This morning, thePlatform is marking its 10th anniversary by unveiling a new version of its video management and publishing system, dubbed 'mpx" (the prior version was called "mps" for Media Publishing System) and mpx Dev Kit, a complete set of APIs and documentation. Last week Marty Roberts, thePlatform's VP of Marketing, gave me an overview of mpx and a short demo.
thePlatform had 3 primary customer goals in mind with mpx: (1) to provide more efficient management of large content libraries, (2) to enable personalized work flow options and (3) to re-orient the publishing process so the beginning point is the outlet or "publishing profile." As Marty explained, over the course of the 10 years that thePlatform has been in business, the world of online video has become far more complex, with longer viewing durations, more distribution options, bigger content libraries, and more money at stake. Since thePlatform works primarily with big content providers and distributors, improving the ingest process to accept multiple simultaneous files, and then the navigation of existing files, was a key focus of mpx's development.
In addition, having done lots of research on how its users interacted with mps, thePlatform found that they each used it in somewhat different ways and that ease-of-use remained a pain point. This led thePlatform to devote substantial resources to enabling users to create their own work flows, personalized depending on their specific role in the video management and publishing process. In the demo, Marty showed how different people, tasked with different assignments, could configure their own views of mpx's 3-pane publishing console, so that just those things they cared about were visible and accessible. Multiple views can be created and then saved, so the user can quickly return to and cycle through their various tasks.
Most interesting though, is mpx's re-orientation to start the publishing process by creating a "publishing profile" such as a pre-configured video player, or a mobile device, or a third-party syndication partner. In each case, the user first configures the outlet and then specifies exactly what types of assets are required, including encoding specs, formats, sizes, etc. Then, as video is ingested and marked for its destination, the system takes over and automatically runs the various required processes in order to deliver the required files to their destination. The same occurs for assets already in the system; the user finds what's required, associates a publishing profile and prompts the system to run the processes. It's a pretty slick approach, and no doubt will be a real time-saver for users.
Marty explained that thePlatform dedicated 70% of its engineering team to mpx's development for the last 2 years. Scale and reliability have also been key goals, as the company's large customers, especially service providers, have "5 9's" or 99.999% availability requirements. While thePlaftorm is cognizant of the range of online video platform competitors, the company believes the lessons learned over the years, which help it operate at huge scale, are a real differentiator.
Interestingly, Marty echoed what I continue to hear - that homegrown systems are still the most significant competition. However, the advent of TV Everywhere and the rise of paid media appear to be tipping these holdouts toward third-party platforms. With the online and mobile video worlds getting more complex by the day, this can be expected to continue.