Enterprise Video One of the Last Blue Oceans, Says Ustream

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"We think 2014 will be a tipping point for video consumption by the enterprise," says Brad Hunstable, founder of CEO of Ustream. His company is in the middle of a shift, one that emphasizes a software-as-a-service model for enterprise customers and deemphasizes free services.

Calling enterprise video "one of the last blue oceans in video," Hunstable says that video use by large companies, whether externally to customers or internally to employees, is growing twice as fast as consumer video. Part of that is that enterprise video is starting from a low number, but he says it still shows real growth and a change in how companies take on digital marketing.

"We came to the realization that the better business model for us was clearly SaaS," Hunstable says. Companies prefer live video over recorded, which is good news for Ustream. As a part of its shift, Ustream is creating features needed more by enterprises than broadcasters. For example, it recently rolled out an add-on that lets companies collect email leads before a video will play.

"We believe that there's a really big opportunity to serve the needs of an enterprise," Hunstable says.

As part of Ustream's transition, it's moving away from free offerings. Soon, for example, it will only store archived videos for 30 days for free users. The ability to live stream for free isn't going away -- Hunstable is careful to say that Ustream wants to continue to enable the streaming of events such as the Arab Spring -- but those videos will need to be downloaded and stored with other VOD platforms, like YouTube, for long-term access. "I'm a big believer in freemium models," he adds.

His company hasn't had many complaints about the new rules, Hunstable says, noting that 80 percent or more of Ustream's traffic comes from live streams, and that many customers that need VOD has already migrated to paid offerings or were using platforms like YouTube for storage. Sometime in the next few quarters Ustream will roll out products that help customers work with other VOD platforms, although Hunstable couldn't talk specifics.

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