I’ve long been baffled by the overwhelming alternatives of video-streaming players. It struck me as a commodity market, and one ready for a major consolidation… and I couldn’t understand why anyone would pay to stream videos on their site when so many cool tools are free (which here means “cheaper than $100 a month”).
Larry Kless, who will facilitate a panel I’m on at “Online Video Platform Summit” (Streaming Media West) in a few days, blogged recently about video-streaming. Don’t read Kress’ blog because he fails to mention me (tee, hee), but check the USAToday piece about a maturing space that includes such players as Fliqz, Sorenson Media’s 360, and VideoBloom. Adap.tv is another player, but not mentioned.
So it finally it occurs to me (I’m a little slow when it comes to technology, damnit) that there appears to be a sustainable middle-space between free sites (YouTube, Blip, Vimeo, etc) and more robust corporate solutions (which Brightcove and others are trying to secure).
I urge clients and marketers to post on YouTube regardless of what they choose to stream videos on their tiny little websites. It’s a no-brainer for two reasons: first, because it helps their content optimize on search engines (sorry girlfriend, but Google aint indexing your Quicktime player buried three layers deep on your product.com site). Second, most people will find the video on YouTube video far before ever finding their stupid website… and that may be enough to make a sale.
That said, embedding YouTube videos on your website gives off an amateur vibe. You can’t private label it, it may have related videos that take people elsewhere, and you get limited data. And Brightcove is getting that “if you haven’t heard of us you probably can’t afford us” vibe.
Enter the mid-market players, which will provide far more customization and data without breaking the bank (TubeMogul.com has partnerships with a lot of free sites that also serve this need in various degrees). And here’s how it works:
- Upload your videos to the sites, sorensonmedia.com, fliqz.com or videobloom.com, where they are hosted.
- Tweak the video player to include your company name (now you get branding and a less amateur feel).
- Grab a code to place the video on your site or blog (you can first share the video privately with clients for approvals, which requires a lot of effort on YouTube).
- Pay a monthly fee. Sorenson and Fliqz start at $99 monthly.
I will still argue that this space is ripe for consolidation, and that most small-to-medium businesses will probably choose their video player based on their choice of hosting provider (the same way we accept whatever damned device our cable or car manufacturer provides). So if I were one of these guys, I’d be developing partnerships with those providers and giving them an upsell opportunity in exchange for an installed base.
I also fear that these players, when finding the low-level market increasingly price sensitive, will have trouble moving far “upstream,” as most dreaded Fortune 500 information-systems or information-technology departments pride themselves on rejecting anything that isn’t enterprise worthy (and only Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, God, Blackberry and perhaps Brightcove know how to pull that off).