eZs3: A Simple Approach to Video Publishing
A few weeks ago, Eric (our illustrious editor) asked me to catch up with a new UK company, eZs3. I was surprised to find it wasn’t from the UK’s Silicon Roundabout, nor Silicon Alley. No. From Yorkshire.
Interestingly, I find it quite hard to define eZs3 in the traditional nomenclature of the Streaming Media sector segmentation. The overall effect for the customer is that of an online video platform (OVP), but there are many differences.
In fact, the name of the company itself hints at where the company is focussed: Coming from a digital marketing background and being based in Yorkshire, Tom Cone was finding that it was hard to get the local rural businesses to adopt any digital strategies at all since it was just “not something they did.” So he began to develop online services that would help these businesses sell products and services themselves, simplifying the process as much as possible and teaching them how to use them. Helping people to use online services was an expansive opportunity.
For Cone, the story joins streaming video with a conversation he was having with a client who simply took him to task to prove he could market anything using simple online video technology.
So he took a camera to a local restaurant. And after a very quick and dirty edit and an incredibly small production budget (fundamentally nothing at all), he produced a DVD. This DVD he started to sell on its own domain: www.howtofoldexoticnapkins.com. Several years later he still sells this DVD and has lost count of how many copies he has sold, though he regularly takes the domain down since he finds it quite a chore to burn the DVDs on a one by one basis.
I have to comment here that I have heard many tales about how and why folks get drawn into streaming, but this, without a doubt, has to be one of the more unusual!
He quickly realised that, while it was possible to post relatively limited video on YouTube, the marketing of your own product using YouTube video leaves you with little control over the advertising and yet using any other commercial service (where the advertising and other factors can be controlled) comes with complexity and a premium.
He decided to start using Amazon’s hosting and delivery services to build his own simple workflow and interface for publishing, since this enabled him to create a service platform that ultimately had nominal overheads and therefore lower risk. Indeed, as he started to take on clients he changed the model to allow his clients to use their own Amazon account, paying him for the authoring and management tools that abstracted the underlying and (his clients often complained) complex Amazon interfaces.
With this was born eZs3.
eZs3's tools are available for a subscription of $20/month. Once configured with the client’s Amazon web service account details (which eZs3 help you do) the tools provide a range of means to encode, upload, and configure players with social media, advertising and overlay etc. A full range of the core services can be seen on the company website.
Beyond this he has, wherever possible, integrated with existing third-party tools (for example Google Analytics) where they can enable eZs3 customers to benefit from the function, but the support is managed (in this case) by Google. This ensures eZs3 stays nimble.
And it looks like it’s a good formula. He claims to have some 3,000 paying clients and has recently delivered his billionth video. There are many much more assumptive, over-sophisticated, and higher-financed operations which simply cannot boast of that success.
Its always good seeing disruptive small players shake the market. I know that there has been a strong drift toward self managed IaaS Cloud infrastructures, particularly in the SME sector. Cone is putting a simple proposition in front of a volume market, and he is doing it unpretentiously.