Brightcove Shuts the Door on Free Access

Brightcove will fully shut down its free service and force all its users to upgrade to its new Brightcove 3 platform by Dec. 17, the Cambridge, Mass.-based company said in an email to users tonight. Users who do not upgrade will see their content deleted.

Brightcove, which has a record of changing its strategy, had previously shut its paid video offering, closed its consumer site, and dropped internal ad sales.

Here’s the key portion of the email. What’s frustrating is Brightcove does not publicly disclose what even the very basic version of its service costs. But there’s an FAQ with other information.

Regretfully, we’ve decided to discontinue the Brightcove Network (the free version of our service). The discontinuation of the free Brightcove Network accounts will not affect Brightcove platform accounts that customers have paid to use.

On December 17, 2008, we will be shutting down Brightcove Network accounts that have not been upgraded to paid Brightcove platform accounts. At the same time, we will be shutting down the Brightcove.TV website (which is separate from the corporate Brightcove website).

Until December 17, 2008, your Brightcove Network account will remain fully functional; the players that you have published will continue to operate; and you can keep using the Brightcove Console as you have been using it to date. At the same time, we are giving you a free trial of Brightcove 3.

Brightcove has raised some $90 million in funding from investors including Accel Partners, General Catalyst Partners, AOL, Allen & Company, Maverick Capital, Brookside Capital, AllianceBernstein, The New York Times Company, Transcosmos, Dentsu, J-Stream, and Cyber Communications.