In the coming weeks, NTT Smartconnect will begin selling a localized version of Ooyala’s Backlot white-label video distribution platform to its clients. The agreement builds on a memorandum of understanding that the companies signed in May 2009 to work together on interactive video advertising solutions and “explore possibilities for collaboration between the two enterprises.” Apparently that collaboration extends to a reseller partnership between the companies.
NTT Smartconnect is an obvious first choice for expanding into a new market. Not only does it have the backing of Japan’s largest telco, but it provides hosting and streaming media solutions to some of the country’s biggest media companies as its customers, including Mainichi Broadcasting System (MBS) and Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). The partnership will give Ooyala access to these and other customers in the media and enterprise segments in Japan.
To make the partnership work, Ooyala has introduced a new reseller platform, which it expects to leverage for other reseller deals. The NTT Smartconnect partnership is a multi-year deal but is non-exclusive, and Ooyala seems committed to expanding its team in Japan and striking more deals, for both direct and indirect sales.
But Ooyala is not alone in going after the Japanese market; while it looks to grab share through reseller deals there, competitor Brightcove has been selling direct to Japanese customers through a localized subsidiary it launched in early 2008. Brightcove has been pretty successful so far, signing up media companies such as Tokyo Metropolitan Television Broadcasting Corp., Television Osaka and Shizuoka Asahi Television. It also recently won a deal to manage UGC videos posted on Rakuten, the country’s largest e-commerce site.
Ooyala has been in the news a fair amount over the last year, as it named a new CEO and raised $10 million in new funds in the second hald of 2009. On the product front, it introduced a live component to its video management platform in October.