Brightcove CEO Discusses The Future And Failures Of Online Video


Earlier this week I had the chance to sit down and meet with a few members of the Brightcove team, including founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire. We discussed the direction that online video was taking and the stratification seen between consumer and professional markets. And perhaps most interestingly, Allaire was willing to discuss the failures that Brightcove (and the online video space as a whole) has had to grapple with.

Since its launch in 2005 Brightcove has accrued customers spanning television, print media, and the music industry, who use the service to manage their online video content. The company has also seen a rapidly growing base of customers from more unlikely verticals, including biotech the pharmaceutical industry. And the service has seen explosive growth abroad, with foreign markets now accounting for 20% of the company’s revenues after only one year.

But despite the company’s success, there is still widespread confusion as to what Brightcove and other video platforms actually do. For years, many people have lumped services like Brightcove alongside consumer portals like YouTube and Metacafe, but the two represent entirely different markets.

In reality these services have little in common besides a Flash-based movie player. Brightcove and its competitors offer a cloud-based software service that caters to the professional market, essentially allowing companies to outsource their online video component. This extends beyond just a media player – Brightcove also manages advertising analytics, ensures that content is properly “plugged in” to the rest of each customer’s site, and offers a set of content management and programming tools. Conversely, YouTube et al. are geared towards amateurs looking for a place to easily put their content on the web.

Much of the confusion stems from semantics – both sets of services could be called “video platforms”. That said, Brightcove is also partially responsible for the confusion, as it actually did used to offer a YouTube-esque consumer site called Brightcove.TV that was put on the backburner in late 2007. The company has since shifted its full attention to its B2B offering.

While Brightcove has seen more than its share of success, underperformers like Brightcove.TV have made it clear that online video may not developed exactly as the company hoped it would. When the market first began to take off, there was a widespread belief that millions of prospective amateur content creators would be able to monetize their videos, driving a massive stream of long tail revenue. Allaire says that this has largely failed to materialize – while there have been some successful video creators, the concept of a long tail video market simply hasn’t become a viable business.

Another area where online video distribution is largely failing is in the transition from the computer to the television. Allaire explains that he envisions a “democratization of video” that hasn’t happened, largely because of proprietary formats and licensing issues that have plagued the industry. Because there is little Brightcove can do to address the issue, Allarie has written an open letter to the consumer electronics industry, but it’s unlikely we’ll see the open standards we all long for any time soon.

Finally, Allaire acknowledged that the idea of for-pay online content has been largely a failure (though he says this is less of a disappointment). Brightcove invested heavily in producing a platform for paid media content, but the market for this hasn’t materialized. He says that even well received marketplaces like Apple’s iTunes TV and Movie stores have seen disappointing results, and we probably won’t see a wider adoption until the consumer electronics industry breaks down the aforementioned barriers.

Over the next few months, Brightcove will be rolling out its gutted and rebuilt third revision to the public (the new version is currently in a private beta). From there, Allaire predicts that the site will continue to make inroads internationally and with with less “conventional” media creators as more companies turn to video platforms to handle even occasional content posts. Other players in the video platform space include Maven Networks, Move Networks, Delve Networks, and Ooyala.

More TechCrunch

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

17 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

3 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

3 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies