Saturday, February 27, 2010

CEO Conversations: Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura - Part 2: Kaltura's Value Proposition is "Truly Disruptive"

In part two of my CEO Conversation with Ron Yekutiel, he describes the disruption that Kaltura caused within the online video market with the release of Kaltura's Community Edition, a free and self-hosted version of Kaltura's Video Management Platform, which was announced at the OSCON Open Source Convention in July 2009. In an industry that has been fairly commoditized in a competition based mainly on feature sets and price, Kaltura comes to the space with a completely different value proposition which Ron asserts is "truly disruptive" – and he makes a strong case for Kaltura's unique offering, for publishers faced with the build vs. buy conundrum.

Ron discusses the value of Kaltura's open source Community Edition as a way for publishers who built their own solutions to take the entire code base an put it behind their own firewall, customize it and integrate it with their existing legacy systems. He differentiates Kaltura from other "closed" SaaS offerings even if they have open APIs are still focused on providing a given application, in most cases primarily for media and entertainment.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsfree video player

Larry Kless: Can you discuss the recent announcement at OSCON of Kaltura's Community Edition and how you see it as disruptive for the online video space?

Ron Yekutiel: So Kaltura was formed about 2 years ago and we had initiated or launched our first product about a year and a half ago, and initially what we have done is provided SaaS similar to other companies but the client software that we had released was completely open source. What that effectively meant was that companies would be able to integrate our tools in a much easier way because the code was available, and we've provided also the SaaS offering at the lowest price on the market. So they had received more, for less and were able to integrate that into other 3rd part platforms beyond media and entertainment – integrated into content management systems, integrated into e-Learning, integrated in health care solutions, etc.

What happened this week was very important and extremely disruptive for the market, and we had announced the release of our Community Edition. Kaltura's Community Edition is the back end, the server side of our video management platform. what is in charge of encoding, data management, statistics and analytics, etc. – and today coupled with a client and the back end side, both of which released, both of which available – customers, publishers could download the entire toolkit and not use Kaltura's services. In fact, they could self-host it if they wish, put it behind their own firewall and get the entire thing for free without any vendor lock in. Be that vendor lock in for Kaltura or vendor lock for any other vendor. What does treat actually mean? and by that we'll really understand the value of the open source move here.

Until now, publishers have had two main dilemmas – do they build or do they buy?

The overwhelming majority have built solutions – meaning, they would use Windows Media, or they would use Flash to create their own environment. Small sites did that because it was cheaper. Big sites did that because that wanted to remain in control – they didn't want to give their content to any SaaS provider – and they also want to be able to enhance feature sets whenever they like. Or to really customize it to greater extent than possible with some of the APIs out there. So again, most actually chose to build.

Some actually went a buying option, and the only alternatives to date were these SaaS vendors. Kaltura breaks the build vs. buy conundrum. Our platform enables the companies that have built – not to start from scratch. Which was the biggest problem, since you needed to have required domain expertise to create the level of solutions that our companies have provided to the industry. Now they can take the Kaltura co debase, build upon it, or even just use it as is, keeping all of the benefits that they had in the build option – which are:
  • The ability to put it behind your own firewall, in your own secured environment
  • The ability to enhance it to a much greater degree
  • The ability to integrate it into with your 3rd party legacy systems as you wish
  • And, at the lowest price point possible, which is free, it doesn't get lower than that.
So when you add all these compelling offerings, Kaltura provides more, it provides it cheaper , and it provide it in a more secure fashion for the publishers – and as such is truly disruptive. To date we have seen our SaaS offering used by about 35,000 sites already. In the very new release of our Community Edition has already been adopted by than 1,000 websites already in the alpha stage – among them are top universities, top security and defense environments, health care organizations, etc. We have had a dozen or so different integrations point created on top of Kaltura, with and that I'd like to emphasize one additional point.

The closed SaaS offering, even if they have an open API are still focused on providing a given application, in this primarily media and entertainment. Because Kaltura is so open flexible and could be completely self-hosted,we are not an application, rather a toolkit or a Swiss army knife that enables 3rd parties to build applications on top of us. We are one step higher, if you may, in the value chain than the rest of the existing closed application sets – and the vision of the company eventually, where today there is in the open source world a LAMP stack. Which comprises of Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP and all that's required to have robust enterprise-grade open source functionalities, is add that K into the LAMP stack – a KLAMP stack, if you may. "

Assuming that every web service, every web product – from CRM to ERP to enterprise collaboration, etc. – would need to have a component around rich media, we are the building block that enables them to build that, and to own that, and to service that, and that is truly disruptive in an industry that until now has been fairly commoditized in a competition that's been predominantly based on feature sets and price, we have come with a completely different value proposition, and we're really excited about this disruption.

End of Part Two of CEO Conversations with Ron Yekutiel, stay tuned for Part Three.

See Part One