• New Forrester Report Evaluates 6 Online Video Platforms

    On Friday, Forrester Research released an analysis of 6 online video platform vendors. As with other comparison reports that come out regularly, Forrester's will have value as a starting point in evaluating options, but should be considered far from definitive.

    With only 6 vendors evaluated, the biggest shortcoming of the new report (parts of which I've seen) is its lack of comprehensiveness. Selecting the field is always a key issue in any comparison process. And when trying to evaluate a market like online video platforms, with dozens of competitors, there's a natural tension between comprehensiveness and quality/cost. The broader the field that Forrester chose to evaluate, the more time-consuming and costly the report would have been to produce.

    The downside of choosing only 6 is that a lot of other high-quality competitors, along with their particular strengths, are left out. This clearly skews overall conclusions. In Forrester's case it's also not entirely clear why the 6 - Brightcove, Ooyala, Kaltura, VMIX, Fliqz and Twistage - were actually chosen. For example, the report indicates that vendors that primarily focus on the high end of the market such as thePlatform and Digitalsmiths were not included. Yet arguably, Brightcove has as much focus on premium content providers as either of these companies do. thePlatform is also the most established player in the market, so to not include it means missing a critical market benchmark.

    Forrester used 37 criteria to evaluate the vendors, grouped into 3 categories, Current Offering, Strategy and Market Presence. The sources of the data it used to assign scores to each vendor for the criteria were vendor surveys, product demos and customer reference calls. All of this is very useful, but it appears that Forrester did not do any hands-on testing itself. Having seen so many demos myself, I've come to believe that the only way to truly get a sense of the vendor's work flow and specific capabilities is to use with the platform directly. By definition demos are orchestrated to shine the best light on a platform's work flow; it's only through using one day-to-day that a nitty-gritty understanding can be gained.

    Lastly, Forrester's conclusion that Brightcove and Ooyala are "Leaders," Kaltura and VMIX are "Strong Performers," and Twistage and Fliqz are "Contenders" feels like it could be more rigorous. For example, if statements like "stay away from these guys, they're truly inferior" or "if x, y and z features are critical to you, look no further" had been used, the reader would gain more clarity on where Forrester stands. Instead each vendor seems to have its own strengths, while weaknesses such as "...lack strong capabilities in areas such as distribution and scalability..." seem too high level.

    All of this said, for customers looking for a first-cut evaluation of a limited segment of the market (which is how Forrester itself seems to be positioning the report), it is a useful tool. Whether it's worth the $1,749 asking price is another matter. I'd recommend also having a look at sources like VidCompare.com and the market snapshot from Marketing Mechanics.

    What do you think? Post a comment now.

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