It was a proud moment for the online video industry when Brightcove (or should I say BCOV) made its public debut on the NASDAQ at $14.50 a share last month. The IPO and subsequent debut reinforced not only the value and growth potential of online video, but drew rapt attention from investors and venture capitalists.
For me, and others who are as focused on defining the industry as growing their customer base, the spotlight on the category can’t be bright enough. BCOV (which, in the spirit of full disclosure, is a Touchstorm partner) can and will benefit incrementally from the technological advances that will undoubtedly follow.
As the category undergoes a maturation process that will likely result in greater capital infusion, high profile partnerships and consolidation, the greatest benefit will be accelerated innovation in the areas of distribution, engagement and analytics. The fragmentation in the marketplace, particularly the lack of standardization as it applies to player technology, makes improved performance essential to these areas of online video production and distribution.
From a distribution and analytics standpoint, online video distributors are battling the lack of standardization and racing to claim accuracy and relevance for the measurement they are able to provide. The category’s top priority is to develop and establish a predefined set of video formats, profiles and containers that is still mature enough to support reliable delivery across multiple devices, platforms and browsers. Defragmenting the player will almost immediately deliver scale to the distribution function of online video.
While the industry continues to invest in the technology to accurately track results of the videos it distributes to multiple platforms, successfully adopting a standard method of distribution will also provide the advantage of monetizing those results for its clients. Streamlined distribution will lead to streamlined reporting and allow the industry to more granularly showcase the results of its work. As with all marketing campaigns, brands need to know if their online video efforts are boosting the bottom line. Online video distributors and developers are in an arms race to prove that video is not only engaging the right viewers, but also converting those viewers into customers.
The domino effect of a defragmented technology offering will create waves rather than ripples in the online video category. Standardized distribution will provide scale and deliver actionable analytics. The data obtained will allow producers to increase engagement levels by gaining insights into what types of viewers are watching what videos, for how long and when.
Brands, not surprisingly, have become increasingly focused on the role online video plays in supporting their marketing goals and objectives. Online video technology is becoming incredibly sophisticated, allowing marketers to more clearly measure and track success. As branded information and entertainment become mainstays in the marketer’s toolkit, these newer and better technologies will allow our category to increase the speed of adoption, more easily define success and scale our business models by adding the distribution and measurement capabilities necessary to do so.
The notion of online video being mostly consumer-generated content is in our rearview mirror, a direct result of content creators, curators and distributors developing better production and distribution strategies, editorial networks and measurement technologies. The Brightcove IPO, which was up 30% after its first day of trading, will serve as a model for others to learn from -- and its success will determine if it is a model others aim to replicate.