As others apparently have noticed today, Brightcove has changed their business plan…again. Here is the letter I just got.
Dear Brightcove.TV member,
Beginning December 18, 2007, we plan to end support of direct consumer uploads to Brightcove.TV. As a result, you will not be able to upload new videos to Brightcove.TV after December 17, 2007. But videos you have already uploaded to Brightcove.TV will remain available on the site and through your Brightcove.TV channel. Videos you have embedded in other sites and blogs will also continue to play.
If you have a Brightcove Platform or Network account, which means you use the Brightcove Console, then you will still have the option to promote videos on Brightcove.TV.
Brightcove.TV will continue to be a guide to great video from Brightcove media and business partners. The site will have new videos added to it daily from these partners and these videos can be saved as favorite videos in your channel.
If you work for a media company, marketer, non-profit, or business and are looking to purchase the Brightcove platform to publish and distribute video on your own site, please visit the Brightcove Products Overview section of our website.
We appreciate your interest in Brightcove and apologize for any disruption this change may cause you.
Sincerely, The Brightcove Team
I was just saying on Cranky Geeks, that Brightcove was the least important of all of the sites we distribute on (past tense now, I just deleted all of our files from their system). Brightcove has received $80Million over the years and act as a good case study for a more indepth look into why video platforms fail.
Perhaps they are not failing at all but here is a good look at a major hardship I think Brightcove has suffered from, one that I think Joost still suffers from as well, perhaps: changing times.
I remember when Jeremy Allaire first previewed Brightcove to me several years ago and I thought to myself, my gawd, this man is a database maniac (I thought that in an endearing way). The system he showed me was designed to manage a huge library of content, as well as add placement, distribution, promotion, etc. It seemed like it had more features than a cockpit on a transatlantic jumbo jet. I could easily see a company like Turner, with all their archives of media, pumping out stuff via Brightcove, clicking around to tie in advertisers with certain properties, including start and stop times, rendering, controlling international distribution and rights protections, it was really impressive in a major scale kind of a way. Of course not something Rocketboom could really use, it was overkill for our small chest of episodes.
I think the Brightcove kool-aide which the investors must have been drinking along with the developers, was flavored with the idea that their system would be the best.
This is an extremely admirable type of drink, it’s not gimmicky and it’s not codependent. It’s simply positive all around for being a product that is the best product in a class. At the time, I would of agreed too, its was better and more comprehensive than anything I had seen built before for major studio operators.
So what happened? The market changed quickly under their feet and the ability for anyone to do the things that Brightcove could do, became too easy. I’m not a mysql or cold-fusion guru but I can pretty easily visualize a database with an array of variables and relationships that can be put together as easily as you can imagine what feature you need. And at some point, from the perspective of interface and design, it became too complex.
Meanwhile, Brightcove won excellent accounts from the mainstream media at a time when they had absolutely no idea what was going on and no foresight into what would soon happen. Perhaps it was trust in the amount of money that was invested in the group.
The problem which may be happening to Joost since it began, is also a sudden change in the marketplace, the same problem in fact that Brightcove may have suffered from: lack of exclusivity. The MSM woke up to the need to be free and they realized that they are in control, especially when there are many other competitors to Brightcove that would love to have them and take care of their technology and sales (iTunes), not to mention the cheap cost to build their own (Hulu) and thus the studios are not going to go exclusive with anyone, especially not Brightcove. Smart. Why should they? I’m sure glad Rocketboom wasn’t exclusive with Brightcove. How would we of reached TiVo and iTunes and the 1000s of other competitors and platforms? Did Brightcove have iphone compatibility up on time? Nope. Did Brightcove have a facebook widget at launch? Nope.
So Brightcove changed their business model awhile back. I was speaking with one investor to Brightcove just two months ago and he was promoting and applauding the “New” Brightcove, which had changed from being primarily just a back-end content management system to an an entry point for people to come to Brightcove and discover new content.
This absolutely, positively never happened. At least not like iTunes, You-Tube or TiVo have become entry points for discovering content. It’s an extremely coveted position. The entry point is what Google bought. It’s what TV Guide used to be. It’s what Joost wants to be. They want to make it easy for people to just click and find what they want to watch and then easily watch it. Thats the killer place to be for the entire future of media. It’s the Google home page search for TV in just the right way.
It looks like they are back to supporting premium content which is where they started and will no longer accept content by independents or individuals without a more serious, paid relationship (i.e. a place to store the source for video embeds for a white label price). While the letter seems to emphasize an entry point is a focus, what will be the incentive to watch on Brightcove.tv as opposed to anywhere else?