There's been a lot of blogsphere chatter and discussion about what we are up to, including a discussion on the types of content and creators that we're focused on, the kind of value we're trying to provide, and how it compares/competes with the likes of YouTube. As is often the case, people are readying surface-level news stories and quickly drawing conclusions without really looking into what's happening or being offered, so I thought I'd clarify a few things. Also, if you haven't checked out our multimedia online blogger briefing, carve out 20-30 minutes to have a watch/listen, as I can't do justice to all of these issues here.
Misconception #1 - "With the launch of the Brightcove Network, Brightcove is now focused on consumers and amateurs trying to make money from their videos."
This defiantly mis-represents what we're up to -- the Brightcove Network offer is largely focused on professional creators of video media. I think there is a related misunderstanding in the online community that there is basically two worlds -- 'big media' and 'consumer publishers'. It's actually a lot more nuance. When you look at the world of television distribution today, it is dominated by cable and satellite TV networks (there are now hundreds of these) who package video into channels and distribute them (mostly) as broadcast channels. Each of these channel providers is clearly someone who can and should take their programming to the Internet, and we're helping many of the largest and most interesting companies in this space do that. However, when in the 1990s digital cable and digital satellite helped opened up distribution for more content , this was also accompanied by a lowering in the costs of production for video.
Most of the channels publishing in these platforms are largely 'packagers' and 'licensors' of video, rather than creating it themselves. The largest 'networks' such as ABC, NBC, etc. don't produce much of their own content, instead they license and syndicate it from production companies (many of the shows on these channels are produced by the television production groups within major Studios). The vast majority of channels source their content from independent production companies who's business is to produce shows, not package and market them. As a result of the growth in 'spectrum' in cable and satellite, there are now tens of thousands of commercial television production companies in the US who create millions of hours of content each year.
What is happening with Internet TV is that the same forces that drove greater 'spectrum' in cable/satellite is happening at an even faster pace on the Internet where effectively 'unlimited spectrum' exists, and where distribution costs are approaching zero (with the Brightcove Network, the costs are zero to publishers). As a result, we are seeing even greater opportunities for fragmentation, and the result is that those tens of thousands of production companies (who's lifeblood is creating great, professional commercial video media) now have the opportunity to cost-effectively launch their own direct-to-internet media businesses -- either creating their own micro-content focused channels, or leveraging syndication models (such as the Brightcove Syndication Marketplace) to distribute through other 'packagers/programmers', who might be existing media companies or websites seeking to help distribute video content.
So, to make it clear, the Brightcove Network offer (free, unlimited distribution and use of Brightcove Platform + access to distribution and monetization mechanisms) is centered on enabling commercial and professional media creators to build direct-to-Internet programming businesses.
Yes, given that the Brightcove Network service is free and self-service, we do expect a class of 'prosumers' ("professional consumers") to emerge who embrace the Brightcove Network because of the richness of the platform and distribution options, but we are largely focused on commercial creators. The tens of thousands of production companies in the US (and many, many more internationally) provide a good foundation for launching the Internet TV revolution, and we are also confident that open platforms and marketplaces such as Brightcove combined with the democratization of video production itself will yield tens of thousands of new 'broadband media' production companies and startups.
Here are some great examples of these types of producers at work in our system today:
- Barrio 305. Latin/urban focused lifestyle content.
- Momme TV. A channel for parenting and mothers.
- Shipwreck Central. A channel for dive enthusiasts.
- Young Hollywood. News and gossip from the LA and Hollywood scene.
- Kidz Bop. Great teen/tween oriented children's programming.
What's notable about all of these producers is that they are just that -- professional producers who are going outside the traditional methods of licensing/distribution via TV networks and instead building micro-channels on the Internet, and tapping free distribution and new revenue sources that are only made possible by systems like Brightcove.
>Misconception #2 -- "With the launch of Brightcove.com, Brightcove is trying to create yet another video sharing site where people can publish and share media."
First and foremost, like with the Brightcove Network offer, our mission is to help media creators of all sizes build distribution and revenue with Internet TV. We envision Brightcove.com as a more commercially focused environment for producers and major media companies. Hence, on our site you'll find large numbers of quality channels from independent broadband programmers, as well as dozens of channels from household names in media across cable, music, news and opinion, etc.
Secondly, it's really important to understand that our distribution approach is not built on the idea that all consumers will discover and experience their video media at Brightcove.com. Rather, we've created an open distribution approach that assumes that consumers will discover, find and watch video throughout the Web. We believe in the hub-and-spoke model that has made the Internet so successful -- and it's crucial to creating an Internet TV platform that can achieve Web-like scale.
In our model, we respect the fact that creators of media want to protect and build their brand, and develop direct relationships to consumers, in addition to accessing distribution through both aggregated and fragmented nodes on the Web. When a publisher joins the Brightcove Network, they are given an incredibly powerful and flexible toolset to create their own channels and experiences and distribute them broadly on the Web. So, if we take a few of the examples above, which can be found as channels on Brightcove.com, take a look at what they've done using our service within their own 'spoke' websites (all without writing a single line of code):
And, those that are focused on taking it even further and creating their own highly unique interactive video experiences, they can take our Open API's and use HTML and Flash to build unique applications on our service. Here are a couple of fun examples of custom experiences built on our API's:
- Fangoria TV -- TV for the fans of thrillers and horror genre.
- LX.TV -- luxury lifestyle television for the affluent of LA and New York
Our distribution approach also enables content owners to match their content to micro-audiences throughout the Web, starting with consumers who 'virally syndicate' clips into blogs and personal websites, but growing into networks of Web-based affiliates who act as distributors for these unique packages of content, helping to build brand, distribution and revenue.
For example, this niche channel (GoSwim.tv) focused on swimming, will find reach and distribution by enabling their channel to be distributed throughout swimming related sites on the Web (every sports, swim team, coaching, and other site).
Here's their channel being distributed by a Swim Club website. If you'd like to become a distributor, you can join their affiliate network in our syndication marketplace.
Again, Brightcove is about helping creators and media owners build distribution throughout the Web.
Misconception #3 -- "Brightcove's focus on professional and mainstream media misses the power and energy behind consumer generated video that is driving so much video usage today."
Well, we defiantly don't agree with this. As the market will see in the very near future, we've constructed a model that deeply embraces consumer generated video, but we have clearly and cleanly conceptualized this as a separate and distinct activity from building commercial video media businesses. Our belief is that there are three major use cases for consumer generated video:
- Consumers who just want to publish and share their own personal media -- life experiences, family, travel, etc.
- Consumers who want to publish and share video as part of a community of interest or topic, and who are focused on exhibition of their content but not making money.
- Consumers who envision themselves as creating their own home grown entertainment and are seeking to distribute content that could itself become a cottage-business.
We've got an answer for all of these, and will be providing a lot more detail in coming weeks. Suffice to say, we want to empower every consumer on the planet with the ability to easily publish and share personal media, participate in broader communities of interest and branded programming outlets, and to become producers outright. On this last item, joining the Brightcove Network provides those creators with just such an opportunity. On the first two, I'd encourage you to explore this link to our offer to create Personal Channels, and this link for an example of our upcoming consumer generated video system for publishers of channels in Brightcove.
It's obviously an incredibly exciting time in the development of television on the Internet, and we look forward to an active dialog with the industry as we explore these many options and opportunities for consumers and creators alike.