I like it quick and easy. I want to reach as many people as I can. And so do you. Which is why more and more of us are creating video apps for iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as for set-top boxes and other connected devices. But what are the secrets to doing it right?
SyncTV Corp.; Brightcove, Inc.; and HBO Go are companies that have developed successful video applications. Each has addressed the needs of the market segment with passion. Whether enabling businesses, empowering developers, or embracing consumer desires, these three companies have carved out a successful and growing niche for themselves.
SyncTV has developed a platform that will operate a live and on-demand pay TV service on any connected device. Yes, that means PCs, Macs, connected TVs, Blu-ray players, iPods, iPads, Android devices, Roku, and Boxee, with more in development. It provides a turnkey service of content management, payment processing, device compatibility, and user management. SyncTV is not a content aggregator, but it works with many aggregators. It is a B2B video platform and can white-label anyone’s content or service with a consistent app experience across devices.
The president of SyncTV is John Gildred. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and has numerous sales offices in Europe and Asia. John began as SVP at Pioneer, leading a group developing streaming over-the-top to television. The idea was that the group would be a Netflix-style company but would be backed by television manufacturers. Along the way Pioneer decided to get out of the television business, and after a joint venture with Sony and Phillips, the company was spun off.
About 2 years ago, instead of building a system like Netflix, SyncTV decided to build the infrastructure to support as many Netflix-like channels as the market desired. As Gildred noted, “We decided that there was a much bigger need in the market to enable companies that had content and services they wanted to bring to market rather than be just another service.” Sony and Phillips are still very much behind the plan, and SyncTV built the system and started launching services within the past year. NBC Universal was in the first group of customers and has a service in the U.K. called PictureBox, which provides all-you-can-view feature films for a subscription cost of £4.99 (about $8) per month. This is a typical application for SyncTV, and additional services are now launching in Europe, Asia, and the U.S.
The company’s size is relatively small, but it operates at a very high output. Gildred stated, “We have big customers that expect a professional operation and one that understands how to deliver for them and support them.” If growth continues at the current pace, it is likely that the company will double in size over the next year.
Do you have content and want your own pay TV channel? Gildred continued: “SyncTV works under the assumption that service providers really don’t want to do any development at all. They have great content, they know the user experience they want, but they don’t want to have to write the code for every device and platform.”
If a company has compelling content, it can select the business model it prefers. The company just needs to choose the devices it wants to target and how it wants the viewers to pay for the service. Pay-per-view, subscription, and ad-supported models are all available.
How long does it take to get this out the door? Gildred answered, “How long does it take you to get us your content and artwork?” The customer needs only to format the metadata to get the content into the system. SyncTV has an automated workflow that ingests and reformats content on-the-fly. It transcodes the content for the selected devices and reformats the artwork for each device. The customer then accesses an admin console where he or she sets the prices and organizes the content. SyncTV then provides an app for the selected devices so the customer can skin the artwork or layout for each device if desired. Finally, the app is returned to SyncTV, where it is loaded into the appropriate app store, and the customer content becomes live.
Most customers prefer the subscription model. The business charges the viewer whatever it wants. SyncTV will then charge a per-user fee to the business. If the business is only pay-per-view, the charges are based on the transactions with a monthly minimum. Basically, it’s a pay-as-you-go model.
SyncTV has successfully positioned itself as an enabler of online, mobile, and over-the-top video. Learn more about SyncTV at www.synctv.com.
Brightcove App Cloud
Brightcove App Cloud is an end-to-end platform solution for developing, deploying, and operating mobile content apps that leverages the tools and knowledge familiar to most web developers. Like all successful applications, it developed from listening to the needs of customers and finding solutions to those needs. A common theme emerged as some customers expressed the need to deliver content to iOS devices, others to Android devices, and still others to connected TVs. Brightcove realized that customers had the content but not the specialized engineering and development expertise to deliver their content to multiple devices. This realization was the genesis of App Cloud.