Fox.com has quietly switched from Move Networks' player to Flash for its online video, with Brightcove powering content management and publishing. Separately, a Disney-ABC spokesperson told me that ABC.com will also be transitioning from Move to Flash in the coming weeks, though both will be used temporarily.
Neither of the changes will surprise Move. Earlier this week I spoke with Move's Marcus Liassides, who explained that the company is continuing its own transition, evolving from a technology provider to content owners to an end-to-end broadband delivery platform for powering next-generation multichannel video services. Marcus said that Move has been working closely with its content customers to support their respective swap-outs.
Move was an early leader in adaptive bit rate streaming and gained a ton of visibility for raising close to $70 million, including a whopping $46 million round in April '08. Move gained notice for showing people that the Internet could indeed delivery crystal-clear, high-quality video that could credibly compete with TV viewing. For many, Move's player was very tangible evidence of how far the online video experience had changed since the pioneering days of RealNetworks' RealPlayer just 10+ years earlier.
Unfortunately the company encountered a perfect storm. First, as CDN prices fell, content providers considered Move an increasingly expensive-looking solution. Then, since Move's customers used a free, ad-supported model, as the recession crimped ad spending their ability to afford a luxury video player deteriorated. Meanwhile, both Microsoft (with Smooth Streaming) and Adobe (with FMS 3.5) both launched their own adaptive bit rate alternatives. Between their ultra-competitive pricing and large embedded customer bases, Move was squeezed from all sides. Compounding matters, Move also conveyed mixed messages about its strategy and rumors about its disjointed product development process were widespread.
Last June, Marcus provided me with an extensive overview of Move's revamped game plan, which blends Move's underlying delivery system with "virtual set-top box" technology acquired from Inuk Networks. The goal is to provide telcos, broadband ISPs and others with a platform to deliver an end-to-end multichannel linear, live, on-demand and DVR service, all through broadband.
More recently, Move hired Roxanne Austin, a former DirecTV president and COO as its new CEO, who in turn has brought in new executives to run operations, strategy and business affairs. Last September, Move announced that Cable & Wireless has partnered with it to roll out IP-based TV services. Marcus said that additional customer announcements are forthcoming soon.
Move has been on a roller-coaster ride since its inception. It is now in the delicate process of shedding existing customers as it migrates to its new model. With innumerable companies vying for a piece of the video market, Move finds itself in the middle the action once again. It will be interesting to see how the company's second act plays out.
Thursday morning update - Move has announced this morning that Eddy Hartenstein and Sol Trujillo have joined its board of directors. Hartenstein was the founder and CEO/Chairman of DirecTV and is currently the Publisher and CEO of the LA Times. Trujillo was the President/CEO of US West and of Telstra, Australia's largest telecom company. No doubt both bring significant Rolodexes to Move, helping it open doors to large telcos, ISPs and others.
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Topics: Move Networks