TV ASIA Plus WEB-EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Brightcove’s Dennis Rose
In the first part of the interview, Rose introduces Brightcove’s services and give examples of companies that have enjoyed their services.
Q: Where is Brightcove today and how has it been entering television space?
A: Brightcove is best known for our Video Cloud online video platform, but we’re much more than that. Brightcove provides cloud content services that help organizations of all kinds to publish and distribute professional digital media. We actually do two things:
- Deliver the world’s professional digital media; so we enable organizations like Discovery Networks, Time, Sony Pictures and PUMA to publish and distribute online video experiences on their websites and to viewers on mobile devices and connected TVs. We work with more than 6,000 brands and media companies around the world. We deliver through 94,000 websites globally, so a lot of websites have Brightcove Video Cloud videos embedded in them.
- And this is more recent; last August we acquired Zencoder, based out of California, and they do in-cloud encoding and transcoding for both video and audio. A lot of news organisations might have breaking news, sports or political content, things that need to get out very quickly – we help those companies transcode the video and audio files, and get them distributed across their video players.
Q: Here in Asia, which Brightcove services are more popular?
A: Well definitely Video Cloud is our legacy product. We launched in Asia Pacific in Japan about four years ago, and then the rest of Asia for what will be three years in May. Outside of Japan we focus on Korea, Australia and New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, and India.
A good use case is ABS-CBN down in Manila, a big user of Brightcove Video Cloud. They have three platforms:
- One is a user upload site, which is actually more of a talent scouting tool. The professors in universities have the students who are in communication arts and performing arts do projects, and they require a part of it to be video. When the videos are uploaded,,the school gets the benefit of the video platform, while ABS-CBN gets first visibility into who can dance, who can sing, who can do lighting, who can write good scripts, and so forth. They’ve actually facilitated a bigger compression of their talent resource process.
- Two – they also use us for cable subscribers. The Lopez family owns this other company called Sky Cable and they offer a free service for cable subscribers. So if they miss a show yesterday or last weekend, you can watch it on your iPad later, or you can watch it on a connected TV or your PC. So we do that service as well.
- Of course we do the news platform as well, which is huge. These are good examples of media companies that use Video Cloud across Asia Pacific.
Q: So a lot of the services would then reach consumers directly? We’re not using Video Cloud for transmission purposes yet?
A: It’s mostly to consumers but we do B2B as well. A good example would be JF Asset Management in Hong Kong and Taiwan, which is part of the JP Morgan family. They have these experts in commodities, derivatives, foreign exchange – all these ladies that you see on TV on Squawk Box (CNBC) and on Bloomberg, who come on as subject experts. Each day those experts are actually filmed in their cubicle. They have a producer, an editor, and they do post-production. They package this and deliver content, using video to speak back to various types of capital market customers. Private wealth banking claims pay these big monthly fees and as part of their fees they get this expertise. So there are B2B applications.
And then other organizations such as Samsung Broadcasting Center also uses us for their in-house TV production needs for Samsung group companies internally. Every morning, Samsung broadcasts daily morning news of Samsung group companies to global Samsung employees, via the TV at their offices and Samsung group’s PC and mobile intranet called MySingle. Because of the time zones, people on the other side of the world who are sleeping can watch it on catch-up. About 200,000 Samsung employees watch the corporate communications on the Samsung Broadcasting Center.
Q: On the transmission side, why do you think there is skepticism on using the cloud as an option for storage?
A: Not all of them share that view. GlobeCast is a partner of Brightcove and companies like GlobeCast that deliver TV programming through both satellite and submarine cable across continents are actually beginning to see that TV broadcasters they service are going to continue with linear programming but also want to have a non-linear platform. We do that for many TV services.
We don’t think that linear TV is going away any time soon, but at the same time we do see it’s very early days for connected or smart TV. I personally sit on the board of directors for the Connected TV Marketing Association, which is a global organisation. What we see now is that the number of people using connected and smart TVs is still very small. However, in this past year we are starting to see an inflection. In 2012, between Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic and some other smaller vendors, over one hundred million smart or internet-abled televisions were shipped. Industry statistics suggest that about 30-40% of the people will actually turn on the menu for smart TV applications and do some exploring. And of those, about half will go back and turn it on again, using it successively each month. Two to three years ago, that was 10-15% and only a quarter or a fifth were coming back. So the usage is increasing, and part of that is attributed to consumer level marketing driving more awareness.
We actually don’t see connected TV on the wall as being the primary screen; this is kind of the last frontier for delivering rich web content to new types of devices. The inflection point we’re beginning to see I think is going to be accelerated further as more applications come out that are companion apps to a network, such as AMC Networks’ Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, or others. We see a lot of programmers recognising the fact that 80% of users or viewers watching TV are also doing something on a smartphone or on a tablet application.
The natural thing is then to make that connection between the two environments and leverage each other to retain viewers, whether it’s pop-ups or additional video entertainment around that programme, or to enable social interactivity for people to do LIVE blogging as they’re watching an episode of Homeland. This I think it’s something the programmers recognise as drawing viewers into becoming further up on the loyalty curve, engaging with the programme, coming back and becoming a super fan of the series as opposed to an occasional watcher. I also think that some will also see it as a revenue opportunity to monetise the second screen on the tablet application – for instance through micro payments or an ad-based revenue model where they make money through sponsored skins in the application and/or ads, or even selling information about the users to third parties.
Q: So where is Brightcove’s role in this?
A: Our main value proposition to brands or media companies is to reduce a lot of the complexities and to bring down the costs of building their own backend or D.I.Y solutions. TV broadcasters as you know are most capable of doing this. ABS-CBN started out with about 8 people in their interactive division, grew to 45, and now at 70. They’re not just about building video platforms, ad platforms and analytics. Instead, they focus on programming and producing and delivering content to an audience.
So what we see is a lot of brands and media companies start to shift their investments away from people resources and equipment, such as coding equipment which is very expensive. Instead, they’ve taken up the cloud and turning to companies like Brightcove to do it. We’ve got tremendous expertise and we make things work on Android, iOS platforms, on every type of PC and browser. We basically take all of that complexity off their shoulders so they can focus on creating content.
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