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Brightcove End-of-Life News for Ooyala OVP Has Customers Panicked

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Ooyala OVP customers received a message from Brightcove last week with some unsettling news. Brightcove, which purchased Ooyala's OVP division for $15 million in February 2019, announced it will discontinue the OVP completely. The end-of-life process will be complete by April 1, 2020. 

News 1"We have determined that the best path forward for our newly-acquired customers is to accelerate their migration path to the Brightcove platform," the message read. "As part of the migration, the version of the Brightcove Service known as the Ooyala OVP will be moved into an end-of-life state."

The news was jarring for multiple reasons. For one, customers recently had been assured that Brightcove would continue to support the OVP. Also, when a product is designated as end-of-life (EOL) the standard process is to create an easy migration path and give existing customers plenty of time to plan the move. Brightcove's announcement came with no advance warning and an abbreviated timeline.

StreamingMedia.com spoke with one current customer (who chose to remain anonymous) who said his organization felt blindsided. Following the Ooyala acquisition, his team had received three formal roadmap updates from Brightcove, starting at NAB, and all promised full support for 12 to 18 months. 

"This was certainly a surprise, and it runs contrary to what we were being told in the last six months," the client said.

Brightcove hopes to migrate clients to its own OVP, but the customer said that process likely won't be effort- or cost-free, and will involve much testing as well as frontend and backend development. When a migration comes with that degree of work, companies might as well consider other options, he said. 

While his organization will be able to complete a migration in the allotted time, it will mean putting all other projects on hold. His organization was happy with Ooyala and hadn't been planning a change. 

At NAB, Brightcove executives expressed a desire to unify their two OVPs, but offered no firm timelines, the client said. Later in the summer they still didn't show a firm understanding of when that would happen. 

"This is not necessarily the right way to do it, to blindside us with a fairly aggressive timeline," the client said. 

StreamingMedia.com also spoke with a former Brightcove employee with contacts within the company, and this person echoed that Ooyala customers were told that nothing would change in the near future, and had been given no warning. The former employee believes cost was the reason for the sudden shutdown—that the cost of maintaining the Ooyala OVP, even for a short period, was too steep for Brightcove. The full cost of the OVP wasn't obvious to Brightcove management during the due diligence phase of the Ooyala acquisition, the former employee believes. 

This EOL announcement comes two months after StreamingMedia.com reported Brightcove was reducing and reorganizing staff, with many in media sales feeling pushed out of the company. At the time, sources believed Jeff Ray, the company's new CEO, was orienting the company toward enterprise customers and away from media. Internal emails sent after the leadership change said the company needed to hit an aggressive 20% growth rate by 2020, the former employee said. The EOL decision could be part of that pivot, the former employee believes, and could ultimately benefit Vimeo and JW Player as media customers look for a new home. 

StreamingMedia.com reached out to Brightcove for comment, however an interview with CMO Sara Larsen was called off just minutes before it was to begin. A PR representative offered this statement from Larsen instead: "To ensure our customers have a rich experience and a more stable, secure, and scalable environment, Brightcove is retiring the Ooyala OVP. We are working with all customers on individualized migration plans to Video Cloud. Brightcove is committed to ensuring our customers reap the power and value of video technology, including access to new capabilities on Video Cloud."

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