The Greater Boston Internet Video Cluster

Boston may take a back seat to Los Angeles and New York as a locus for TV, film, and video production, but it’s front and center when it comes to the array of technologies that go into publishing and monetizing video content on the Internet.

Not so long ago, video lovers were pretty much limited to what was being shown live on broadcast or cable TV, what they recorded on their VCRs or DVRs, or what they could buy, rent, or borrow at Blockbuster or Netflix. But now an increasing fraction of traditional TV and movie content—along with a huge tidal wave of brand-new content, much of it generated by consumers themselves—is available over the Internet. The basic enabling technology here, of course, is the spread of broadband Internet connectivity to homes and offices. But we don’t just have Comcast and Verizon to thank: there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes technology involved in Internet video distribution, from the servers that host the content to the players that show it on your computer to the software that inserts the (inevitable) ads. And it turns out that a lot of the companies building this technology are right here in Boston.

Because it’s so central to the future of media, this is an industry cluster that deserves to be spotlighted. So, paralleling our earlier roundup of the area’s music-and-technology companies, we’ve assembled a preliminary list of Boston-area online video companies below, with links to our most relevant coverage. These are all companies whose primary businesses relate to video accessed or delivered over the Internet or mobile networks, or to some other aspect of the deepening marriage between TV and the Internet.

When we publish these technology-cluster stories, we realize that our lists aren’t definitive. In fact, we’re counting on you to help us make them more complete. So if you know of an Internet video company based somewhere in New England that we missed, leave a comment below or write to us at editors@xconomy.com.

And one more thing. While many Boston-area video production companies, advertising and marketing agencies, Web design companies, and broadcast TV stations are aggressively exploring Internet video, they aren’t on this list. If they were, it would be a lot longer. It’s also worth noting that Boston’s influence in the Internet video arena extends far beyond New England; we have not dipped into the long list of online video startups funded by Boston-area venture firms but headquartered in other regions (e.g. Palo Alto’s Metacafe, funded by Highland Capital Partners, or Seattle’s thePlatform, which is now part of Comcast but was originally funded by Spark Capital).

Without further ado:

Aerva Cambridge, MA
Web-accessible interactive digital displays, allowing audience interaction via SMS text messaging. (News item)

Akamai
Cambridge, MA
Global content distribution network for video and other high-bandwidth content. (News item)

Avid
Tewksbury, MA
Software and equipment for digital post-production video editing and storage. (Profile)

Backchannelmedia Boston, MA
Software allowing cable operators to show interactive pop-up ads during cable TV shows that lead consumers to related Web content. (Profile)

Blackwave Acton, MA
Internet video storage for more efficient and cost-effective content delivery. (News item)

Boston.TV Boston, MA
Locally produced, Internet-only food, arts, entertainment, sports, business, and lifestyle coverage. (Video)

Brightcove Cambridge, MA
Professional Internet video publishing platform, including customized Web-based video players preconfigured to deliver various types of advertising.

Buzzwire Bedford, MA
Streaming video, audio, and radio for mobile phones. (Profile)

ChoiceStream Cambridge, MA
Software that delivers personalized DVD, Internet video, and TV schedule recommendations based on user preferences.

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Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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