Cloud video provider Brightcove looks to expand channel with new Continuum suite

Continuum is a versatile packaging of several Brightcove video products, designed to offer a variety of high-end video tools to enterprises, particularly as they face the need to connect a workforce that is now highly decentralized because of the pandemic.

The Brightcove Engage app, part of the Continuum suite

Boston-based Brightcove is a well-known player at the high end of the cloud video services market. They are not, however, well known in the IT channel, and there’s a reason for that. Until very recently, the company sold direct.  Now, however, they are growing their indirect presence within their Go-to-Market model. They see Brightcove Continuum, a newly-announced business continuity suite aimed at the enterprise market, as likely to raise their channel profile. Prompted in part by increased need for better communication tools created by the coronavirus pandemic, Brightcove has packaged several of its existing tools into the Continuum suite, to give customers a versatile option that can address the need to stay connected with employees and customers across multiple video services.

“Brightcove has always done video, although they are not well known because they have been an embedded technology and not a forward-looking technology,” said Rick Hanson, Brightcove’s Chief Revenue Officer. Hanson has a more mainstream IT background, having come to Brightcove from CA Technologies, where he was SVP & GM of North America, and with tenures at HP and RSA as well as startup Skyport Systems. Hanson admitted he had no idea who Brightcove was before he first considered working there.

Historically, Brightcove’s main market was large media companies, where they compete against big players like Comcast.

Rick Hanson, Brightcove’s CRO

“Our 4500 customers include a ‘who’s who’ of large media companies,” Hanson said. “They all use Brightcove as their back end for video. One of our products has been a website with a Netflix look to it, a gallery of corporate communications for employees. We have also been embedded in a lot of LMS [Learning Management System] systems, which many enterprises used both internally and also for consumer-facing uses.” For example, Home Depot’s  ‘How To’ videos are from Brightcove. McDonalds uses Brightcove videos to train their employees. A lot of Roku apps are built by Brightcove, both in live streaming video and in the on-demand video space.

“About five years ago, we started going after the enterprise market as well, where we compete against companies like Vimeo,” Hanson indicated. “We scale differently though. We have concurrent users in the millions, and they are in the thousands. So now we have two lines, a media line and a high-end enterprise line.”

They don’t limit their market to these very large buyers, but the realities of pricing and market needs mean that most of their customers are large ones.

“We go all the way downmarket to the local grocery store, and while we have some sales that are millions of dollars a year, we have some that are $5000,” Hanson noted. “For us, the negative part of selling downmarket is that we are a premier product – with 5 9s on the back end for example. It means that we are more expensive, so most customers at the low end would use Vimeo or YouTube.”

When Hanson joined the company in December 2018, their sales were entirely direct. They have now built a multi-channel component into their model.

“We are expecting to go from 0 to 25% indirect in the first year,” he said. “The goal is to get to 50% indirect in the next three years.

Indirect here is broadly defined and basically consists of three groups.

“One is AWS,” Hanson said. “We are one of their largest customers, and being on their marketplace was one of our largest investments.” Brightcove is also looking to get on the  Salesforce and Adobe marketplaces.

The second indirect channel is marketing agencies, who will attach Brightcove to client proposals

The third is more traditional VARs, although Hanson said that Continuum will expand that.

“It includes  CDW, Insight and with Continuum, even the Optivs of the world,” he stated. “With COVID-19 and people needing to communicate, people didn’t have a continuity plan around communication. They had no plan, no idea how to do it. So we put together Continuum, which is a packaging of a lot of our products.

“It’s a complete Go-to-Market package for video,” Hanson emphasized. “Some vendors just do livestream video for events. Some do video on demand. With Continuum, we offer an app for employees that provides the ability to do video on demand and livestream video, and provides a place to communicate with links to documents. It’s a full communication module, with several communication packages all built into one – so they don’t have to go to multiple vendors to solve problems.”

Hanson thinks that Continuum will have appeal to significant VARs who haven’t had practices around video in the past.

“It’s a challenge for us that video isn’t a major reseller practice area,” he said. “I have talked with many who I know from my connections from other companies.  CDW doesn’t sell a video communications tool at all.

As befits a fairly high-end product, Brightcove isnt looking to sign up a gaggle of channel partners to sell this.

“We aren’t looking for a lot of partners,” Hanson said. “We are looking for a few who can take us into large enterprises. We aren’t interested in trying to fight for shelf space with a reseller. But for the right partners, we want to find a new product route to market for them in their existing contact base.”

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