Thursday, May 7, 2009, 8:40 AM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
Three weeks ago, in "HD Cloud Launches Video Encoding Platform, Capitalizing on Cloud Computing," I detailed how the company is offering video content providers a new, "cloud-based" approach to meet their escalating transcoding needs. Today's post is about mPOINT, another new entrant in cloud-based transcoding and syndication, whose TranSend service goes a step further by also offering metadata creation and management. Chiranjeev Bordoloi, mPOINT's co-founder and CEO and Chris Cali, co-founder and CTO, gave me a rundown recently.
There are multiple drivers behind TranSend (and others in this space): an exploding array of video encoding and metadata formats, skyrocketing premium-quality content consumption and syndication, distribution to mobile devices and various business models/rules, to name just a few.
In fact, though I'm often skeptical of vendor-written white papers, mPOINT's recently released free white paper "Content Syndication in the Cloud" provides a pretty unbiased overview of the evolving video market and the resulting operational complexities. Many of its themes resonate with what I've been hearing from content executives for a while, which are genuine inhibitors to the further development of the "Syndicated Video Economy" I've written about so often. Especially for those new to cloud-based computing, the white paper is an excellent resource. There's even a handy "buyer's guide" to assist in evaluating alternatives.
As Chiranjeev and Chris explained, one of the key differentiators for TranSend is its comprehensiveness. It offers transcoding, metadata creation and management, syndication, packaging, delivery and reporting - all performed in the cloud, which generates cost-savings and simpler work flows. Another focus is on mobile video advertising, where TranSend is able to call an ad server like DART and the source file for the requested video and on-the-fly encode both into the phone's optimal file format.
Chiranjeev and Chris said they're repeatedly told by customers that simplicity, without feature sacrifices, is a key goal. And on the cost side, with a model based on GB in and GB out, plus the number of transcodes, the price usually works out to approximately $2/GB, which mPOINT believes is a fraction of non-cloud alternatives.
mPOINT is focusing on mid-tier and larger media companies that emphasize syndication, which increasingly is most everyone. Yesterday the company announced SnagFilms, the independent film aggregator backed by former AOL executives Ted Leonsis and Steve Case as an early customer. Other announcements are in the hopper. mPOINT bootstrapped itself to profitability and took a seed round in December '08 from Greycroft Partners to tap its relationships for growth. The company is also building out a growing ecosystem of partners which currently include Amazon, Aspera and IBM.
TranSend and others offer the kind of infrastructure advances that are helping lubricate the broadband video business model. I constantly hear from small-to-mid video content providers who are enticed by the surging popularity of online distribution but are often still daunted by its immature business models and operational complexity. mPOINT and others are showing that clever entrepreneurs are steadily addressing these needs.
While executives at other incumbent encoding/transcoding vendors have told me that they have not seen any customer erosion due to cloud-based alternatives, they are watching the developments closely and planning their own initiatives. For now the largest content providers, who have the deepest pockets to staff their own encoding, syndication and metadata operations may be reluctant to be early adopters of cloud-based alternatives. Their concerns span security in the cloud to insufficient proof of cloud success as yet. But with TranSend and others addressing so many critical market drivers, my sense is that this space is going to attract a lot of attention quickly and is poised to become quite hot.
What do you think? Post a comment now.