Jeremy Allaire said he received a flood of phone calls last Tuesday from independent video producers who were jazzed up after learning that his startup company, Brightcove, would make it easier for them to distribute video content through AOL.com.
Video producers hoping to get their content in front an audience with the reach of AOL.com — ranked the 19th-most-popular Web site worldwide — previously needed to pitch their content directly to America Online executives.
Now, through an agreement Brightcove struck with AOL last week, producers will be able to automatically upload content to AOL.com and get paid for ad revenue or subscription fees.
“We’re creating huge distribution leverage for those small publishers that they can never achieve on their own,” Allaire, Brightcove’s chairman and CEO, said. “In some respects, we’re automating the business-development process in getting a distribution deal with AOL.”
Brightcove, pitching ad-sales and content-distribution services to independent producers and established media players looking to reach viewers via the Web, also raised $16.2 million in a second round of financing.
Well-heeled new investors include AOL, Barry Diller’s InteractiveCorp., Hearst Corp. and Allen & Co. Diller joined Brightcove’s board.
Allaire said Brightcove is talking to divisions within both IAC and Hearst about distributing their video content on the Web, but he declined to talk specifics.
Brightcove has said its customers include companies such as Oxygen Media, Viacom Inc. and A&E Television Networks but hasn’t yet announced which content providers will supply programming to AOL.com beginning next year.
AOL plans to launch a dedicated In2TV service in January, which will offer 300 Warner Bros. series to all Web surfers, for free.
Allaire said content supplied by Brightcove for AOL won’t be packaged with In2TV. Instead, it will be placed on other sections of AOL.com, and the content will also be available through video searches on AOL.
The AOL deal is nonexclusive. Allaire declined to discuss talks with Google Inc. and other Web players, but suggested that similar agreements to distribute video content may be in the works.
“In many respects it’s [the AOL agreement] been designed to be a template for other forms of broad distribution that Brightcove will be attempting to put in place for content owners over the next year,” Allaire said.
Brightcove is pitching content owners an automated system that would allow them to build branded video channels through their own Web sites or through affiliates’ Web sites, such as AOL.com. Allaire said producers will be able to opt to make the content available to all Web surfers in advertising-supported models, or they could also choose to charge people for accessing the content.