TECH TALK: Video on the Internet: All-Software

The second approach eschews hardware for an all-software approach. YouTube, video services from Google and Yahoo, Brightcove and Entriq are examples of this approach. The challenge here is to ensure that the content can be protected, necessitating the need for a digital rights management module as part of the software.

Brightcove launched last year and offered content providers a white-label platform to create their own video storefronts. This is what PaidContent had to say following the launch:

The Cambridge-based company wants a hand in all facets of IP video or Internet TV — creation, delivery and monetization.

Think of it as RealNetworks done right with a consumer video service, a backend service, and other allied services needed for everyone from small publishers, like bloggers, to small-to-mid sized media companies and online VOD startups, develop and distribute video easily and cost-effectively. In essence, an open-publishing model.

[CEO Jeremy] Allaire explains: “The online service will operate with a consumer-facing service that provides access to programming and content published in the service, and will also provide a very rich service to publishers and rights-holders interested in a direct-to-consumer distribution path for video products. The service will also provide tools to website operators generally, who are interested in economically participating in the online video revolution.

Om Malik added: Instead of developing a hardware platform, the company will base everything it does on open standards, and will essentially be a software platform that will run on any kind of device – Microsoft Media Centers to TiVo to connected DVD players. In other words, he is gunning for a market that is the super nova of consumer-acquired devices.

Oms blog post expanded:

Though many might confuse Bright Cove as the culmination of all Long Tail and Exploding TV prayers, in reality, and Allaire was quick to point out that this is really a platform for the little guy. Someone who is interested in video blogging, short form film and other downloadable forms of video. For live broadcasts, cable and service providers there is no substitute, and it is not feasible, he says, Network PVR and connected DVD players and other devices that are connected to open Internet will be able to use this to deliver content. It is through this consumer electronics proxy, the video content will be delivered to the only screen that matters for video: the television.

Allaire succinctly put it when he says that his model is no different from that of a software developer who writes a program for say Windows or a Mac platform. We are building all the pieces which are going to be needed including billing and DRM infrastructure, he says, We are piggy backing on platform where we dont need distribution agreements. We are focused on open platforms and ultimately that is the model that is going to succeed.

Esther Dyson wrote about Brightcove in the March issue of Release 1.0:

Brightcove allows content producers and video rights holders to have a direct relationship with the viewer rather than dealing with intermediaries such as cable operators, distributors or retail stores (in the case of DVD sales). The small guys especially are excited about distributing directly to consumers, but theyre ultimately looking for help with marketing, discovery. . .and frankly,with just getting paid, says Allaire.

The idea is to use the Internet to eliminate current scarcitiesor bottlenecks, says Allaire: The limited number of theaters that can support limited studio output, retail constrained by need for physical presence and reach as well as limited physical inventory (biggest retailers have fewest titles), and broadcast and cable limited by spectrum scarcity and scarcity of user-premises devices.At the same time, Brightcove enables the producer to reach the consumer more directly, whether through a direct sale, an ad-supported channel or Brightcoves own ad-supported syndicated search service. It parses what it can of the text and data around the videos and supplements that with the producers own metatags.

Among other solutions, Entriqs MediaSphere platform also offers an ASP service for video. Microsofts Media Center Platform is in a similar space, providing video playback capabilities on the client (the PC).

Next Week: Video on the Internet (continued)

TECH TALK Video on the Internet+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.