I was recently given a demo of 23 Video, a Danish online service offering a plug and play web-tv platform to set up ones own web-tv channel.
The first thought that crossed my mind during the demo was the feeling of sligth anxiety that occurs when checking out the roaming costs on the phone bill. If not chockingly high, they're usually more than expected. Even though you had checked out the costs in beforehand and were being sensible using your phone abroad.
How come? Because it's the exact same feeling of uncertainty and confusion one often faces when dealing with streaming costs. It already starts with the business offer letter, usually three pages long with no mention of the actual final cost. And that after a meeting with a sales person who's supposed to know your needs and demands by then. Need a video player, too? Call some more people.
23 Video is determined to kill that mumbo jumbo and all talk about difficulties surrounding online streaming and setting up ones own web-tv channel.
Tearing down the barriers to entry
When talking to Steffen Tiedemann Christensen and Thomas Madsen-Mygdal, two of the co-founders, it was quite clear that the mission of 23 Video is to make it super easy to experiment with video by removing all the thinkable risks.
One can try out the service for free for 14 days without any commitments. 23 Video applies a fixed monthly price model costing DKK 3 500 (ex. VAT) per month (approx. USD 700). One pays for three months at a time, the price including 1 TB bandwidth, which corresponds to the playback of about 175 000 minutes of video (about 60 000 small video clips).
23 Video is a SaaS solution, so one doesn't have to install any software. It all runs on 23's server farm. It supports most video formats and the conversion is done automatically no matter which format or device is used on upload. One can embed video player into any publishing platform, and theres's a built-in support for mobile devices. No editing features are available, though, so that should be cleared out of the way, e.g. JayCut, prior to uploading.
The service includes statistics fucntion which is possible to use together with ones own statistics software such as Google Analytics or Clicky. One can also easily distribute the content to Facebook and share throughout the social web (I really liked this instruction video on connecting to Facebook.)
On top of that, there're no limits regarding users, number, or the lenght of the uploaded videos.
Aren't there any downsides
Competition? For sure. With services like Vimeo, Blip and YouTube there's plenty of platforms to chooce from to broadcast ones streaming content. But, each and one of them have both their pros and cons regarding size of the uploaded content, uploading speed and advertising, to mention some. That's also where other facts and softer values become more business critical. 23 Video needs to be doing something different.
Besides from the clear pricing strategy and plug and play approach, what I find as the most competitive feature, is the effort the company puts in enabling customers to get started. For that purpose they've started both the support community, as well as the recommended partner program. Things get so easily stuck on the drawing board as soon as the time or competence needed is not found inhouse. Recommended partners can help out customers with both the concept, design and production of content.
When pointing out the obvious question about the company's cost structure, both Steffen and Thomas sounded confident. I do hope that they've done their math well, as well as cut some good deals on the distribution costs.
The service is to be launched in English having at the moment 75, and counting, Danish sites up and running in just within 5 months. One can get a hint on how the service works in practice by tuning in The Danish Architecture Centre, DAC.
23 Video is one of the nominated companies at SIME awards this year.