Looking to attract smaller and mid-size video publishers, Comcast's thePlatform is offering bandwidth and storage services at prenegotiated rates via partners that include EdgeCast Networks and Amazon.
The goal is to cut the total cost of operating an Internet video service for sites that serve less than 1 million views per month, said Marty Roberts, vice president of marketing for thePlatform.
Delivery services -- through a content-delivery network like Akamai Technologies or Limelight Networks -- account for between 75% and 83% of a video site's operating costs, according to Roberts.
Pricing from CDNs for lower-volume sites is between 40 and 50 cents per Gigabyte delivered, according to recent estimates from CDNPricing.com. Through a deal with EdgeCast, thePlatform is offering customers a rate of 35 cents per GB delivered. "We're aggregating our customers' position in the market to get volume pricing," Roberts said.
On media storage, which Roberts estimated is around 5% of the total operating expenses of an Internet video site, thePlatform is offering reduced per-GB hosting through providers such as Amazon, Rackspace and Nirvanix.
In addition, thePlatform is offering customers 10% off the services of select partners, including Panache, BlackArrow, TubeMogul, LiveRail, ScanScout, Gloto and Visible Measures.
"Last year, we did a bulk-relationship approach," Roberts said. "Now we're picking the winners... and focusing on tighter integration with those partners."
Internet video continues to soar in popularity: In December, U.S. Internet users watched a record 14.3 billion online videos, up 41% compared with 10.1 billion in the same period a year earlier, according to Internet audience-measurement firm comScore.
ThePlatform's customers include parent company Comcast, Starz Entertainment, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, CNBC, CBS College Sports Network, Gannett and the Associated Press.
In aggregate, thePlatform's customers that are tracked by comScore generated 440 million video views in December, or about 3% of the total for the month. (ThePlatform says not all its clients are tracked by comScore.) That would put it at No. 3 in comScore's Top 10, behind Google/YouTube and Fox Interactive Media.
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