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For professional organizations in the media business, uploading the bulk of their video library using a YouTube account just won’t cut it. Someone has to step in to provide video services that you don’t typically think of when you’re enjoying a video — services such as encoding, hosting live streams, content recommendations, and more.
Media companies have plenty of options when it comes to distributing their content online using tools from the cloud, so we’ve tried to outline a handful of companies that stand out. Below are six of the unsung heroes of cloud-based video: Companies that are making a name for themselves in the world of online media.
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The publicly traded Brightcove offers a full set of video services to its media clients. Its Video Cloud service enables media companies to manage, sort, and market their videos as well as build customized video players without a lot of technical experience.
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Brightcove also provides an extensive video encoding product geared toward video customers with a greater technical background called ZenCoder. It enables editors to upload a video once and then encodes the clip into various formats to play across a variety of websites, mobile devices, smart TVs, set-top boxes, and other web platforms. ZenCoder also syndicates and distributes content to other platforms, too. Founded in 2004, the Boston-based company has over 6,300 customers in over 65 countries.
Another company that’s big in cloud video for media organizations — and a competitor to Brightcove — is Ooyala, which goes beyond simply providing a hosting service that’s optimized for video. Ooyala touts its capability to gather analytical data about worldwide video usage from its clients, which it formulates into a quarterly Global Video Index report. With this data, Ooyala is able to power video recommendation and curation engines that helps its clients maximize audience attention across multiple devices.
Like Brightcove, Ooyala also offers encoding, hosting, and other video resources helpful for media companies. Founded in 2007, Ooyala’s clients include Dell, ESPN, Sephora, Telegraph Media Group, Whole Foods, and Yahoo Japan.
Unicorn Media is a unique cloud-based video service because it enables clients to weave targeted video ads into their video content and then pushes that video out across multiple platforms and formats. This may seem like a small task, but being able to bundle your video ads on the same platform as your other videos simplifies the distribution process. It also makes altering those targeted ads easier to do.
Video content itself can be accessed by a single URL, which plays the correct video format depending on the device or platform your accessing it from. That means you don’t have to worry about creating different URLs for each piece of content that’s been formatted for a specific platform. Founded in 2007, Unicorn Media’s clients include ABC News, PopcornFlix, The Weather Channel, NBC News, and others.
If you’re committed to open-source technology, or just want some added flexibility when choosing a cloud-based video service, Kaltura is your best bet. The company’s platform is based on open-source software that enables clients to host, publish, manage, monetize, and analyze their video content. And since it’s open source, clients can build features into the platform that are specific to each customer’s needs. The company’s client base is typically geared toward universities, media companies, and other video service providers. It’s customers include HBO, TMZ, Zappos, University of Virginia, and others.
If you’re looking to encode your video content into many different formats and for multiple platforms, you’d likely go with a company like Encoding.com. The company’s software enables clients to upload video directly to the cloud (via Amazon Web Services), where it is then transcoded. You can then send that video content through various distribution channels.
Sometimes media companies don’t really need a powerful suite of services to do live video streaming, in which case it makes sense to go with something smaller, like Ustream. In addition to its consumer-focused service, Ustream also offers customers a premium option that comes in three different tiers (from $100 to $1,000 per month) as well as an enterprise option. The premium tiers offer clients the capability to cobrand the livestreaming platform with their own logo, unlimited video storage, 720p quality broadcasting, social network integration, and up to $5,000 hours of ad-free video streaming. The enterprise tier 1080p quality broadcasts, but you’ll need to contact the company for pricing.
The downside to Ustream is that you have to make some sacrifices. You’ll either be tied to using some of their platforms when offering video across multiple platforms, or endure some level of advertising. Still, this might be the best option if you’re only looking for a livestreaming video option and don’t need to integrate video ads or manage a bulk of on-demand video content.
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