Carson Conant is the CEO and co-founder of Mediafly, a technology startup in Chicago that is at once a technology solutions company as well as a network of some big name media properties online.
“Mediafly started in the consumer space and we had originally planned on having advertising be the main revenue driver for a network of shows we were hosting on our site,” said Conant. “What we found, though, was that large corporate clients were interested in our innovative technology solutions for what we call ‘Universal Content Navigation.’”
Taken to its most basic function, Mediafly makes it possible for a content provider to make all of its content available on any device while staying secure.
Yes, that statement was correct: On. Any. Device.
As Conant explained, early on in its life corporate customers came calling and Mediafly realized it was going to be more than just a network of online video content (which it also is).
To help illuminate his point, Conant uses RE/MAX as a successful case study of a client using their technology.
“Prior to working with Mediafly, RE/MAX had licensed a satellite TV channel for fifteen years that was exclusively theirs, and was quite expensive. This satellite channel was used by RE/MAX to broadcast its training materials, conferences and other content to its offices around the world.” Carson went on, “Working with Mediafly they were able to get rid of the satellite channel and their global network of employees was able to view their content in a platform agnostic manner and was only viewable to the subscriber base.”
Got content? Mediafly can play that.
What Conant meant was that RE/MAX ditched the dish and was able to send secure transmissions to its global workforce and they were able to view the content sent to them on any device they had, whether it be laptop, Internet capable TV, cell phone or other media capable device.
After explaining this Conant went on to say that, “Our mission is simple; it’s the Whole Experience: How do you make content platform agnostic and available on any device? Video, audio, documents, everything. You do it by using Mediafly.”
Conant’s statement sounds bold until a quick review of some their clients and compatibile platforms turns up names like Apple, Android, Blackberry, Roku, Logitech, RE/MAX, TWIT, AOL and CNET (The actual list is much longer).
“People and companies use Mediafly if they want to be on everything” repeated Conant. “The fragmentation in the market of different devices is our sweet spot. As soon as a customer makes a demand that we work on a certain device we get it turned around incredibly fast and as a result have a new device compatible with content in our ever growing lineup of content compatible devices.”
Another big customer for Mediafly has been television stations. “Before using Mediafly, TV stations would literally FedEx rough copies of DVDs for shows that needed editing all over the place, and at great expense,” said Conant. “Add to that that people generally don’t want to have to sit in front of a PC more often than they have to and would rather view copies on a set top box or even their iPad.”
Conant went on to explain that Mediafly was contacted by a television station that told had an emergency and told him if Mediafly could make an app that would make their video content secure as well as viewable on different devices for their geographically spread out employees, they would get the station’s business.
I asked Conant if they got it done and he answered with a smile, “Of course.”
Right now Conant says Mediafly’s biggest competition is a company that “does nothing.” “When we show a company what we can do,” says Conant, “they usually want to do business right away.”
In the medical devices field, Conant said Mediafly has a client that used to spend over $3M/year in printing brochures. Mediafly converted the brochures into pdfs for the iPad but also made it possible for the Doctor’s patients to, “watch their baby’s beating heart from an MRI on their iPad after the procedure.”
Mediafly isn’t shy about showing off its client list on its home page where it makes content available form media companies they do business with. The home page also serves as a portal where consumers can compile lists of their favorite news shows and podcasts as well as be able to watch and listen to them across any device they may happen to own.
Mediafly raised $1M when they launched in 2006 and recently raised a round of $1.5M. Conant expects them to break even and turn a profit next year although he says that may change if they decide to invest in more technology. “We could stay where we are at and be profitable with where we are,” said Conant, “but we are taking the long view and constantly increasing our reach and utility.”