LiveRail, a video ad management company, notched a high-profile customer win yesterday, announcing that PBS will use the company's platform to deliver sponsor messages on its recently launched PBS.org video portal and its 356 member stations' online video outlets. PBS is making an aggressive play in online video and has gained many positive reviews of its portal, which provides access to all of its full-length programs and more.
LiveRail's CEO Mark Trefgarne and EVP Nic Pantucci explained to me yesterday that they're building a suite of tools that equally addresses all 3 constituencies in the ecosystem - publishers, advertisers and ad networks. The company is focused on the following 3 differentiators to separate itself in a pretty crowded video ad management space:
Of course, the real way to validate these benefits and compare LiveRail to others is by getting hands-on and trying the platform out. I've offered similar advice in the past when assessing the variety of online video platforms.
LiveRail was started in 2007, has 15 employees and has raised $1.5 million to date, though it sounds like there may be financing news upcoming. The video ad management space includes others like FreeWheel, Adap.tv, Tremor Media (with its Acudeo product), Auditude and others.
What do you think? Post a comment now.
Please join me for a complimentary webinar thePlatform is hosting next Tues, Aug. 18th at 10 am PT / 1pm ET, "How Broadband Video Players Can Align Business Requirements and User Experience." I'll be moderating a discussion with the AP's Bill Burke, Global Director Online Video, PBS Interactive's Joshua Kinberg, Director, Video Product Management, and thePlatform's Marty Roberts, VP of Marketing.
The webinar will be highly interactive and will focus on how to use player technologies to meet online video business requirements while also providing outstanding user experiences. AP and PBS have extensive affiliate networks, making them both aggregators of online video as well as producers themselves. As a result they've faced key challenges in managing and presenting their video in a compelling, up-to-date manner. Bill and Joshua will share their best practices, and Marty will provide a broader perspective from thePlatform's dozens of customers.
Last night I had a first-hand experience about why high-quality video delivery matters so much.
As an admitted political junkie, I just HAD to see the replay of Charlie Rose's interview with Bill Clinton from Friday night. I'd read that Clinton's handlers were apoplectic behind the scenes, asking for the interview to be terminated early because Clinton had become so agitated under Rose's relentless questioning. Clinton was getting frustrated that he just couldn't quite articulate why Hillary is best-suited to the role, or why Barack Obama is unqualified.
Ok, so credit to Charlie Rose that the full episode was offered (commercial free btw, this being PBS), and that it was highlighted right at the top of the home page. But that's about the only thing right about the experience. No exaggeration, the video probably hung at least 20 times and completely failed at least half a dozen times. It ranked as one of the worst broadband video experiences I've had in recent memory.
That said, I stayed with it the entire way, because how else would I get to see the episode? However, only a tiny fraction of viewers would be as patient as I was in this situation, even despite the fact that the site still says "beta."
So memo to all content providers: if you're going to put your top assets and talent online, make sure you have a quality delivery infrastructure in place to do them justice and please your fans. Second chances are hard to come by in the online world.