According to a tweet by Mark Glaser from PBS’s MediaShift, Google is in talks with the white-label Internet video provider Brightcove and wants to acquire the company for up to $700 million. Brightcove’s customers include a large variety of large enterprises such as the New York Times, Showtime, Universal Music, AMC, AOL, and the Weather Channel. If this rumors turns out to be true, this acquisition would easily turn Google into the dominant commercial Web video provider.
While Brightcove started out as a consumer video service, the company’s half-hearted attempts at convincing consumers to host their videos on Brightcove.TV came to an end when Brightcove shut down that site in November 2007. Last November, Brightcove also shut down its free Brightcove Network, which featured content from roughly 40,000 publishing partners.
This June, Brightcove’s CEO Jeremy Allaire told Sillicon Alley Insider that the company was now profitable and that he expected the company to see a 50% revenue growth in 2009.
Is Google Buying Brightcove’s Tech or Its Customers?
While Google could obviously offer the same kind of services Brightcove currently offers on its own YouTube platform, Brightcove has already locked in most of the customers that Google would also be competing for. Also, while YouTube was designed as a consumer platform (even as Google is slowly moving to featuring more commercial content on the site), Brightcove has set up a platform that gives enterprise customers the flexibility and metrics they need. In the end, though, if this rumor is true, Google is most likely more interested in Brightcove’s customer base than in its technology.
We asked both Google and Brightcove for a comment about this rumor and will update the post when/if we hear from them.
Update: as Dan Rayburn points out in the comments below and on his blog, Brightcove’s setup requires its customers to use third-party content-delivery networks like Limelight to stream their videos. If Google really acquires Brightcove, this could turn out to be a problem, as it would keep Google from being able to use YouTube’s (cheap) infrastructure.