SublimeVideo’s Cloud-Based HTML5 Player Goes Freemium

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Jilion, the makers of the cloud-based HTML5 video player SublimeVideo, are today making the product more accessible through the introduction of a freemium offering. When the service launched earlier this spring, commercial plans were available, starting at the relatively affordable rate of under $10 per month. But when it comes to user adoption, nothing beats “free.”

For those unfamiliar with the service, SublimeVideo offers a plugin-free Web player that uses HTML5 to display embedded videos publishers want to host online. When a user visits a site using an unsupported browser, the player provides a “fall back to Flash” mode that will play the video using Adobe Flash technology instead.

When it launched commercially in March, the company admitted that it had struggled with its pricing plans, eventually settling on charging by volume as opposed to feature set.

Today, that model has shifted a bit. All users will now have access to SublimeVideo’s new real-time video statistics platform which supports complete usage statistics for all platforms, including desktop, mobile, HTML5 and Flash. However, the level of access to that data will depend on the plan.

The statistics are being made available through an online dashboard that shows a breakdown of video trends by the minute, hour, 24 hours, month and year. The live overview also offers details on all of a website’s videos, not just the per-video stats.

Free users will only have access to these stats for the past 24 hours. On the Plus plan (now up to 200K plays/month), the statistics are retained for a year, while Premium plan (1M plays/month) customers will have access to unlimited data retention.

Meanwhile, for enterprise users, custom integration of the SublimeVideo player and cloud technologies is also available.

According to Jilion Co-founder Zeno Crivelli, the company saw over 10,000 sign-ups during its 6-month beta period, and a “good fraction” of those users converted to paid customers. However, Crivelli will not reveal the current number of paying customers or what companies and publishers are using the service. He does note that about half of SublimeVideo’s users are coming from the U.S.

Clearly, the rollout of the freemium offering is meant to encourage more users to test out the service, and, if they find it useful, convert to upgraded plans. It may be a successful strategy. Although Jilion certainly isn’t the only video platform to offer an embeddable player that can intelligently switch between HTML5 and Flash, many of its competitors go the “free trial” route, not the “freemium” one. For example, there are currently similar solutions from companies like BrightcoveOoyalaKaltura and Yokto (to name just a few) on the market, but it’s free trials all around, not free service. That said, many of these established players offer a more robust feature set than what Jilion has made available today.

To date, Jilion has raised $800,000 in seed funding from angels, family and friends. It also had consulting revenues to help out during the course of 2010, but those have stopped as the company focuses on building SublimeVideo. Crivelli say Jilion plans to raise a $2-$4 million Series A in early 2012.