Blog Post

BrightCove and the AOL Schizophrenia

Media and bloggers for once are on the same side…. they are collectively suffering from AOL Schizophrenia. A few weeks ago they were all saying AOL is piece of dying garbage. Today, after its investment and a deal with BrightCove, everyone seems to be thinking of them as king makers. So people make up your mind… what it is. Anyway, Brightcove, an online video start-up, raised $16.2 million in its latest round of funding from the likes of AOL, and Barry Diller’s IAC Corp.

There is a lot of coverage in the mainstream media – The New York Times and Wall Street Journal – and the blogs. Forrester Group’s king of the obvious Josh Bernoff told AP, “I think this adds a lot of credibility to Brightcove. They’re not just another startup company now.” No kidding…. I had not figured that one out as yet. The message – Brightcove is the likely winner of the online video distribution sweepstakes. That might be hasty considering the major players in this space, each with its own twist.

I wonder how come no one asked pertinent questions about the big G, Or Y or M?. Thomas Hawk writes about a budding relationship between Google and Creaking Broadcasting System (aka CBS). Of course, did anyone actually see the service? The Wall Street Journal says it should be available to all content owners early next year. But when? Or how does it stack-up alongside Maven Networks, a company that is working with the likes of Fox, Atom Films and National Geographic. How well does the service scale? What will be future cap-ex requirements? I did a profile of the company back when it launched, but since then have not heard any new specifics from them. I would have loved to get those answers, and perhaps get a better sense of the progress made over past eight months, instead of rosy picture of the future.

I think Jeremy is a great guy and is pretty smart cookie with most of the answers….

6 Responses to “BrightCove and the AOL Schizophrenia”

  1. well, i think the issue here is that the company has not talked about the “business model” at all. i guess, that is one of the things the bothered me about the stories – no one was asking the question. i hope to catch up with JA and figure out the direction they are taking.

  2. I think you guys are missing the boat a bit – these guys are providing infrastructure and software support – they may have some models that give them a share of ad revenue, but I believe they’re working on more of an ASP software model.

  3. steve, i agree with you entirely. i think a lot of these video models are based on an assumption that they can scale, hardware is cheap etc. but when the bills come, especially as the service adds more than a million users things start to break down.

    it is hard for me to imagine that the operational and capital expenditures will get low enough to offer cable-tv type economics.

  4. om, i know bandwidth has gotten cheap, but has it gotten so cheap that serving video can really survive with the same economics as serving web pages or text?

    in other words, do you believe that all these IP-video startups (or even one) will really be able to generate more revenue-per-stream by selling ads than the cost to serve said stream?