According to the 2011 Enterprise Web Communications Survey conducted by Interactive Media Strategies, one-third of all corporations polled said they produce at least one video per week. Twothirds of the firms surveyed plan to increase their video production in the coming year, and the number of companies with online video budgets of $500,000 or more increased by 20 percent since the 2010 survey.
But half-million dollar video budgets also come with lofty expectations, and posting corporate content on YouTube and hoping for results is not the strategy to meet them. In fact, on its own, that's really not a viable strategy for a company with any kind of video budget - only for smaller businesses that have few or no alternatives.
"I think companies should use YouTube for the external posting of videos, but they should be clear what they are using it for - promotion and reach," says Eric Quanstrom, COO of video solutions provider Sorenson Media. "They should be using Facebook for the same reasons, but they should also be prepared for the baggage that comes with these services such as related videos from competitors and potentially vitriolic comments."
The fact that viewers are taken off of a business' site and onto YouTube - with its own branding and where potential customers are more than likely to see content and ads from other companies in the same industry - can present a significant issue for big brands. For smaller businesses with limited video resources, YouTube can be an invaluable solution. But for the enterprise class, it should remain only a piece of a much larger puzzle because those companies have additional options.
"For companies delivering videos on their own website and building their own video production services departments, they should absolutely use the right tools for the job," says Quanstrom.
So, here is a rundown of three of the top online video solutions providers that cater to the unique demands of the enterprise class:
Video Challenges for the Enterprise
More than a dozen technical issues related to the implementation of video were identified by enterprise-class corporations in a 2011 study conducted by Interactive Media Strategies. See them ranked 1 through 13 at Website Magazine.
The most recent offering from Quanstrom's 16-year-old company is Squeeze 8 professional video encoding, which has already achieved greater than 70-percent penetration among Fortune 100 businesses.
The Sorenson 360 video platform and Squeeze Server, Squeeze 8, 360 OVP and cloud applications are designed to help enterprise-class corporations simplify their video production by providing encoding, publishing, review and approval, as well as storage and archiving tools that accommodate delivery to any screen including mobile, tablet and Web TV. Each product also delivers video to DVDs, Blu-Ray, set-top boxes, videogame consoles and iTunes - as well as to other syndicates like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Pricing for the Sorenson 360 platform runs about $1,000 per month for the enterprise-class package, which includes 2 terabytes of bandwidth, 500 gigabytes of storage, and unlimited video durations, encoding bitrates and number of users. Less expensive options include the small business package for $99 per month, the pro package for $159 per month, and the pro plus for $499 per month.
Best known as a white label video-distribution platform for the enterprise class, Brightcove has undergone some significant transformations since launching in 2005. The company filed for an initial public offering in August 2011 and expects to make about $50 million through the IPO, much of that because of excitement surrounding the newly released Brightcove App Cloud product for creating and distributing mobile Web applications to multiple platforms.
But as an alternative distribution platform for enterprise businesses, Brightcove ranks second only to YouTube with an average of about 750 million video streams per month, according to comScore data. The August filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission listed 3,300 customers for Brightcove, most of which are global brands and media corporations.
Brightcove is often compared to Ooyala (see the Others to Consider sidebar) in terms of its business video offerings, which range from customized-usage annual contracts for the large companies and enterprise-level organizations to a variety of monthly packages for smaller businesses and startup websites. The less expensive rates start at $99 per month for 50 videos, 40 gigabytes of bandwidth for one user on one account, and go up to $499 per month for 500 videos, 250 GB bandwidth for three users on one account.
The professional and enterprise-level packages can run into the tens of thousands of dollars for an annual contract.
A brand new player in the space, Vidyard launched in August 2011 to much fanfare and recently secured $1.65 million in funding to help grow its platform for enterprise-class video distribution. Its service is similar to that of YouTube but it eliminates the need for viewers to go to a third-party portal to watch a company's video.
"A larger company leveraging YouTube to embed videos on their site is essentially exposing their viewers to the YouTube rabbit hole," says Vidyard CEO Michael Litt. "That is, ads and related content being promoted by their competitors. "We work in conjunction with YouTube to ensure that your video content is published to your YouTube channel in order to improve both SEO and social discovery," he adds. "When you embed a video on your site, it's a Vidyard player and the content is served from our servers - we don't serve ads and we don't promote outbound links."
Vidyard also syndicates with Facebook and Twitter, and one of its strongest features is a sophisticated suite of analytics tools that drills down into specific videos and their individual performances across each channel. Vidyard is trying to distance itself from other enterprise-class providers with its pricing, which starts at just $34 per month and maxes out at about $250 for 100 videos, 10 player skins, 5 users and 100 gigabytes of bandwidth per month. Perhaps the closest comparison to Vidyard right now would be the relatively new pro solution from Vimeo, which provides a less expensive business video-distribution platform but lacks Vidyard's analytics muscle as well as some other features. "There are currently no other platforms that are actually focused on the engagement and conversion via video through business intelligence and the concept of pairing this data with quality content creation and curation," explains Litt.