Post-Acquisition, Brightcove’s Zencoder Adds Live Streaming And Instant Playback

Video distribution company Brightcove announced its acquisition of Zencoder to coincide with its second-quarter earnings announcement in July, paying $30 million for the cloud encoding startup. But that doesn’t mean it’s done innovating. In fact, Brightcove is already adding more features and functionality to the new encoding side of its business, with the launch of two new offerings to improve live and on-demand video playback.

The first of the two new products, Zencoder Instant Play, will provide near-instant gratification to customers who want to very quickly get video files up and available on the web. In Zencoder’s old workflow, customers would upload video, wait for them to process, and then wait for them to get sent out to a CDN before they were available for viewing. Now, almost immediately after a video is uploaded, its bits will begin to be made available to users. That means customers can begin embedding the on-demand video even before it’s finished uploading.

Instant Play is being made available in beta, and at launch it will only support streaming to Zencoder’s free, open source Video.js player. But the company is looking to expand the functionality to its own Brightcove Video Cloud player as well.

Meanwhile, Zencoder’s new Live Cloud Transcoding will make it easier and cheaper for customers to begin live streaming events. No longer will they need an encoder just sitting around waiting for a live event to come along. Not only are those encoders expensive, but they require operational expertise that they don’t necessarily have. Plus, customers need to live stream to multiple different devices, which requires a number of different adaptive bit rate technologies. Live Cloud Transcoding will allow customers to stream to all those places, with no real upfront investment.

Brightcove has yet to figure out final pricing for the new offerings, but chief marketing officer Jeff Whatcott says that, like Zencoder’s existing on-demand encoding services, customers will be charged based upon usage. That means that for live events, they’ll be spending hundreds of dollars, rather than potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In addition, Brightcove is announcing a DRM solution to customers for secure distribution of their content. It’s integrating Google’s Widevine technology into its Video Cloud offering, which will allow them to secure playback on a number of connected devices. Brightcove says that the Widevine technology is supported by 539 million consumer devices, including 284 million TVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes and game consoles. Customers leveraging the Widevine tech include Television New Zealand and LG Electronics.

Brightcove is announcing these things at the IBC international broadcaster conference in Amsterdam, where it’s hoping to secure more deals with big name broadcasters and other distributors of streaming video content. Since Zencoder — and Video.js — is likely to play an even bigger part in its customer acquisition story in the future, this looks like a good way to start.