Brightcove Aims at the Mainstream: Talking with CEO Jeremy Allaire

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what’s going to drive value for media companies.

The second thing that is an emerging trend is that we are starting to see organizations beyond the early adopters starting to use video. If you think about it, every professional institution in the world, whether it’s a small business, a college or university, a government agency, a non-profit, et cetera, already uses the Web as a communications platform, mostly for text and photo content. But the production cost of video has continued to plummet, making it viable for all industries to use as part of their communications strategy. That suggests to us that the overall market opportunity for online video platforms is much broader.

So we have been thinking very hard about how do we create a product line that is accessible to and useful to all of these other types of organizations around the world. Our vision is to move from the early adopters up the curve into the mainstream users.

X: But when you talk about the mainstream, you’re not talking about the typical person who might post a file from their videocam to YouTube, right?

JA: When I say mainstream, I’m not thinking of individuals, I’m thinking of institutions. For example, government agencies where a key part of what they do is public communication. Or B2C companies like automotive or e-commerce companies that already use the Web as part of their marketing initiatives. Or universities using rich media to deliver the educational product to students. It’s about making [the Brightcove platform] accessible to them from an economic perspective, and making it easy for them to get going.

How big of an overhaul does Brightcove 3 represent?

JA: It’s the first time we’ve redesigned what we do from the ground up. It’s a very significant evolution, and by far the largest R&D investment we’ve had in the history of the company.

Brightcove 3 Studio Home Page ScreenshotX: Okay, so what’s new about it?

JA: The first big theme is centered on what we’re calling custom player experiences. What we have found is that there’s an enormous range or diversity of how people want to express video experiences, but the bar is currently way too high to do that in a customized way. It requires a very advanced, expensive, and rare skill set in a Flash designer/engineer to do that. So one of the things we did was we crated this entirely new framework for how video player experiences can be created.

We’ve come up with something called Brightcove Studio, which is the set of applications a customer would use. The studio provides templates which can have their own branding applied to them. To facilitate richer experiences we’ve created a new XML format for customizing these video player experiences—we call it BEML, the Brightcove Experience Markup Language. It’s something an HTML-level designer can use really easily.

The XML code defines the layout and core styling and prebuilt components for the video experiences. Web designers can cut and paste this code into our browser-based, rich Internet application and assemble things like video windows with playlists and social sharing tools very quickly.

We ship, out of the box, a whole bunch of pre-built templates, but you can go in and tweak and modify them, and there is a whole developer center that is full of downloadable examples and educational materials for how to get started with that.

X: What kinds of features can you add to a template?

JA: We include the most common use cases like e-mail sharing, blogging tools, “post video to blog” tools for grabbing the embed code, RSS feeds. We also include things like automatically showing related videos.

Another piece of all this is the extended ecosystem—we’re making Brightcove 3 compatible with third-party-created components. Both this simple experience language and the third-party “pluggability” are completely new to the industry; nobody is doing anything like this today. So we are very excited about it.

The next key piece of Brightcove 3 is what we’re calling contextual publishing. This is a really big evolution in how our service works. For the most part, the way publishers have used online video is they’ve put it all in a separate video section of their sites. But what we’ve learned over the past few years is that … Next Page »

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Wade Roush is the producer and host of the podcast Soonish and a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @soonishpodcast

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