Over the past decade, there’s been a sea change in the way people consume video content. Today’s viewers can download and stream multimedia on their computers, as well as on mobile apps, social media sites, and a variety of connected TV devices, such as Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV.
Thanks to the proliferation of outlets—and a steep drop in production costs—you no longer have to be a major broadcast network or media conglomerate to gain viewers. Now, even small businesses, state and county governments, and churches are using these non-cable outlets, commonly referred to as “over the top,” or OTT, to reach a whole new audience.
While the barriers to entry are certainly less insurmountable than in the past, independent producers still need the tools to upload, manage, and publish their video and audio content on a wide range of media platforms. Lightcast.com has been helping clients overcome this exact challenge since its inception in 2010.
The company, which has offices in the United States (Charlotte, North Carolina) and Europe, bills itself as the one-stop shop for all its clients’ publishing needs. In addition to providing transcoding services—it creates more than a dozen renditions of each video in different bitrates—it offers a fully functional content management system and the ability to distribute multimedia using one of the world’s largest server networks.
It also helps organizations monetize their content by creating advertising, pay-per-view, and subscription strategies. By eliminating the need to work with video ad networks—what it calls the industry middlemen—the company claims content creators can boost their net revenue.
The “Democratization” of Video
“The shift away from mere streaming on websites to OTT has kept all streaming providers and online video platforms on their toes,” says the company’s managing director, Andreas Kisslinger. “Lightcast.com, in particular, has really enjoyed, welcomed, embraced, and promoted this change as we see the new publishing channels and platforms as a huge opportunity for media publishers.”
For Kisslinger, the changes in the media landscape enable organizations of all stripes to amplify their messages and to expand their reach.
“It’s a chance for democratization of information flow, creativity, and entrepreneurship among independent producers, of which many are highly successful,” he says.
Lightcast, whose Media Cloud solution won the Gold StevieⓇ Award in The American Business Awards® for New Product or Service of the Year in the CMS category, has tapped in to those opportunities as well as anyone. Its software suite now helps support a multitude of media outlets on social media, connected TV, and mobile apps. Today, InTouch Ministries, Foody TV, and All About Golf are among the thousands of clients Lightcast helps connect with new audiences. It’s an impressive achievement for a company that started with little and worked tirelessly with its “bootstraps” mentality.
“We are all young entrepreneurs from various countries. All self-funded and self-made, without any venture capital or connections behind our backs,” says Kisslinger. “Instead of using investment capital, we built our business exclusively with sweat, blood, and tears—and, most of all, the satisfaction of our customers who share their excitement about our products with others."
Kisslinger acknowledges that keeping a trans-Atlantic operation going isn’t always easy, though. The staff has to continually navigate language and time zone differences to make it work. For Kisslinger, however, what they have in common is more important: a desire to go above and beyond for their customers.
One of the company’s keys to success is a relentless pursuit of the perfect multimedia publishing suite.
“We have a proprietary CRM system and database in which we record every feedback, every wish, and every need customers send us. We do this in order to refine the user interfaces and feature sets of our software-as-a-service offering,” says Kisslinger.
This approach helped the company earn numerous awards for product design over the past few years, but for Kisslinger, snagging the Stevie Award was particularly satisfying.
“We regard the Stevie as one of the most important and prestigious awards a business can win,” he says. “It’s boosted the excitement and self-esteem of our teams—especially among our hardworking coders, web developers, and graphic designers. Everyone is especially excited and grateful over this year's award,” he says.