In Part Two of this three-part interview, Rose comments on Brightcove’s relationship with pay-TV operators and broadcasters.
Q: Between e-commerce and integrating social components, which areas are Brightcove businesses servicing more in Asia?
A: There are numerous catch-up TV and movie portals here in Asia. For instance, a Starhub customer may be a subscriber of CinemaWorld Asia, which is one of our clients. By subscribing, the customer would be able to view the channel on TV. However, there has been a rising trend of customers who prefer to watch movies on their tablet PCs or smart phones. In recognition of this, Brightcove has federated rights to such mobile devices through the form of the HUB ID, which allows customers to view the shows on their preferred channel, be it TV or tablet. Such convenience serves to generate loyal and ‘sticky’ customers as it enhances their viewing experience, and they will thus be more likely to visit the site.
Q: What role does Brightcove play for CinemaWorld?
A: CinemaWorld provides the same videos to both Starhub and Brightcove. Based on these HD copies, we transcode them into renditions to suit the customer’s situation. If they are using slow devices or happen to have poor Wi-Fi connections when viewing a video, the level of the rendition or the bit rate at which it is streamed can be adapted accordingly. For example, the video can be streamed at a lower bit rate prior to the buffering stage. However if the customer begins to receive a stronger connection, streaming will then switch to a higher definition bit rate.
In this sense, Brightcove is responsible for streaming the videos for CinemaWorld. We also run analytics to gain a better understanding of the viewers, as well as what they do with the videos when watching it on a tablet, a smartphone, or any form of device. This would then provide CinemaWorld with insights as to the kind of promotion that would be better geared towards the each consumer type, be it tablet users, PC users or Android phone users, just to name a few.
Some companies who do this also insert cue-points advertising, especially for free movies. In cue-point advertising, a 10-second mid roll is inserted at various points throughout the movie – this way, customers who wish to watch the movie for free will also have to watch the advertisements. This could range from live reel to double-click or free wheel, and even other popular forms such as ad mobs, all of which Brightcove serves to integrate. There also are other companies who build their own ad-servers on open-source mediums such as open-ex, and Brightcove integrates these as well. Another example would be AdMax (which is an ad network located in both Singapore and Malaysia), which has an in-house platform and sends the ads directly to us.
In general, a key characteristic of our clients is the presence of a comprehensive set of advertising services, encompassing areas such as ad search, real-time bidding systems, and ad bidding systems, and many more. As for Brightcove, we can work with ad servers, platforms or networks, with our role focusing on the integration of all these products. To sum it up in a statement, “We’ll handle it for you. We’ll handle your inventory management. Just tell us how many pre-rolls you want, how many mid rolls, what your policies are.”. So as you can see, Brightcove works on all three of these levels.
The reason we do this is because the Brightcove platforms are built with really solid APIs – the application-programming interfaces. We can pull in subtitles, vendor’s products. and integrate recommendation engines to enhance the customer experience. For instance, popular sites like Taboola and The New York Times track all form of activity that occur on their page or browser. Based on such information, they will then serve up recommendations that are catered specifically to each reader’s interests on their next visit. Similarly, Brightcove integrates such recommendation engines and leverages on them to pull relevant recommendations into our playlist in the next player. As such, Brightcove is involved in back-end integration as well.
An important feature of Brightcove is that we work with over 200 companies globally, all of which add and enhance the value of our platform through various ways, such as subtitling, live chats, recommendation engines, app platforms and many more. Think of Brightcove as the building block – equipped with strong APIs that allow lots of things to be plugged into our platform, an extensive customer base, and tight level of integration between Brightcove and all these companies, end users such as CinemaWorld thus no longer have to worry about doing any coding to make it work.
Q: StarHub, for example, has its “TV Anywhere” proposition, and is also trying to position itself as a one-stop shop. Would Brightcove then become a competitor by trying to enter the same space that pay-TV operators are entering as well?