The recent years have brought a lot of challenges to the world of business, but it also paved the way for a lot of new industries, fostering innovation and vision. One of the major fields that grew manifold in terms of demand and innovation was the OTT industry.
Lightcast is one of the pioneers of multi-platform distribution and end-to-end OTT. They have been in the industry for more than a decade, perfecting their services, and creating comprehensive yet scalable solutions for their clients.
Their services are advanced, backed with immense experience and expertise of Lightcast’s talented and handpicked team. Together the company forms a service and support mix that is highly sought-after, making them one of the most respected and reliable OTT solution providers.
Lighting up your life – Lightcast!
Lightcast.com has been one of the leading names, showcasing its expertise via comprehensive and innovative multi-platform distribution and end-to-end OTT solutions. The company started its journey in 2010, with its headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.
They aim to enable publishers to create and manage TV Apps, Mobile Apps, Web Apps, and Social Accounts in real-time. To achieve their goal they offer an award-winning CMS, the Media Cloud, enabling publishers to upload, transcode, store and manage all on-demand contents, live-streams, gallery thumbnails and image files, metadata, language versions, subtitle files, and other sidecar files, for real-time publishing across websites, mobile apps, web apps, TV apps, and social media platforms.
Let’s get to know the initial challenges faced by Lightcast, from Marlene Kisslinger, Co-Founder & Director of Customer Care
“We always knew that we would need to invest into marketing and sales, but always kept anything which drives revenue on the backburner. For the first ten years, we were way too much in love with the product and process. For us it seemed like building the product was easy, but marketing was no priority of ours.
We focused on refining the products and services, invested into infrastructure and product development. For many years, our CEO was the only sales rep. He consulted and closed every single customer.
We went to two or three trade shows per year and customers accidently stumbled across us. Others found us online because our website ranked well with search engines. After a decade of organic, all inbound growth, primarily through customer referrals, we decided to launch our first little online ad campaign on Facebook.”
Factors aiding the growth of Lightcast, establishing their long-standing success
Customer referrals and organic search traffic brought consistent inbound growth of solid long-term customers.
The past 3 years boosted their growth which was due to a mix of timing and the launch of online marketing. Also, the pandemic and lockdown proved to be a blessing in disguise, helping them to grow their company, as organizations rapidly pushed for an online presence and footprint.
It is their management’s unshakeable determination and longevity that established their long-standing success. Lightcast.com’s sustainability and dominant presence in the market over the past decade, built a rock-solid reputation and trust among clients that makes them one of the most sought-after companies in their field, establishing a dominant position in the market and the hearts of their clients.
“We were not built as an overnight wonder to exit quickly at inflated valuations. We built Lightcast.com to service customers for many decades. In a sense we are anti-inflated but focus on intrinsic value, deep underlying tech, and long-term sustainability. If we had to choose between explosive growth during 12 months or 12 years of consistent and sustainable growth, we would pick 12 years of consistent growth every single time without hesitation.”, Marlene Kisslinger, Co-Founder & Director of Customer Care
What establishes their success is their focus and dedication to perfecting their services. Back in 2012, they accepted a handful of clients, working with their feedback and evolving their services in their development phase. They officially started accepting clients in 2014, which received a staggering response, owing to their indomitable services and support. This allowed Lightcast.com to record a 1600% rise in monthly recurring revenue within seven years.
As a SaaS company with long-term contracts for recurring business services, they can project continuous growth with comparatively high accuracy. Judging by the recent growth acceleration, they expect YoY growth in the mid-double-digits over the upcoming years, without any investment into marketing or sales, into acquisitions of smaller streaming providers, or strategic partnerships.
Services offered by Lightcast, and what sets them apart
The majority of Lightcast.com’s customers seek to launch TV Apps across the main device platforms and app-stores, including AppleTV, FireTV, Roku, and AndroidTV/GoogleTV. Many of their customers either have no TV Apps yet, or only a few such as Roku, and seek to extend their portfolio of publishing properties. The majority of Startups and Vloggers come to Lightcast.com to launch TV Apps and/or Mobile Apps for streaming.
One of the key factors why content creators and media publishers choose Lightcast.com is the cost-efficiency and opportunity to save on valuable financial resources because Lightcast.com is usually less expensive than other “patch-work-solutions”. An increasing number of large media corporations are going away from building and maintaining a patchwork system in-house with an expensive workforce and infrastructures.
Such an expensive patchwork setup requires service contracts with multiple vendors, extensive in-house staff on payroll with all of the necessary experience and skill sets, and an increased need for overhead management. Lightcast.com simplifies OTT and multi-platform publishing for organizations of all sizes – from the smallest to the largest.
Aside from the financial savings, one of the key reasons that set Lightcast apart is that they allow them to “get more done faster” through the proprietary Media Cloud real-time content and app management system. All connected publishing properties, such as apps, players, podcasts, social media channels, can be managed in one place, with syndicated workflows, and all user/viewer data and reporting is in one place.
