Blog Post

Interview: Brightcove CEO Allaire: New Kangaroo, Shared iPlayer Will Fail

UK VOD is in an exciting state of flux, with Arqiva poised to launch son-of-Kangaroo, Hulu seeking a UK foothold, BBC still offering iPlayer to counterparts, Joost offering its platform after collapsing and several parties aiming to show VOD on TV via Canvas.

With so many aggregator partner options on the table, isn’t Brightcove, the player platform that powers web video for many individual broadcasters like Five and Sky, threatened? CEO Jeremy Allaire, speaking during a visit to London, said his service still has a place serving rightsholders’ on-site material and distributing their video elsewhere; and he disparaged several counterparts…

Arqiva’s new Kangaroo/SeeSaw: “We’ll see. I’m deeply skeptical about the IP sale of Kangaroo. It’s highly unlikely to have any success whatsoever. A one-off system integration project does not equal a mature software service that people can use. That will be very challenging and I don’t think you’ll see real uptake for that. I’m very skeptical that there’s a quality product there. I think there’s a bunch of code, that’s great, but figuring out how to run a platform business is very, very difficult. I don’t think they are a company that has the DNA to do that well. I’d be surprised if that has any real traction.”

Shared iPlayer: “Open iPlayer I’m also deeply skeptical of. Again, the BBC isn’t a software company, they’re not a vendor, they’re not a platform company. A one-off system integration project that they’ve built for their own use does not translate in to something that’s of usable form as a service that other people are going to use. So I’m very skeptical that that is going to have success.”

Joost: “The biggest issue was they made a bet against the web. They made a bet that the web didn’t work and that people didn’t want to watch video on the web, that you needed a separate application – that was fundamentally the wrong way – don’t bet against the web; consumers like the web. In part, that was the founders [Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis re-deploying their Global Index after selling Skype] believing that they could keep building desktop software that did unique things leveraging peer-to-peer architectures; it was using a hammer for everything. (The web player) was too little, too late.” On the switch to white-label vendor: “Good luck. I don’t think that’s realistic, I think that’s going to just go away.”

Project Canvas: “That’s attractive to us. If it gets adoption, that’s absolutely something that we would support … You’re going to see a lot of other initiatives (in living room TV VOD), Canvas could be one of those that we’d be interested in. For us to support something like that, it’s not difficult … If it really is an open software model that is open to the same standards and run-times that are available on the web, that’s a good thing because then you could introduce more innovation in to that environment than you can in the traditional closed environment.”

— For more from Jeremy Allaire, see paidContent.org.