There's no hiding the fact that the Online Video Platform (OVP) space is crowded, even more so than the Content Delivery Network (CDN) space was three years ago when the CDNs marched fearlessly down the inevitable path of commoditization. Today there are over 90 streaming video platforms fighting for customers and trying to secure a place in the future of online video. These businesses will need to differentiate themselves from the pack or they will find themselves either fizzling out or being acquired since the VC world has all but stopped investing in OVPs outside of Ooyala and Kaltura both closing ~$20 million rounds of funding late last year.
Online Video Streaming/Hosting Companies Begin to Pivot:
For the first time in the online video platform space we're beginning to see new business models arise in what appears to be small pivots.
Brightcove Moves to the Cloud with AppCloud & VideoCloud
Just last month Brightcove announced a new name for their OVP, Brightcove Video Cloud along with the launch of what appears to be an application management platform called App Cloud that can be used to build and operate native apps on websites, as well as Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones and tablets. This is an interesting move for the largest online video platform provider, taking advantage of not only the over-hyped "cloud" technology, but also the wildly popular and successful app development world.
Kaltura Moves to Market their Platform via Partners & Resellers:
In another May announcement, open source online video platform Kaltura touted its new partner program designed to help their customers make the most of their online video solutions. The company is boasting that it has 100 partners geared towards system integrators, value-added resellers, media consultants, OEMs and more. This is not so much a pivotal move by Kaltura, but rather another move coupled with their open source, on-premise, and hosted solutions to further set them apart from the OVP pack.
Unicorn Media - The "Workflow Management" Video Company:
Another big play in the space came from Unicorn Media just a few weeks ago with its unique ONCE platform allowing publishers to upload content one time and seamlessly syndicate it out to any mobile device. It not only pushes content out ubiquitously, but also dynamically monetizes it and provides real-time analytics so publishers can see how their ads are performing from any ad provider including their own. Unicorn continues to define themselves as a "workflow management" video company, similar to Twistage, allowing its solutions to be plugged into existing systems reducing the complexity of disparate systems or large scale build-outs.
New Video Hosting & Streaming Platforms Keep Popping UP!
Then there are announcements from companies such as Red Bee Media, proclaiming to be one of the next generation streaming video platforms. The company's RedPlayer is an "enhanced online video platform" that includes features such as high-quality images, smoother playback, sophisticated security that utilizes the latest DRM platforms, and integration of live content. I'm not sure what's new/s here, but at least their hearts are in the right place as they clearly see, as do I, the need to further develop and define the space with new technology and improved business models.
Innovation & Diversification will Help Combat Congestion
I've seen a total of 109 OVPs come into the space over the past several years, 12 of which were acquired, and 13 that fizzled out or changed business models entirely (no longer an OVP). Despite the 12% failure rate, we saw nearly the same percent of acquisitions, which indicates to me the online video platform space has proven to be a worthy endeavor not to mention the fact that viewership is still climbing with over 176 million people watching online video in May alone. Continued innovation and the ability to remain nimble are the keys to success for OVPs and I'm sure we'll see plenty of both in the years to come.