All these factors mixed with comprehensive and precise support and services allow clients to get the maximum out of Lightcast.com, and grow. This makes Lightcast one of the foremost and pioneering companies in providing multi-platform distribution and end-to-end OTT solutions.
How Lightcast is planning to go ahead with the changing times and trends
Lightcast.com considers its customers to be the most important stakeholders in the company, regarding their client’s feedback as valuable as revenue. Their goal is to make sure that their customer-facing teams always listen to their client’s challenges, needs, goals, and requirements.
They use all of this knowledge to form their roadmap accordingly and tweak their service and support strategy, allowing clients to influence priorities. They believe that the greatest idea, the loftiest technology, does not do any good if it does not solve a problem, if it does not contribute enough value to customers.
“That is why our decision process is quite simple: take our innovative ideas, mix them with our customers’ requests and feedback and schedule them according to the value they add to our customers’ operations and goals”, Marlene Kisslinger, Co-Founder & Director of Customer Care
What’s new in the service arsenal of Lightcast?
Lightcast and its team are always looking to expand and evolve their core software service and award-winning media management and distribution system, the Lightcast “Media Cloud” ®. Works are underway for innovative Media Cloud® features and new functionalities, that include more automation features for media workflows, new monetization features, as well as extensions of the Analytics Suite in the Media Cloud®.
Their new app framework development partner MEGASTREAM has numerous new app templates and feature sets ready for integration into the Media Cloud®. They are also in the works of launching the next level of their real-time App Builder and other real-time app controls in the Media Cloud® over the course of this year.
Pillars of Lightcast.com
To run such a company that is highly vested in providing foolproof and comprehensive solutions requires a team that is dedicated, strives for perfection, and fires up innovation in everything they do. Much more than that it requires a leadership that can not only effectively channelize their potential, foster creativity, and lead the company.
Lightcast has been bestowed with great, talented, and highly capable leaders leading its direction and growth.
Marlene Kisslinger, Co-Founder & Director of Customer Care, is passionate about media and technology, but also about design and customer experiences. She is a powerhouse of ideas and innovation, but she feels that the most important thing is to remain focused and to sift through ideas.
“It is like a funnel which narrows down the most valuable ideas with the greatest potential for success. Coming from a small country in which reliability has often been valued over lofty ideas, quality over quantity, and understatement over euphoria, has sometimes been a check and balance for me. I prefer the euphoric can-do attitude over skeptical hesitation, but the focus on reliability and quality can be powerful”, Marlene adds.
Views on the responsibilities of an entrepreneur
Marlene feels entrepreneurs should be passionate about the solutions they provide to their customers and have a strong sense of responsibility to contribute towards society and the greater good. They also need to be a good listener to best understand their customer, their problems, and their needs.
“On an operational level, an entrepreneur needs to listen, evaluate and absorb in verticals: mentors, investors, customers, and employees”, Marlene adds.
These are all focus groups for an entrepreneur, people who provide valuable feedback and input to shape, sharpen and improve all products, services, systems, and processes.
The team of Lightcast
Lightcast is a micro-multinational company with small offices and teams in multiple locations. This has taught them to be mindful of good processes and communication, and a great sense of trust. Multiple teams and offices, and many young hires, have automatically required a high level of trust towards their employees, long before the year 2020 that marked the launch of the work-from-home trend.
They have implemented remote-working processes from the start of the company over a decade ago as managing multiple offices automatically requires communication over distances because certain offices and employees will always be “remote”. This gave them an edge, especially during the lockdown and the pandemic times. The team knows that they can work self-directed and that they are an integral part of shaping the company and its future.
Since the company never took on external capital, never formed a large board with glamorous outsiders, never sold to investors or sought advantages from other people’s influence and network, the team and the company’s customers became, and remained, their most important stakeholders. In that respect, Lightcast.com was built quite differently than the common model of tech startups.
All of these factors add to the core values of the company, establishing a sense of oneness within the team towards the company and its services. Also, the expertise and decades of combined experience with successful implementations and extraordinary results, make the team of Lightcast indomitable, striving for perfection, working in unison to push Lightcast.com as the pioneer and leader in multi-platform distribution and end-to-end OTT solutions.
It’s a rat race out there. How do you cope with that?
“Stepping off the treadmill periodically and letting the momentum continue to turn the wheel”, Marlene Kisslinger says. “Then step back to accelerate the wheel again. For me, those moments of recharge are best enjoyed in the Austrian Alps and on the water, together with the people I love the most. I believe nature is God’s gift to mankind, designed for us to draw fresh energy from. I can listen and hear best in the quiet serenity of nature.”
“But most importantly it is necessary to know how to step back into the rat race to continue the race”, Marlene continues. “And to quote my favorite book, the Bible, I want to “run the race in such a way that I may finish it”, not just to be a winner, but most of all to be an accomplisher, the one who saw it through to completion (1. Corinthians 9:24).
To me this simple scripture sounds much more like a marathon than like a sprint, it sounds more like finding the rhythm and stamina to endure a long, steady run, rather than rapid exhaustion on a short sprint. And that is how we build our businesses as well. That is how we built Lightcast.com.”