Brightcove: television on demand

August 7, 2008

My experience with BrightCove was mostly positive. Even though I had difficulty watching the channels yesterday from 9pm to 10:30pm, I woke up around 6:15am this morning and I had relatively easy access to all videos. I think for people who have Clearwire and other wireless “high-speed” Internet, Brightcove may not work well. When you arrive at home and have some time to watch programs is exactly the period when everyone else is also using the Internet. For people accustomed to push a button on a remote control and to watch a television show immediately, 20 minutes or more of delay is just not acceptable.     


The channel I chose on Brightcove was Animal Planet. I especially liked the menus on the upper part of the site, with specific topics like “Pet training”, “Pet trends”, “Explore by subject”, and others. “Explore by subject” is the most useful, in my opinion, because there are a variety of categories under that, such as “Wild Animals” and “Prehistoric Beasts and Legends”.


I think the audio quality was better than the video quality. When I enlarged the videos, I could see pixels and the expansion on dimensions was not very significant. If one expects a real television experience online, it might be a little frustrating. Moreover, I had to wait to buffer long videos, even when the Internet connection was good.


All videos had short ads before the beginning of the program. I think this might be the best way to gain revenue, but Brightcove administrators should match the ads with the theme or at least with the category of the television show. I watched a commercial for Tide before watching a family of meerkats trying to hunt for food, for example. The other way they monetize is offering DVD shows and video downloads, right under the video screen. I believe Brightcove could successfully offer products related to the video. For example, adding links to pet food or a pet shop under the videos on “Pet training” or linking sites such as Expedia under “Wild Animals” with a suggestion of a trip to Africa would be a good idea.    


I believe Brightcove is similar to the websites we will see in the future of online television. It has a variety of content, it is simple to use, it has a revenue stream (still based on the ads, but they might find something else) and it has good material. I personally will keep watching other Brightcove channels, but I will only try them during non-peak hours.