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Online pioneer looks to shake up TV

Jeremy Allaire, an architect of Macromedia’s Flash technology, has founded a new company aimed at allowing television producers to market their programming directly to viewers over the Internet.

Called Brightcove, Allaire said he plans to shake up the television industry by allowing all types of video producers — from media giants to anyone who has a camcorder — to put their work on the Internet and make money if anyone watches it.

Set in an office building at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, Brightcove, according to a New York Times report, will offer three interrelated online services. It has tools that let television producers load their video onto its servers, arrange them into programs and display them to Internet users. It will help producers charge fees for their video, if they choose, or sell advertising on their behalf to insert into the programs. And it will broker deals between video creators and Web sites that want to display the video, arranging for the profits from such arrangements to be split any number of ways.

Three dozen production companies are testing the production tools now, and a few have started publishing videos using the tools, the Times said. By early next year, Brightcove will have the ad sales and fee systems built and will open its distribution network to nearly any video producer through a Web site.

Allaire, 34, told the newspaper that he is trying to create a new kind of online media distribution business that has the scale of Google, an Amazon or an eBay. Some big companies, including Viacom and A&E Networks, are already experimenting with Brightcove’s service.

In 2001, Allaire’s company was bought by Macromedia for $360 million. He became Macromedia’s chief technical officer and helped oversee the development of Flash, which originally was to add animation to Web sites. His work with Flash video persuaded him to start a company devoted to Net video.

Brightcove’s business model does not charge video producers anything to upload their video or to create special Web pages. Instead, he hopes to make money mainly by taking a cut of the advertising revenue and fees the videos generate. (If a producer wants to distribute video with neither ads nor fees, Brightcove will charge them in proportion to how much video users watch.)

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