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Open sourcing Web video with Kaltura

Sure, there's YouTube. But for content owners that want to remain, well, owners, there's open-source Kaltura.

There used to be a time when proprietary "Internet TV platform" providers Brightcove and Maven slept soundly at night...

That was life before Kaltura.

Kaltura is an open-source "video application server" and has been getting tremendous press. After spending a half-hour on the phone with co-founder Shay David today, I can see why. This is such a cool open-source opportunity. According to the company's Web site:

Kaltura's open-source platform enables any site to seamlessly and cost-effectively integrate advanced interactive rich-media functionalities, including video searching, uploading, importing, editing, annotating, remixing, and sharing. Kaltura' goal is to bring interactive video to every site and to create the world's largest distributed video network.

As the Web gets richer video content, Web publishers are going to want to have more control over the process by which video content is managed and delivered through their sites. This is why Wikipedia chose Kaltura to bring video to every one of its entries. Wikia, Remix America, and others (e.g., New York Public Library) are also using it.

The reason is clear: If a content provider wants to innovate, it needs an open-source platform with which to do so. Building on a proprietary platform is a dead-end.

As with Ringside and social networks, Dimdim with Web conferencing, JasperSoft and Pentaho with business intelligence, etc., open source makes a huge amount of sense for service and content providers by putting such customers in control and allowing them to tailor-fit software to their needs.

I asked Shay how open source benefits Kaltura, never mind the benefits to its customers. He indicated that a range of functionality has been contributed from its community, things that might not be the center of Kaltura's attention but which are very important to certain members of its community. In open source, everyone is a product manager of sorts and can add to the product's corpus.

Interested? You can download Kaltura's GPL code on Sourceforge, and give it a spin here.

Kaltura has a golden opportunity to dramatically reshape the Web, making video pervasive, compelling, and cheap. This is one of those open-source companies to keep a very close eye on.

By the way, I also really like the revenue model. There is a Community version available to download, and then a hosted/SaaS version for those who want Kaltura to take that headache away. It's completely based on the LAMP stack, of course, and suggests a highly promising business model. Download and install for free, or let Kaltura take that burden upon itself for a fee. Loopfuse and others are experimenting with this model. I think it's a winner.