Today marks the announcement and release of Brightcove’s Platform 3, the latest release of their online video distribution service. They’ve rebuilt the service completely and it comes with the promise to “empower website producers to be successful in the era of pervasive video.”
They do look like they’ve got a bunch of interesting and useful new features. We’ll focus on that to start.
One of the most problematic parts of the Brightcove player in the past has been the slowness to load, something I’ve been particularly sensitive to personally since I don’t have the absolute fastest broadband connection in the world. Those like me will notice their new “dynamic delivery” updates that automatically adjust the bit rate of the video streams so that the viewer will get the highest quality video stream their connection will allow.
Producers who use the system will notice a number of new updates that will hopefully work towards streamlining the production and distribution phases. As I’ve talked about before, the Brightcove system has always been one of the more advanced online publishing systems, with some of the most detailed media management tools.
The only problem that is systemic to any online publishing system like this is that the media management can sometimes get labor intensive and tedious when it comes to classifying and tagging every icon and clip in the system. Platform 3 includes new media management and publishing tools that hope to aide in this.
Additionally, they’ve made more extensible their media API, so that the player and content can be more seamlessly integrated with the producers text content and rest of the website.
These tools have appealed to a wide variety of producers, mostly those in the mainstream sector who don’t have the in-house technical teams to put together a custom solution or utilize some of the more common pro-sumer platforms out there, many of which have just as much customization options that Brightcove currently has even in this new release, and are quickly catching up on the production side as well.
When Brightcove first announced that they were coming out with their new platform, I wondered whether or not it would live up to the hype. Brightcove has lost a little bit of the magic for me over the years. They’ve been de-emphasizing a lot of their tertiary initial promises and slowly focusing more on tailoring the player for long form content. They’ve cut back on sales efforts almost entirely at this point, and have long since closed down their user generated content portal.
In their interest to tailor their service for mainstream outfits that seek to find a distribution method outside the established portals like Hulu, YouTube, iTunes and Joost, Brightcove has completely ignored a large component to online video distribution - media RSS. Granted, due to licensing and DRM concerns of current clients like Showtime, Time, Lifetime, and video on demand service FearNet, this isn’t probably a feature in high demand.
For veteran Internet content producers, though, podcast feeds are key to monetization and brand management. Distribution is key, and without the ability to lead folks into a central place to lock in viewers, all the viewers their branding and online marketing accrues will be transient at best.
In the end, Brightcove ends up being a great solution for mainstream outfits looking to have the look and feel of systems like Hulu while maintaining their own branding on the player. Those looking for a more robust solution that provides similar player customization might be interested in offerings from CastFire and Episodic.
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