Y Combinator-backed Vidyard, a ‘YouTube for businesses’, has raised $1.65 million from Softech VC, Jawed Karim (Co-Founder of YouTube), Y Combinator, SV Angel, Andreessen Horowitz, iNovia Capital, Paul Buchheit, Vivi Nevo, Dennis Kavelman, David Nizkad and others.
Vidyard, which launched in August, solves a pain point for businesses who want to use YouTube videos as a marketing tool. Many businesses embed YouTube videos on their sites, but visitors can click through the video to YouTube and off the brand’s site — and those videos also include YouTube’s ads and branding. Ooyala and Brightcove both offer professional, enterprise-hosted video platforms but these can be expensive.
Vidyard solves this problem by offering a service that’s very similar to YouTube, but without that link to a third-party portal. The startup also offers instant, detailed and real-time analytics with regards to the embedded video performance. The Vidyard platform provides professional, ad free video hosting, along with real-time analytics, branded video players, instant start technology, fully customizable calls to action, and seamless syndication to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Here’s how Vidyard works. First, you can choose to upload a video file or a video from YouTube. You can then add a custom thumbnail, choose from 10 different player skins, customize the size and color, enable viral sharing on Twitter and Facebook, and default content to HD if you’d like.
In terms of integrating the video into a site, Vidyard offers a simple code that can be embedded on any site (users can choose to have an in-line video or one that appears as a pop-up). Or businesses can choose to send people to a landing page with a link to the video. Users can also comment on these pages via Twitter and Facebook.
Once a business uses Vidyard, it can also access detailed analytics on the performance of the video. The startup allows businesses to see how many people watched a video, their attention span, minutes watched, most popular times within a video, where people are located geographically, and more.
Currently, businesses are using Vidyard to manage the success of their content and target their most engaged users. Consumer brands use it to automatically push video content to their social feeds and analyze the success of each “channel”.
Vidyard, which employs a freemium model, is also launching a number of new features to its platform today as well. The service now redirects a video to a specific URL automatically upon completion of playback, and allows marketers to create a Call to Action “Pop Out”, that creates a form (to capture leads or advertise) that slides out of the video at any point during playback.
Starting today, Vidyard also has the capability to push video content to a YouTube channel, Facebook wall and Twitter feed, as well as report on the performance of your YouTube channel directly by pulling YouTube’s analytics into the Vidyard Dashboard. And Vidyard will manage Video Search Engine Optimization by automatically generating an optimized sitemap.
Part of Vidyard’s secret sauce is the technology behind the platform. The startup uses RTMP streaming, which means you can jump to the middle of a video without waiting for the buffer to catch up. You can also implement chaptering, which means you can overlay links to additional videos on top of the one being watched. Every plan includes 101 GB of bandwidth and Vidyard tweaks its hosting technology to be bandwidth efficient, and only buffers ten second in advance so the business isn’t wasting bandwidth on clients that aren’t watching the whole videos.
It is certainly ambitious for Vidyard to take on video giant YouTube, but the startup does highlight a number of pain points and problems for businesses using YouTube as a marketing and communications platform. With its low price points, and comprehensive features, Vidyard could gain a loyal following among small and large businesses.