Allaire was an architect of the new company called Brightcove.system into a video format that is now second only to Microsoft's Windows Media platform in popularity for delivering video on the Internet. Now, he has started a
As with his earlier ventures, Allaire intends to shake up an industry--this time, the world of television--by allowing all types of video producers, from media giants to anyone who has a camcorder,and make money if anyone watches it.
Set in an office building at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brightcove 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. 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.
"We are trying to create a new kind of online media distribution business that has the scale of Google, an Amazon or an eBay," Allaire, 34, said. Some big companies, including Viacom and A&E Networks, are already experimenting with Brightcove's service.
"Look at what Google has done to the world of Web pages," said Josh Bernoff, an analyst with Forrester Research. "Brightcove may be able to do the same for video programming."
Allaire has a long track record as an upstart. As a junior studying politics and economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, he led a class project that was used by the state Legislature to scuttle an airport expansion project. He became fascinated by the Internet in the early 1990s and helped The Utne Reader and Noam Chomsky, the political advocate, establish Web sites.
Then he and his brother J.J. established the Allaire Corp., which made, an early tool for making Web sites. It was used by some major sites like Autobytel.com and MySpace.com, but Allaire said he was proudest that it attracted 1 million smaller Web publishers.
In 2001, Allaire was bought by Macromedia for $360 million. Allaire 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. So 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.)
"We're letting producers reach 300 million people instantly with high-quality video content and they don't have to sign a contract," Allaire said. "We say, 'Use it, and if you are successful we are successful.'"