A trend piece in The New York Times from May 25 described the burgeoning phenomenon of 20-something-year-old city-dwelling women begging to borrow the HBO Go passwords of their friends and relatives in order to watch episodes of the popular series, Girls. If it was ever in doubt, it's now clear that online on-demand video has taken hold, and even has a certain zeitgeist caché. HBO Go, Netflix, Hulu, and that ilk have helped to contribute to an ever-expanding trend in media consumption habits: Consumers are getting used to watching what they want on their computer, tablet, or smartphone.
As this cultural and technological shift continues to grow, it's not just media and entertainment companies that will need to develop business models that involve online video in order to reach and engage their customers. Big brands in non-media industries (beverage and automobile companies, for instance), as well as smaller companies and even nonprofits - none of which are likely to have either the extensive volume of content or the in-house personnel and expertise to manage that content that the big media companies do - may begin looking for video management and publishing solutions that match more modest needs. thePlatform now offers just such a solution aimed at those potential customers.
With the launch today of mpx Essentials, thePlatform is pitching its cloud-based video-platform to mid-sized businesses and agencies. The company lists "brands, retail, education, enterprise, healthcare, non-profit sectors and more" as the target industries for the product.
Seattle-based thePlatform is a video management and publishing company founded in 2000 and acquired by Comcast as an independent subsidiary in 2006. The company provides an open, central hub for managing and syndicating videos across PCs, mobile, and TV for major media companies. Some of thePlatform's major customers include television networks such as A&E, Outdoor Channel, PBS, the Travel Channel, and truTV; and cable providers such as Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications, and Time Warner Cable.
In aiming to scale its product for a broader audience of non-media companies, thePlatform's focus was ease of use.
"How can we take a high-end system and simplify it, taking out the complexity to make it accessible for smaller non-media companies?" Tim Sale, director of technical sales and program lead of mpx Essentials, asked rhetorically in an interview. He went on to use the analogy of a luxury car manufacturer putting out a scaled-down model of its signature vehicle to make its brand more accessible to the masses.
The mpx Essentials product utilizes a simple, web-based console where users upload, add metadata, and publish their video content. That content may consist of advertisements, excerpts of performances, educational content, or any other kind of video a non-media company may wish to disseminate.
The product also features comprehensive options customizing video players with preloaded skins, as well as the option to deisgn your own skin, which allows customers to add their own logo and branding. Additionally, mpx Essentials offers functionality to publish video content across the full spectrum of platforms, including PCs, Macs, tablets, and smartphones.
"With mpx Essentials, we're making our premium video platform broadly available for the first time," Ian Blaine, the CEO of thePlatform, said in a press release announcing the launch of the product. "More and more organizations are using video to communicate with their customers, employees, and stakeholders, and their needs are rapidly evolving. With mpx Essentials, customers can grow with us, and benefit from an easy, affordable, and reliable system - trusted by many of the most prominent media companies in the world."
The product will be offered in two different pricing packages: a $499 per month package that offers storage for 500 videos and is tailored for content that will receive up to 50,000 views per month; and a $1,499 package that includes storage for 2,000 videos and includes a few enhanced features, which is aimed at companies expecting up to 500,000 views per month.
It seems inevitable that a broader and broader swath of industries - not just the usual-suspect media companies - will begin creating (and managing) robust repositories of online video. What remains to be seen is whether any of that content will become the subject of the next New York Times trend piece.
("Empty television studio" image via Shutterstock.)