RealTime IT News

Video Syndication AOL's Next Big Thing

Internet TV startup Brightcove got a little help from some new friends today.

The online TV firm announced a video-content distribution partnership with AOL , the appointment of Barry Diller to its board of directors and $16 million in funding from investors.

The AOL deal places the year-old Cambridge-based company in an enviable position to deliver a greater range of open Internet TV services expected to enable video publishers to build broadband businesses that reach consumers directly through the Internet.

"It's a pretty unique agreement in the realm of Internet TV," Jeremy Allaire, Brightcove chairman and CEO, said. "We're talking about the open distribution of video programming over the Internet. It's about aligning content with audience sets."

Allaire said Brightcove, which assists programmers in syndicating shows across the Web and collecting fees from it, is working with the other strategic investors, as well as a variety of companies that will bring more content to consumers.

The service, to be launched next year, will offer only advertising-supported video in the beginning, but later will allow publishers to charge fees for users to rent or buy videos, according to Allaire.

Brightcove offers Internet TV services for video publishers ranging from small independent producers to major media companies looking to build their businesses by distributing and monetizing their video programming through broadband channels, according to Allaire.

As a result of the deal with AOL, video publishers using Brightcove have the option to syndicate their video content directly to AOL.com, said Allaire. The companies can also market a co-branded version of the Brightcove service as the self-service platform for publishing video on AOL.com.

For its part, the deal strengthens AOL's continuing effort to be a leader in video content on the Internet, providing a wide range of options it previously did not have.

"Brightcove gives us access to content from small and medium-sized publishers and allows those publishers to get into the game with broader distribution," Nicholas Graham, a spokesman for AOL, said.

Allaire said the interest and growth of his company's service signals a drive by media companies to put more video content on the Web, which can be seen in the continued growth of advertising.

The syndication to AOL now enables publishers to generate revenue from advertising and pay media sales of their content on AOL.com and other video gateways on the AOL network of Web properties.

"This initiative takes AOL.com to a whole new level in this space, helping to advance our goal of being the best destination for video content on the Web," Jonathan Miller, chairman and CEO of AOL, said in a statement.

Previous moves in this space by AOL include plans to stream episodes from Warner Brothers' television programs free on the Internet.

As early as January, viewers will be able to watch old TV shows delivered across Time Warner's Internet division America Online on a broadband network called In2TV.

Other companies seem to be chasing the same advertising dollars.

Google launched a beta version of Google Video earlier this year and Yahoo has also entered the market.

Brightcove also closed the latest round of financing with The Hearst Corporation and Allen & Company LLC, which joined existing Brightcove investors Accel Partners and General Catalyst Partners, to invest $16.2 million in the company.

In related news, the company also announced the appointment of Barry Diller, chairman and CEO of IAC/InterActiveCorp. and chairman of Expedia to the Brightcove board of directors.