The Brightcove Network Launch

Back in the spring of 2004, a couple of us dreamed up the future of television.  We dreamt of an open model for TV, fashioned on the architecture of the Web.  We saw a world where there were no gatekeepers, but rather a web-like distribution network that could create a marketplace for video distribution.  In this new world of video and rich media colliding with the Internet, we envisioned that content creators and media owners would be in control -- that they could directly reach consumers, and could tap the incredible power of the web to match their content to a global, fragmented audience that was incessantly clicking from site to site, from search to search.  We thought, how could we help enable and organize this imminent chaos?  A lot of existing models and ideas inspired us, including eBay for it's open, self-service and democratized commerce platform, Google for it's ability to organize chaos, and create value through every node of every website on the Internet, and even Comcast and DirectTV, who in their own way have created expanding distribution networks that have contributed to the fragmentation of TV that is underway, while providing platforms that content owners could rely on to reach consumers.

Hence was born Video Marketplace, Inc., or as 'Vidmark', which became our stealth name until the spring of 2005 when we were re-born and launched as Brightcove.  During the summer and fall of 2005 we prepared and launched an early beta of our online service, gathering deep input from creators and media owners of all sizes.  Late in the summer of 2005, we made a critical decision - rather than launch with a focus on consumers as publishers, we would first focus on creating a platform and a model that worked for rights-holders, media owners and professional creators.  We needed their buy in and wanted to ensure that as we expanded and launched our distribution platform that we would have created something they would embrace, not fear or loath.

The result of that 'first wave' of Brightcove has been tremendous -- we now count dozens of broadcast cable channels, major music labels, movie studios, and major news and magazine companies as our partners in launching broadband channels.  Through our 'open preview' over the past few months, too, we have brought in thousands of independent and emerging media programmers who are publishing some of the most exciting, diverse and rich Internet TV content.

Today, we're launching the next wave, which for us is really just fulfilling the vision we outlined back in the spring of 2004 - to launch an open distribution network and marketplace for Internet TV.  We're rolling out a lot of new things today, anchored in our announcement of the general availability of the Brightcove Network service, and supported by the introduction of five (5) new services that support it.

What is the Brightcove Network offer?

In short, anyone in the world can now launch an Internet TV channel and business in a self-service manner and at no cost, while also having access to new avenues of distribution and revenue.  It includes:

  • Free and unlimited use of the Brightcove service, including hosting, publishing and serving as much content as you like.  The service has been battle-tested by many of the largest media companies in the world, but has been designed to work even for an individual trying to establish a business with their content.
  • The ability to distribute this content through rich, branded broadband channel experiences (we have tons of templates you can customize, or use our just launched Open API's for JavaScript and Flash to create your own channel experiences) on your own website easily.
  • Revenue generation through Brightcove AdNet, our broadband advertising network, also launched today.  Your content and channels will automatically get rich media advertising integrated with a wide range of formats designed to entice and engage consumers and generate revenue for publishers -- we're sharing 50% of the ad revenue with publishers in the network.  Media owners that want to sell their own advertising can use the Brightcove Platform to operate and distribute their channels with us, and pay simple usage fees, while still benefiting from the powerful advertising technologies in our service.
  • Revenue generation through Pay Media sales, also launched today.  Brightcove's Pay Media system is more like eBay than Apple or Amazon -- the content owner, not the retailer, sets the price, and the content owner can also package and distribute this media through their own channels and digital media stores on their own sites.  Brightcove acts as the retail platform, handling all transactions, support, billing and media fulfillment, and shares 70% of the revenue with content owners.
  • The ability to create a managed network of website affiliates who can act as distributors for your content, generated additional audience and reach while also creating new revenue opportunities for your affiliates.  These syndication offers are marketed through our just launched Syndication Marketplace, where any website owner in the world can come and troll through hundreds (and soon thousands) of offers from producers and programmers and request to become affiliates, getting great content and new sources of revenue.
  • Automatic distribution of your channels through, which was re-launched today as a consumer video destination aimed at providing Internet consumers with a great service for discovering, watching, purchasing and participating in Internet TV.  We understand that the site is not (yet) the be-all-end-all of video destinations, but it is the start of something truly great -- we're committed to creating the deepest, richest consumer experience in the world for consuming and creating Internet TV.
  • Optional and automatic distribution of your content through AOL Video, one of the largest online video sites.  If you want to offer your content for purchase, just check a box and the tens of millions of consumers visiting AOL's media properties can find, buy and download your shows.  This is also a 70/30 revenue share with the content owner.

There are a ton of other incredibly existing things that we're also introducing today, including our new PublishPod, a free desktop tool for Macintosh and Windows that allows anyone to easily encode and upload media into our system.  It provides professional level encoding tools to anyone, ensuring high-quality content experiences.  It also handles uploads of very large files -- say, a 3GB WMV HD file you're publishing to sell, or a 2-hour show for streaming distribution.  There are no limits on file size or video length.

We're also introducing a pretty exciting new feature for integrating consumer generated video into your channels, enabling any website, programmer or marketer to easily launch CGM campaigns where consumers can easily submit videos to you, and where those can be easily published into your own channels, players and websites.  We'll have a lot more to talk about on this front in the near future, so stay tuned.

We also launched our Open API's -- these programming interfaces and libraries are now available and will allow any web developer in the world to create exciting new applications on top of our platform using HTML/JavaScript and Flash.  Concurrent with this is the launch of our developer community site.

There's obviously a lot going on here, and there's a ton of material on our website to help you get your head wrapped around it all.  If you're a blogger interested in learning and writing about this, I would encourage you to have a listen/watch of our Virtual Blogger and Press Briefing, available in our online briefing center.  You can also find a short, 15 minute demo that takes you through things at a high-level.

In addition to the new consumer site at, you can also dig into two related sites:  our corporate site at, where you'll find in-depth details on the Brightcove Network and Platform offers; and our Studio site at, which is an online community for creators producers, programmers and affiliates working with the Brightcove service -- there you can find all the technical details you'll ever need.

While everything we're doing with and for the nascent Internet TV industry is exciting, it's even more exciting to watch what the media creators are going to do with all of this.  The floodgates are open.  Let a million channels bloom.