NYC based The FeedRoom has been around for almost ten years and I still remember sitting down with them at Globix in 1998 helping them evaluate their business plan. In the past decade, the company has changed their strategy numerous times and prior CEO's Jon Klein and Bart Feder both re-focused the company on many occasions. Over the past year, new CEO Mark Portu is once again re-aligning the focus of The FeedRoom, but this time, is going to back to their core strength in the enterprise video market.
Last Friday, The FeedRoom launched their new website with a focus on showcasing their solutions and strength in the enterprise video market for asset management, video platforms and webcasting. Their new tag line "Built For Business" highlights the value in enterprise video which from day one, has always been The FeedRoom's strength. For a long time, customers found it very hard to explain what The FeedRoom did and it was nearly impossible to put them in a solutions bucket. They built custom players, did webcasting, built asset management platforms, shot video productions, did encoding, went after both entertainment and enterprise customers and did a whole host of one-off professional services work. It was very hard to tell what The FeedRoom's core strength was and their message to the market wasn't clear of who they were and what they wanted to be. The company was still getting the vast majority of their revenue from enterprise customers but their systems weren't truly setup to scale. Technology issues plagued the company and customers didn't know if the company would be able to raise more money.
In September of 07', Mark Portu stepped in as the new CEO, raised a sixth round of funding totaling $12M and executed on a plan to bring in more technology and marketing help. His first goal was to fix the issues with The FeedRoom's technology platforms and add the kind of scale needed for enterprise focused customers. In December, The FeedRoom acquired ClearStory Systems and added their digital asset management platform to their offering. The company added new technology and marketing resources and re-aligned all of their offerings into products and services focused around the enterprise vertical. The new website is a reflection of that and does a great job of clearly spelling out what The FeedRoom offers in the way of digital asset management and video publishing platforms.
Mark says that not surprisingly, corporate customers and media B2B is growing faster than media B2C. For me personally, I love seeing The FeedRoom delivering the enterprise video message externally. While the company never abandoned enterprise video, it's not been part of their marketing message for many years. With new marketing resources on-board, a new website and a clear company wide focus, customers and the industry should now have a better sense of what the kind of business The FeedRoom is going after. Not to mention, there is still a lot of enterprise video business taking place in the market and very few companies focus on the enterprise video space.
The FeedRoom has survived a lot longer than many of the other companies in this industry but at some point, they are going to have to turn profitable. They have come close at times, but have never really been able to sustain the momentum and make money. Over the years, they have been close to selling out on many occasions, but with their new round of funding and new branding in the market, now is the time for them to show the industry that they can be profitable as a stand alone company. It's anyone guess if they can, but with their new focus, if they don't overextend themselves, the margins on enterprise related business versus media and entertainment gives them a good shot at making it.