When I first covered Israeli startup Tvinci in 2008, I was very impressed with their innovative video player and their newly forged partnership with MTV Networks. Two years went by with a relatively low profile, but now Tvinci took a pivotal turn towards becoming a platform for paid OTT (over-the-top) videos.
Last week, Tvinci announced the launch of a comprehensive turnkey solution, that enables video sites and media companies to provide a consistent, personalized pay video experience across multiple devices. Through Tvinci’s MediaHub and MediaStore, clients can now monetize their content using various models, including pay-per-view, subscription services and online coupons. The Tvinci platform works across Internet enabled devices including connected TV and the Apple iPad.
The key differentiator of the Tvinci solution is that for the first time it enables smaller video sites to play like the pros by controlling and managing every step of the video life cycle: “from ingest through management and business rules setting, pricing and billing, to analysis of its consumption and the viewing experience of the end user“.
To learn more about the new launch and the strategic direction of Tvinci, I had a 60-second interview with Ido Wiesenberg, Tvinci’s co-founder and VP of Business Development
VC Cafe: How is Tvinci differentiating itself from players like Brightcove with this launch?
Ido Wiesenberg: Brightcove has a very good product, and they are doing a great job in addressing the mass market of publishers. Nevertheless, we do not see them as competition. When we bid for new accounts we hardly ever compete with them, or with companies like Ooyala and Kaltura.
Pay TV and multi-play operators require a custom made solution that Brightcove and most of the other OVPs simply cannot provide, and Tvinci does:
- Our clients require a solution that may include ads-supported video, but is mainly based on paid content, delivered through pay per view / subscription / coupons. There are multiple systems associated with effectively providing paid content, and an entirely new approach to the user (support, financial reporting, billing, users management, variety of payment methods, up-sells mechanisms, business rights management, different video players for different DRMs and more)
- We offer a solution based on existing, modular product, which is subject to integrations and customizations that enable us to tailor suite it to our customer’s specific needs and device strategy. We have a clear development road map, yet at times develop new features for specific clients. Brightcove simply works under a different model, and has a product which is not designed for this type of operation.
- As opposed to Brightcove, which essentially provide a CMS & video players, Tvinci offers, on top of its rich back-end (Tvinci MediaHub), a comprehensive storefront (Tvinci MediaStore) that includes a personal pages, variety of galleries, Flash and Silverlight components to choose from and multiple content discovery tools.
- Unlike Brightcove, which supports only Flash, Tvinci supports its clients’ need for various (and at times multiple) content protection solutions that depend on the target devices and the territory they operate in.
- We take responsibility for all of the integrations our clients, primarily the operators, require with their legacy systems (existing CRM, operator Single Sign –On, an existing encoding mechanism and more). Brightcove’s system is limited to very specific integrations, that cannot provide an operator with a fully synchronized TV Everywhere experience.
VC Cafe: What partnerships is Tvinci looking to make going forward?
Ido Wiesenberg:We have wonderful partners that enable us to provide a true end to end solution on multiple devices. We’re eager to expand our presence on multiple connected TV brands, and interested in partners that can make aid us for this purpose.
VC Cafe: How does mobile fit in your strategy?
Ido Wiesenberg: Mobile devices are just another screen to be on, but a specifically important one: we all carry it around everywhere we go.
Part of our user centric experience is enabling users to access our clients’ video service through their smart phones, book videos for purchase, view short clips that fit their 15 minutes subway trip or finish the episode of their favorite show, which they started watching at home on their connected TV… In short, smart mobile devices require an application which is fully connected (Over-the-Top) with the user’s account on additional devices. We will soon announce our first iPhone implementation for an operator, which is currently “under embargo
VC Cafe: Can you remind us what is your funding status and team size?
Ido Wiesenberg: Funding – We have raised $1.6 M in Round A, and enjoy a solid cash flow, which enables Tvinci constant growth (currently 25 employees).
In addition to pay OTT video platform,Tvinci also announced it will power the new video platform of Projector TV (www.projector.tv), a UK based initiative for cultural online entertainment. While Tvinci managed to put the infrastructure is place beautifully, the question I was left with was: Will users pay to consume video online? Will you?