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Brightcove: Paid Video Not Worth Our Time

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Brightcove is discontinuing an option to have customers pay to rent or buy video, and will tell its publishers about the change on Wednesday. All paid video options will be zapped from Brightcove publishers’ offerings on July 31.

The company explained in an email that less than 1 percent of customers used paid video. The feature had been Windows Media-only and gave publishers 70 percent of all revenue received.

Brightcove has discontinued so many products sometimes I wonder what they sell anymore. Just kidding, guys! But see our previous coverage of the company closing down its consumer site and deciding internal ad sales weren’t worth the effort. We shouldn’t neglect to mention that Brightcove has raised more than $80 million in funding. It recently saw competitor Maven Networks bought by Yahoo for $160 million.

Full email to customers is after the jump, if you’re interested. You can also see our coverage of remaining paid video believers: MindBites, Zipidee, and the Open Television Network. We’ve also written about iTunes a few times.

Dear Brightcove Customer,

On July 31, 2008, we plan to discontinue the Pay Media (Beta) functionality within Brightcove.

The Pay Media functionality allows publishers to rent or sell their content directly to consumers. Since its beta release in January 2007, less than 1% of our customers have tried the feature and an even smaller percentage of our customers use it routinely. Given the minimal adoption of Pay Media and the feedback we have received from the market, we are going to discontinue this beta functionality.

As a result, you will no longer be able to sell or rent downloadable Windows media video files directly to consumers via your Brightcove players as of July 31, 2008. We estimate that final payments for any outstanding revenue earned will be sent to publishers in August 2008. The changes to the Pay Media (Beta) functionality will have no impact on other features and functionality within the Brightcove platform.

The people who purchased or rented media from you will not be affected. They will continue to be able to view the media they purchased or rented from you prior to July 31, 2008 until their rights are expired.

You will not be required to take action or adjust your titles, lineups or players in order for this change to take place. On July 31, 2008, Brightcove will automatically deactivate any of your Pay Media titles which will prevent them from displaying in your Brightcove players.

If you have additional questions, please visit our FAQ.

We’re deeply committed to continuing to provide the best technology and service to our customers. We apologize for any inconvenience this change may cause you.


The Brightcove Team

14 Responses to “Brightcove: Paid Video Not Worth Our Time”

  1. Anthony

    If you’re looking to attract a more local audience, then websites like let you target specific cities and areas, as well as letting you upload your business video advert for free.

  2. It was weird. Literally on the same day that BC released their announcement, we emailed them on how to set up the PAID Content services. I mean, as I was typing my query email, they were probably sending their notice.

    Anyways, now, I’m not sure what to do (since we run a company that wants to sell content to our users). Anyone who has a suggestion or advice is very appreciated.

    I have a English/Chinese e-Learning website ( that allows teachers to teach English to people online, and we’re targeting
    Chinese/Asian students. This is what I want to do:

    1. Each lesson is recorded in our system via a URL link that teacher and student can click and view at any time which streams off a local server.

    2. I want to embed within each teacher’s profile page, a “Teacher’s Store” which allows teachers to sell their previously recorded lessons via links to

    3. I want to allow teachers to be able to control and access which lesson links they are offering on their “Teacher’s Store” page.

    4. I want to split the revenues with the teachers.

    5. I want to allow teachers the ability to combine these lessons with live tutoring lessons. (this may just mean a description area that describes a
      combination package. Imagine something like:

      “Combine 5 recorded lessons with 5 live tutoring lessons for 50% off! Contact me for details!” (and the student would email the teacher).

    6. Since this site is geared towards Chinese students, the webpage would need to be in Chinese as well as English.

    Any feedback or advice is appreciated, either on this forum or at:

    [email protected]

    Best Regards,


  3. This seems to be a reflection of Brightcove’s customer base and the type of content they’re offering, rather than general repudiation of PayMedia

    What we hear from the larger players in the market (studios, networks, carriers) is an understanding that there is a continuum of content business models with PayMedia on one end and Ad-Supported on the other. Different content lends itself to different business models online, and their intent is to map the online business models to the offline ones so that consumers know how to properly value the offering.

    That means advertising support for episodic television during the broadcast window…it’s hard to get people to pay for what they’re already getting for free. Yes, iTunes has had some success, but I’d wager the consumer use case is largely “perishable”, i.e. it’s become a way of catching a missed episode now and then rather than a replacement for brodacast viewing. As the networks are increasingly doing this for free (ad-supported) on their own websites, even this model will face continued pressure.

    Exceptions to this come from the same places they do offline…PayTV services will build subscription models online, either at a premium or as an added value to existing subscribers. Similarly, I think there’s an as-yet-untapped DVD-window selling opportunity for full seasons of regular TV content.

    On the studio side, we’ll be seeing paid models for some time to come. Yes, they’ll need to get the pricing right (wholesale and consumer) or risk the same meltdown we saw with the the first-gen EST services. And liberal usage terms will also aid consumer acceptance. But they’re simply not going to risk de-valuing their offline business models (theatre, DVD) until it’s in a much more severe state of decline than it is today.

    Brightcove’s customers largely weren’t using them for their PayMedia services, so it makes sense to abandon the offering. We’re still seeing both PayMedia and Advertising models being pursued aggressively by our customers, and will continue to serve those needs.

  4. We use BC to manage the videos on our website and BC places ad (through Tremor Media) and splits the revenue 50/50 so that is one way they make money (Charles rightly pointed out that you can also pay for the premium service).

    We tested the pay media option and our users proved by their lack of interest that it was not for us. I figured that it was more related to the content offered for sale but this shows that we were not an anomaly.

    It seems that consumers just don’t like BC’s pay media service but I am sure that other, less restrictive services will eventually thrive.

  5. charles

    they charge money for their service. premium publishers pay them well for bc’s advanced services. i’m more curious about the other white label guys out there.