Whether in advertising, television, education, health, or a plethora of other industries, online video is transforming our lives and our world at an exponential rate. Predictably, therefore, the online video industry has become a hotbed for competition and innovation among startups and mature tech companies alike.
The 11 companies listed here are shaping the future of digital video by streamlining the way video is created, stored, distributed and analyzed. These innovative leaders are fundamentally changing how we interact with video and/or devising new uses for it altogether.
With its Discover platform, Snapchat has introduced a rare thing: a truly original video distribution model. With media partners including ESPN, Comedy Central and Vice, Snapchat is serving short-format content to its huge user base. Generating long-term revenue from Discover will be the true measure of success, but Snapchat has already succeeded, at least, in building a big audience. In July, when ABC aired the American Music Awards it netted 3.0 million viewers aged 13-34 on television. Snapchat's video story about the event reached a demographically similar audience of 11.5 million.
Kaltura is a robust video platform that enables content owners to publish, manage, monetize and analyze their video content. The platform is used by hundreds of thousands of enterprise, service provider, educational and media firm customers. Following its acquisition of Tvinci last year, Kaltura’s OTT TV offering is the most advanced on the market, and sits alongside the company’s other products, namely its online video platform. One of Kaltura’s main differentiators is that its platform is open source, with a community of over 100,000 developer and enthusiast members. VCs have been eager to get a piece of Kaltura, too, so far pouring in almost $120 million of funding.
WeVideo strives to democratize video editing. The company offers a cloud-based program that enables users to create professional looking video edits without editing experience or additional software downloads. The service is aimed at individual users and SMBs looking for an inexpensive alternative to professional videography. Investors are optimistic about the company's growth prospects. With $20 million of debt and equity funding already raised, WeVideo closed another fundraising round--for an undisclosed amount--last year.
In the world of content delivery, bigger file sizes mean less money. This is especially true in the case of video, since big video files cost more to deliver and are less likely to produce advertising revenue because impatient viewers click away before they actually load. Beamr's two main products--one for images and one for video--offer an automated solution to this problem. Customers run files through Beamr's software and, on the other end, get versions of those files that are reduced to the smallest possible file size without compromising quality. The Israeli company raised a $10 million venture round last year to fund growth.
Livestream makes hardware that enables live-streaming events from any camera. The company also offers analytics and embedding for content streamed using its devices. Livestream targets a broad consumer base ranging from individuals to professional organizers streaming concerts and other big events. The company told TechCrunch that it streams 300,000 events every month. Livestream reportedly hasn't raised significant equity financing in a while, which is often a good sign for a tech startup.
One of this year's notable social media acquisitions, Lynda.com sold to LinkedIn for $1.5 billion in April. The deal came on the heels of a $186 million fundraising round led by the private equity firm TPG. The big numbers reflect the fact that Lynda.com is the leader in a valuable market segment: educational videos for professional clients. The site's videos teach skills from coding to management to design and subscribers include big corporations and government agencies. It remains to be seen how LinkedIn will use its new acquisition.
Among the industry leaders in video conferencing, Vidyo has outmaneuvered industry incumbents to win huge contracts from customers like the Department of Defense and Fortune 500 companies. Vidyo has done it by being more agile, specialized and innovative than its bigger competitors, acting as a model for how tech startups can take on giants and win. Tons of capital doesn't hurt either. Vidyo raised more than $130 million in debt and equity financing between 2009 and 2014.
Interlude's software allows users to produce "choose your own adventure" style videos. The applications of this technology range from entertainment--see Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" video--to video tutorials. The company allows customers to use its platform to create video on their own or to upload content and hire Interlude's in-house design team do the rest. The company, which is based in New York, has raised $18 million of equity financing.
RR Media offers an ecosystem of digital media services that help TV channels around the world distribute, playout, manage and enhance their content. Its clients, including major TV channels, sports leagues and events, use RRMedia's distribution network to reach 95 percent of the world's population. NASDAQ-listed RR Media offers an important solution more relevant than ever to today's demographic because it allows channels to outsource the technical aspects of operations, allowing them to focus on what matters most to consumers: creating great content.
Telesofia stands apart on this list for its application of innovative video technology. Telesofia's technology is designed to improve healthcare by making medical instructions, such as outpatient treatment or medication plans, more clear through personalized video. The company's video platform allows doctors and hospitals to create and send customized videos to patients’ devices that gives personalized instructions on how to follow their doctors’ orders. The potential health benefits are significant because one of the greatest obstacles to outpatient care is a lack of compliance.
11. 17 Seconds
Online dating is a $2 billion industry and growing. Yet the most popular dating applications don't leverage video or live-streaming technology. 17 Seconds is leading the way with a mobile dating app that uses live video to facilitate more authentic connections. Users engage in "virtual dates" as a way of getting to know each other before meeting in person. Research shows that first impressions are formed within 17 seconds of meeting someone new. This startup aims to satisfy the Millennial generation's need for speed and instant gratification by merging video with the ancient art of matchmaking.
Now it’s your turn. Which video software has garnered the best results for you and your business? Have you used any on this list? Tell me in the comments section below.