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Stream This!: Encoding.com: A Company to Watch

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Earlier this year, I finally got around to taking a closer look at Encoding.com's web-based transcoding platform; I've been running some videos through the system and getting some more details on the service, and the more time I spend using the service, talking to its customers, and talking to the company's founder and president, the more I like this company.

There are plenty of great hardware and software tools that enable just about anyone to do his or her own encoding. But for many content owners, it's not a task worth taking on. For some, it may make sense to bring encoding in-house and set up their organization to manage the process themselves. But for most, the advantages of in-house encoding aren't worth the effort it takes to learn how to encode video or manage the process.

A couple of years ago, the paucity of formats or platforms for delivering video made encoding relatively simple. But today, with all the different formats, codecs, devices, and platforms that exist for consuming video, it's not uncommon for one piece of content to have been encoded half a dozen times through half a dozen different specs. While encoding video is not rocket science, picking and choosing the right settings based on the type of content, the source material, and the device it will be played back on can be complex. Often times, a poor video-encoding job is really to blame for a bad user experience.

With Encoding.com's platform, all of that complexity is removed from the process. The company has done well to design an interface that meets the needs of both novice and technically experienced users. Everything about the service has been well thought out. Customers of the service I have spoken with rave about the company's support, and its pricing is very affordable.

The company is now encoding more than 30,000 videos a day, which is more than three times last summer's volume. In February, Encoding.com announced its first round of funding in the amount of $1.25 million. Company president Jeff Malkin told me that after spending the past 1.5 years building a rock-solid platform on top of Amazon and Rackspace, the plan now is to focus on using the money raised to ramp up sales and start marketing the Encoding.com service. One of the clear signs that the executives of this company get it is the fact that they raised only $1.25 million in funding. Once a web-based service such as encoding is built, you don't need a lot of money to add features and continue to improve the service.

While some might think that the CDNs or video platforms would push a company like this to the side, these companies are, in fact, some of Encoding.com's best customers. Many of the major CDNs use Encoding.com, as do companies such as Brightcove and other video platforms. While the company initially started off targeting smaller content owners, the service has grown, and so has its partnership deals with some of the larger vendors in the video ecosystem. It also has quite a few social media platforms that have private-labeled the service.

Encoding.com's executives know the market; they have spent a great deal of time and effort to create a very good platform, and, frankly, I think they are really smart.

In just about every piece of the video ecosystem, there tends to be many players but one clear leader. While Encoding.com is not the only SaaS-based transcoding service on the market, it is already by far the leader in the space, and I expect
the company to further dominate this segment of the market in 2010.

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