is also desired by programmers, media companies and OTT players.

“A lot of customers in this space are suffering from a bit of vendor fatigue,” he said. “There are so many different components to an online video solution that customers don’t necessarily want to do the shopping amongst different vendors and integrating the solution themselves.”

With theVideoPlatform, Comcast also aims to bring to bear a strong competitor to rival platforms/services such as MLBAM and VDMS. That market is also flush with competitors that provide elements of multiscreen video distribution such as Akamai, Amazon Web Services, IBM (which recently bought Clearleap and Ustream), NeuLion, and Ericsson, which this week introduced MediaFirst Video Processing, a service that is partially built on technology that Ericsson obtained via its aquisition of Envivio.

Though theVideoPlatform is targeted to traditional media players as well as pure OTT opportunities, “the biggest demand we see today is solving for big picture business opportunities for programmers, and we're actively pursuing that space,” Tishgart said.