Google Buys Brightcove Rival Episodic for YouTube

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-04-02

Google April 2 confirmed it has acquired Episodic, which makes a platform for broadcasting live and on-demand video over the Web.

Website publishers, marketers and businesses use Episodic's platform to stream, analyze and serve video content to their audiences through computers, mobile devices and IPTV devices.

The startup also offers content management and sells an ad server to let customers insert ads in videos and bill via credit cards. Currently, Episodic will work on the Apple iPhone. Android, BlackBerry and Symbian device support is reportedly on the way.

Co-founders Noam Lovinsky and Matias Cudich, who announced the news on the Episodic company blog, said new account sign-up has been suspended. Existing Episodic customers will continue to use the service they pay for, though a representative from Episodic will contact customers to discuss transition planning and the available options.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the deal in an e-mail to eWEEK:

"We were impressed by the Episodic team, the vision they have for Internet video, and the progress they have made in bringing a great video experience to the Web. Online video should be engaging, entertaining, informative, and effective. Both Episodic and Google place value on creating a great experience for viewers and on delivering a powerful and flexible platform for publishers, marketers, and advertisers."

Both acquirer and target were vague on specifics. Episodic said its team will "continue its work to bring a great video experience to the Web, mobile phones and IPTV devices." TechCrunch reported that Episodic's technology will be folded into YouTube, with its staff joining the week of April 5.

YouTube and Episodic overlap in some areas, as both help publishers and marketers serve video to their audiences from Web-connected devices. Both use analytics to give publishers an idea of how much or how little their content is being consumed on the platforms. And both certainly are learning how to make money from pairing video content with advertising.

This acquisition shows that Google is quite serious about expanding its Web video purview, which makes good business sense. Consumers are uploading 24 hours of video per minute on YouTube, which just received a user interface cleaning.  

Google recently purchased On2 Technologies, a video compression codec maker, to shrink packets of video data.

Episodic is a viable rival to the larger Brightcove, which was rumored to be in acquisition talks with Google in 2009. Brightcove, which could have cost Google $500 million, just unveiled a framework for HTML5, which Google is banking heavily on for the Web.

Google has been on an acquisition tear of late, acquiring Web photo editor Picnik, collaboration software makers DocVerse and AppJet, social search engine Aardvark and mobile e-mail player ReMail.  

Google also bought display ad provider Teracent and is trying to land AdMob, a deal that is under FTC scrutiny.

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