For obvious reasons, I've kept an eye on how YouTube has partnered with rights holders over the last few months and years. There have been several deals recently which have really caught my eye, but one rumored deal, unrelated to rights, really got the blogger in me thinking. Earlier this month, it was rumored that Google was in talks to buy Brightcove -- the once "we-do-it-all" video platform, now forced (by YouTube) cut back and specialize in a a video asset management solution and cheap(er) CDN bandwidth for publishers.
I didn't really get the rumored deal at first -- I thought a premium, video asset management solution was the sort of unscalable, sales-heavy business Google would try to avoid -- but Peter Kafka's recent report on the YouTube/Warner Music Group deal re-openned the issue for me.
In his report, Peter notes:
Unlike Vevo, Warner and YouTube won’t be creating a separate site for Warner videos, and Warner won’t be creating a separate company dedicated to its videos. Instead, YouTube will help Warner create a “premium advertising platform” for its videos within YouTube.
Immediately upon reading this I thought back to Brightcove. A backend solution for Warner, while not rocket-science, would be rather distracting for the main YouTube team, and outside the expertise of Google's AdWords/Sense teams, which are more focused on direct-to-advertiser/publisher solutions -- not something built for a sales force.
For the YouTube/Warner deal to work, however, YouTube needs a solution Warner can stick a sales force on, and they need to do it fast.
I know I'm adding speculation to speculation, but I wonder if Brightcove would make a good solution for Google in that role. Sure the $80 million a year in revenue would be good for YouTube's unit, and it could further solidify YouTube in the online video market, but what if -- at the end of the day -- it was just a really good ad management solution.
I don't know the answer. Do you?