Broadcast and media service provider Red Bee has launched its first online video platform (OVP), dubbed RedPlayer. The OVP is available as a managed service, targeted at broadcasters, studios and content owners looking to offer online video to their customers.
The company is trying to position RedPlayer as a "next generation" OVP. The platform certainly supports the standard elements of a modern OVP such as multi-device distribution across tablets, PCs and mobiles. In addition, RedPlayer manages playback between devices, allowing the consumer to pause video on a PC before resuming on a tablet. Live TV, metadata, digital rights management and a recommendation engine are also included.
Red Player will control access business models using technology from Cisco's Videoscape multiscreen platform.
Red Bee's OVP launch has been a long time coming and the company seems to have developed its go-to-market strategy carefully. Much of its messaging around RedPlayer revolves around building on its traditional businesses in content creation and services, asset management, playout, uplink and encoding. RedPlayer will drive customers towards Red Bee as a "one-stop shop", rather than acting as a significant revenue generator in its own right.
This is made clearer when considering the fact that Red Bee handle the on-demand assets for most of the major broadcaster OVPs in the UK, including the BBC's iPlayer, Channel 4's 4OD, Five's Demand Five, ITV's ITV Player and Virgin Media Player. The strategy will be to draw customers into a wide range of services including playout, storage, encoding, transcoding, subtitling and metadata services associated with video assets. Clearly storage, encoding and transcoding are must-haves for any broadcaster looking to offer online video and so RedPlayer provides a means to generate additional revenue from existing customers and to exploit the economies of scale created by centralising all services into a single managed service provider. However, RedPlayer is not expected to offer significant revenue generation in it's own right when compared to linear channel creation or content services.
The launch of RedPlayer comes hot on the heels of the closing of SeeSaw, a business-to-consumer OVP from rival managed service provider Arqiva. Unlike SeeSaw, RedPlayer is aimed squarely at Red Bee's business customers, particularly broadcasters, rather than trying to build its own consumer brand. This will give Red Bee an opportunity to reassert itself as a playout and managed service provider for a long-list of smaller channels in the UK. And, whilst, all of the major broadcasters in the UK have already deployed their own OVP, there is still a potential opportunity in those which may be looking to refresh or remove in-house teams, particularly in foreign markets in which Red Bee has a strong presence such as France, Germany, Spain and Australia.