Livestream Launches APIs and Player Plug-In For Brightcove Platform
Livestream, formerly Mogulus, announced that it has opened up its live streaming platform through the release of a series of application programming interfaces (APIs) that can be used with the Livestream free, advertising-driven service, its premium service, or the Brightcove platform.
"The Livestream Player API enables customers, programmers, and web agencies to build their own Livestream powered video players and clip libraries," the company said in a press release, "using HTML, Adobe Flash or Adobe Flex development environments."
The released APIs include the Live Publishing, Guide [program guide], Account, and Chat APIs.
Separately, Livestream took its first foray into plug-ins for a third-party platform, choosing Brightcove as its first partner, although Livestream has also says it will support players such as the JW player and Adobe's soon-to-be-open-sourced Strobe player.
Max Haot, CEO of Livestream, answered a few questions regarding the choice of Brightcove as the first Livestream player plug-in, which was jointly developed with Brightcove to gives its customers the ability to instantly stream live and linear video via Livestream within their existing Brightcove player.
"Why Brightcove?" says Haot, "There are several reasons. First, Brightcove is more a platform than just a player and we see Brightcove's platform as a leader in the online video platform space. Second, we've developed a way for Brightcove, which has traditionally been focused on on-demand playback, to allow their customers to use a live stream plug-in while Brightcove focuses on the rest of the platform."
"Livestream is an important partner for us as we look to meet the increased demand for high quality live streaming among our global customer base," says Chris Johnston, director of technology partnerships at Brightcove. "In partnering with organizations like Livestream, we’re able to provide customers with seamless access to a broad feature set for live publishing, distribution and analytics."
Haot agreed, noting that the plug-in represents a non exclusive, first phase of relationship where both companies are promoting the other to their respective customers
"Salespeople are finding relevant interest in live," says Haot, "but customers want more than just a publishing point on a CDN, for instance, features like chat or recording to server. The benefit to this approach, via our plug-in on Brightcove's platform, is that a Brightcove customer can use the same platform they're already used to. Customers don't have to re-integrate advertising platforms, or learn a new player, meaning the user experience is the same as it was before.
Haot notes that, should a Brightcove customer choose, they would have instant access to all of Livestream's backend tools, and the same would be true as Livestream branches into plug-ins for other players.
"Additional options don't hurt," says Haot. "It opens up a bigger marketplace, plus those who want to develop rather than using a turnkey solution (especially ad agencies, who use the JW player, with its many skins and ability to customize, and for the open-source solution like Adobe Strobe."
While Haot conjectures that Adobe is more interested in keeping Flash market share than sacrificing market share by requiring everyone using Flash to buy Flash Media Servers—as witnessed by Adobe's willingness to open-source the RTMP protocol—he says the market is maturing.
"We think the compelling arguments are less about proprietary players," says Haot. "We'll see more open-source players and the back-end media management will become the most important point."
Haot also says this move by Livestream to open up APIs into its live platform, and to add plug-ins to other players and platforms, is not a strategic shift.
"We have a player that works in particular use cases," says Haot, "but we've found our player and platform don't have to be the only total solution. Hence the API will allow a user to add features while separating the player from the backend. Secondly, as with Brightcove, we've found there's a big customer base already integrated for on-demand, but that we can work with those customers rather than requiring the marketplace to use two players - one for live and one for on-demand content."
Livestream, which has approximately 50 employees split between New York, the Ukraine, and a wholly-owned development subsidiary in Bangalore, also has recently announced it has 1,000 customers on its premium paid service, and that it breaks even on bandwidth costs on its free service thanks to advertising revenues. The company also launched Twitcam, a one-week-long project that was built on both the player API and also included a custom broadcaster built with API.