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Brightcove 3 - A milestone in online video

Today, we formally announced and introduced Brightcove 3, a major new release of our online video platform.

It was about three years ago that we launched the first beta of our online video platform. At the time, there were few media companies using online video in a serious way, and our industry category (Online Video Platform, SaaS platforms for publishing, distributing and monetizing video) didn’t even exist.

In those few short years an enormous amount has happened. As a company, we’ve grown from a couple of dozen people to over 160 people. We’ve signed on hundreds of major brands in media who use Brightcove to operate their online video business, and hundreds of smaller companies and organizations using Brightcove. Our platform now reaches over 135M unique viewers every month. From this vantage point, we’ve learned an incredible amount about the challenges and opportunities facing companies investing in online video.

We’ve also seen online video expanding its horizons well beyond the media industry and into nearly every corner of the professional Web, as corporations, governments, non-profits and educational institutions look to use video as a cornerstone of how they communicate, market and inform on the Web.

Over the past year, we’ve tried to take all of that learning and shape it into our next-generation platform, Brightcove 3.

So what’s new and exciting in Brightcove 3? Best bet is to explore our new website and the product sections for a lot more detail, but below is quick summary of some of the things we’re launching.

Brightcove Editions

Before delving into platform enhancements, I wanted to highlight one of the very exciting new developments for Brightcove, which is the introduction of new tiered editions for the service. With explosive growth in online video, we’re seeing a very wide range of customers emerge who want to use a service like this, from small businesses and non-profits, medium to large corporations and media companies, to global enterprises and conglomerates.

With Brightcove 3, we now have three editions – Basic, Pro and Enterprise – that have been designed to meet the varying needs of different organizations. Brightcove 3 Basic will be the first time we’ve offered a lower cost edition of the service, which we hope will help bring great video experiences to every professional website in the world.

Revamped applications and user experience.

We’ve completely redesigned and built the Brightcove Console into a new suite of application modules dubbed the Brightcove Studio. This collection of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) provide a dramatically faster, easier to use and more powerful set of UIs for managing online video sites and operations. We’ve tried to accomplish a few things with this, including a much clearer separation of the workflow and roles involved in a site, with dedicated tools and interfaces for production, editorial/programming, design, development and business analysts. We’ve also tried to create an interface that is enjoyable to work in, and can scale from the smallest operations to a giant companies with hundreds of sites and properties.

New player architecture and framework.

We’ve completely re-built our player architecture. As part of this, there are some amazing improvements, including:

  • Much faster and higher performance.
  • A new XML-based, extensible framework for custom player and template creation dubbed BEML (Brightcove Experience Markup Language). With BEML, even an HTML designer can rapidly author new video experiences and re-use them across their site.
  • Player Plug-Ins. We’ve opened up our player architecture for developers and third-parties to easily author plug-ins that add new functionality to their online video applications.
  • Localization ready with player UIs available in most European languages and Japanese, and support for any language.

Contextual video publishing.

The first generation of online video was often about creating video ‘channels’ and sections of a website. Going forward, online video will be a lot more about context, and integrating video deeply throughout websites. To accomplish this, we’re introducing a new suite of developer APIs – the Brightcove Media APIs – that will allow a web developer to easily and dynamically integrate video throughout a site, increase SEO results on video, deepen user engagement around video, and overall make video a more intrinsic form of content on the Web.

High-quality video.

While we have always prided ourselves on providing a viewing experience that was high-quality (especially compared to UGC video sites), the bar is continually being raised as end-users want to watch more content, in higher quality and for longer periods of time. With Brightcove 3, we’re introducing a feature called Dynamic Delivery, which enables a publisher of content to easily offer their content in gorgeous, up to HD quality. We automatically handle ingesting and transcoding high-quality source material into multiple renditions of Flash Video or h.264 video, and then at playback time optimize the video stream on the fly based on the users network connection speed and player window size – e.g. a fast connection with full-screen viewing can now readily see long-from, up to HD quality with uninterrupted streams. This all works in Flash Player without the need for additional downloads or plug-ins.

Open ecosystem / developers.

Across everything we’re doing in Brightcove 3, we have looked to open up our platform to developers and 3rd parties. We’ve introduced a new suite of client or player APIs with full SDKs for Flash and JavaScript developers. We’ve launched a new XML format for video experience creation. We’ve also introduced the new Media APIs, which provide an XML/REST API into the Brightcove back-end services for reading, writing and ingesting into our service. We’ve also introduced standard integration APIs for key systems such as advertising and analytics. There are dozens of third party companies building on these hooks, and we’ll have a lot more to say about that in the near future.

There are loads of other goodies in Brightcove 3 as well, including a new set of video analytics tools as well as automated connections into existing website analysis systems.

On the advertising front, we’ve revamped our advertising system to support the new IAB Digital Video 2.0 standards, and added a new ‘connector’ model that allows Brightcove to work with nearly every major ad serving platform, and a wide range of 3rd party video ad networks that can bring monetization to video publishers.

We’ve also enhanced our approach to syndication and video distribution, introducing a new API-based syndication model that allows affiliates and distribution partners to integrate a publisher’s content in deep ways into their sties and applications, while still allowing the publisher to retain control over the advertising associated with their content.

Brightcove 3 is the result of a huge amount of work and is a milestone for Brightcove and also we think for the online video industry. We look forward to your feedback!