Online Video Platform Test Drive – Brightcove
Since my first job as a New Media Producer in 1999, I have done boatloads of reading about online audio and video, particularly in the webcasting space, and watched companies surface and sink in the process. I still work for a company with the leading Corporate Communications and Investor Relations webcast business around the globe, though I haven’t done a competitive analysis to really dig deep under the skin of the latest providers and search for facts…until now. We have our own OVP just newly released, so its important to really understand the landscape and who we’re up against. This blog entry is the first of several to document my findings and experiences along the way while I write my competitive analysis, to achieve 20/20 vision over the webcasting and multimedia landscape. For starters, we’ll narrow the scope and start with Online Video Providers (OVP), which are the hottest trend going right now in the multimedia space for self-service editing, hosting, and broadcasting content over the web.
The first OVP to come to mind is Brightcove, who is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I started a 30-day free trial that took about 5 minutes (no credit card or payment necessary) and I was immediately presented with their studio workspace. The offering is a Software as a Service (SaaS) Online Video Platform (OVP) solution for customization and editing. Brightcove offers an API, and SDK for iOS Development. They recently teamed up with Ektron to simplify Enterprise level publishing for Content Management.
I must say their tools are very simple and allow you to publish video in under 5 minutes (if you want to ignore the details). I ran into a problem uploading video from my desktop, but thankfully I had the Brightcove app installed on my iPhone and uploaded the same 20MB video in under 10 seconds over WiFi. A “Quick Video Publish” option provides the publishing code for 1) a web site 2) a blog 3) a shortened URL (ex. Twitter or Facebook posts). Below is a short walkthrough under 5 minutes that shows how I published a clip using the Brightcove Studio and embedded player.
From the time I started filling out trial form to publishing the video on this site, the end-to-end time was under 10 minutes. The handsome results are below:
Since this video is uploaded to a workspace with a 30-day trial, the content in the player will certainly expire. Consider this face a limited edition so get a look while you can!
It is hard not to be impressed with what Brightcove has to offer, even if it is a free trial. The layout and color schemes are very easy on the eyes and rich. Nearly all of the plumbing is available in the free trial, with the exception of the advertising module (imagine the $$ I could make in thirty days…probably $0.30), scheduling video requires a paid account, and unfortunately the Analytics reporting wasn’t registering the repeated hits to my published video. The analytics could be user error so don’t hold that against the vendor. Perhaps the reporting takes a couple of hours, or what would be even more impressive – Brightcove knows my IP address and filters it out. If anyone from Brightcove is reading this, perhaps he/she can answer that.
Finally, I couldn’t tell if the 30 day trial includes H.264 playback for iOS devices, which do not support Adobe Flash. I will publish the site and then report the findings from my iPad and iPhone. All in all, I expected something much more complicated than it was. It is an inspiring platform and hopefully Brightcove will remain profitable to continue the good work they’re doing.