Unmediated Media

SAN FRANCISCO — Jeremy Allaire, CEO of BrightCove, said Internet syndication of video content could lead to profound changes in the broadcast industry — and to new opportunities for producers.

Allaire gave a keynote speech at the Syndicate conference, held here today through Thursday. “Today, the global video industry is by far the richest, most powerful cultural force of all media, and far larger than any other segment,” he said. But it’s a business based on scarcity: There’s a limited number of movie theaters, a limited amount of broadcast spectrum a limited number of devices attached to the broadcast stream.

That scarcity creates a huge financial hurdle for creators of video programming; Allaire said it costs a minimum of $100 million to get a program into traditional broadcast channels. “Then, there’s a huge hurdle on finding an audience,” he said.

The Internet and Web search could do the same thing for independent, niche video content that it did for bloggers and Web publishers: unite them with consumers, Allaire said. Even better, services such as Brightcove let the content creator have an ongoing relationship with viewers.

Brightcove provides technology that lets video producers syndicate shows across the Web, as well as show ads or collect fees for downloads.

“We’re seeing a shift from closed digital video distribution platforms, such as cable or DVDs, to open multimedia distribution platforms and systems,” Allaire said. “This holds the promise of radically shifting the opportunities for content creators and viewers alike.”

For example, in November, Brightcove and AOL signed a distribution deal that will let video producers offer their content to users of AOL.com via Brightcove’s technology. To start, the video will be ad-supported, and producers will receive a share of any ad revenue generated. In future, the companies plan to let publishers to charge fees for users to rent or buy videos.

“Any content owner can elect to syndicate their programming through the AOL network and get paid for any ads or consumer purchases generated,” Allaire said. “With one checkbox, they can have a global audience of millions. That’s a pretty frictionless model.”

“It’s an open publishing and distribution model, where no content owner needs to get carriage to be available globally,” Allaire said.

In this new era of TV on the Net, content creators have a variety of distribution options, from hosting content on their own, branded Web sites to syndicating content to other Web sites either for free or for a fee. Consumer can get that content on demand, download it, move it to portable device or watch it on the TV set.

“Our vision is to open as many and as varied forms of distribution as possible,” Allaire said.

Some advertisers will have to change their tactics when moving their ad dollars from broadcast and cable to Internet video, Allaire said. But he had good news for them: “In the last ten years, we’ve established metrics for buying ads on Internet-based content,” he said, “and it’s on highly measurable traffic. Unlike broadcast, … you have real-time measurability on the Internet.”

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