Comcast's ThePlatform Moves Down-Market With MPX Essentials

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ThePlatform, Comcast's online and mobile video publishing unit, is launching mpx Essentials, a pair of stripped-down, lower-cost services aimed at providing an easy on-ramp to Internet video for small and midsize businesses.

While thePlatform boasts several large customers for its mpx system -- including A+E Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications, Liberty Global, Rogers and Time Warner Cable -- it has not catered to companies with lower-scale video publishing needs.

The mpx Essentials service, which includes storage and content delivery network distribution, is available in two tiers: $499 per month, which includes up to 500 videos and 350 Gigabytes of streaming; and $1,499 per month, which includes up to 2,000 videos and 1.5 Terabytes of streaming.

With mpx Essentials, organizations can upload, store and distribute videos to their own websites, other sites including YouTube, and mobile phones, tablets and other devices. mpx Essentials provides a simple Web-based console for managing video, highly customizable video players, optimized video playlists to increase video views, enterprise-grade reliability, and more.

"We've always focused on the high end of the market. Now we've taken the ease of use in mpx and customized it for the mid-market," said Tim Sale, thePlatform's director of technical sales and program lead for mpx Essentials.

The mpx Essentials services uses Akamai Technologies' CDN services. Videos are pre-transcoded to support HLS, HTML5 and other formats. The entry-level packages omit certain features available in the full mpx system, such as advanced ingest and output adapters, Sale said.

ThePlatform now has "a competitive-priced offering" for smaller-scale customers, to go head-to-head with online video publishing vendors such as Brightcove, Sale said. The company has identified four industry sectors for mpx Essentials: education; retail; healthcare and pharmaceutical firms; and finance and banking.

"Fairly large companies that are just getting into video need a product like mpx, but haven't had an affordable way to do that until now," Sale said.

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