Each web video sharing service has its strengths and weaknesses, and each has also developed niches amongst content creators. YouTube is the favorite of your neighborhood camkid; vlog scenesters can generally be found on Revver or Blip.tv.
Brightcove, the Cambridge, Mass.-based online video service started in March of 2004 by Jeremy Allaire, is becoming the preferred choice of professionals, large media companies and politicians. Rudi Guliani, fellow presidential aspirant Barack Obama,The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg, and The Washington Post, Newsweek and Elle Magazine are using Brightcove for their video efforts.
The company has raised a total of $81.2 million in funding from the likes of venture funds AllianceBernstein, Brookside Capital, Maverick Capital, Accel, IAC and Morgan Stanley as well as media companies AOL, Hearst and The New York Times.
While it is unlikely that Obamas of the world care much about the under-the-hood bells and whistles of Brightcove platform, anyone who is serious about online video publishing should give this service a look. The interface is slick and the tools are geared towards managing lots of content, while making it relatively easy to customize the user experience.
The content management features are quite robust, allowing for lots of control over media assets, meta information, broadcast and display mechanics such as home site linking and embedding, and a templating system that makes it relatively simple to pull together backgrounds, logos, multiple episodes and even user-generated content into cohesive branded viewing experience.
Personally, I’d prefer a more open and customizable architecture using Castfire and a bulk CDN, for instance, but business users seem willing to accept some limitations on customizability in exchange for turnkey ease, which Brightcove certainly supplies.
For those looking to make money off their video efforts, Brightcove shines admirably. Besides the standard ad-supported model, Brightcove also offers a new pay-per-view beta — something that only Brightcove and Veoh are offering, currently. This dovetails with Brightcove’s agreement to offer content to TiVo’s fledgling on-demand service, and long-form shows like Showtime’s The Tudors feel like a natural fit, making a la carte purchases of premium television network shows seem a natural trajectory.
On a scale of one to ten, I’d give this service an eight. Not what I’d recommend for up-and-coming vloggers, but definitely worth considering if you’re a publisher trying to decide between going third-party or developing a video solution in-house.