Posts Tagged ‘conferences’

Streaming Media East Wrap-up

May 19, 2014 Leave a comment

StreamingMediaEast_LGI took the time to head over to Streaming Media East last week for the first time in a few years. I used to go regularly with a previous employer but circumstances hadn’t permitted over the last few shows. I thought it was time to get back over there to see what was latest & greatest in the world of online video.

The short summary is that I learned an awful lot, and it’s still kind of the wild west out there. While a lot is going on in terms of distribution options and content development, there just isn’t a single way of achieving success with a program. My preferred space of the enterprise was not as well represented as I’d like which is probably a combination of few proposals and not a ton of interest from the rest of the audience. The vendor floor was also much thinner than I expected based on previous experience – participants I remember seeing for years weren’t there and the space seemed emptier than I recall.

Key takeaways? Cloud cloud cloud; when some organizations are talking about large live events, they mean over 750,000 concurrent users; the technical infrastructure for ad serving is incredibly complicated. In the end I learned a lot, saw some old friends and made some new connections along the way – which is all anyone could really ask of of a conference. I only managed to get there for Tuesday, so I can’t say this is a full overview, but here’s my detailed wrapup:

Tuesday Keynote – Matthew Szatmary, Twitch

Call the keynote my big OMG moment – it’s only occasionally that I hear something that makes me stop and say “wow, I had no idea, but it makes a lot of sense.” Twitch, in addition to being next on Google’s list of acquisitions is among the largest delivery systems for live video anywhere, and all those people are watching other people play video games. One of my kids is a fan of those videos and I thought it was just her – turns out there are a LOT of people who enjoy being spectators to online gaming. Dan Rayburn shares some of the numbers here from Szatmary’s presentation and they’re astounding. Granted there are more people total watching the some of these events when TV is added to the mix, but online there’s no comparison. Frankly, 1 million broadcasters a month is the giant number to me – I haven’t heard of anyone that comes even close. He explained a lot of the behind the scenes needed to get this many broadcasts to work and it’s just one more facet of the streaming universe that has grown so enormously over the last 10-15 years.

Session B101: Big Streaming: Technical Challenges of Large-Scale Live Events

Not my bread and butter here as I’ve never streamed to the kinds of large groups that MLB and WWE do, but it turned out to be a great session on the specific challenges of streaming to large groups of people. The “how large” issue was another “whoa” moment for me – they explained they mean over 750,000 live viewers and above. As the panelists pointed out, there’s a huge gap between many small events and the giant events baseball and wrestling are called on to deliver. It’s not a simple question of scale, but a whole other way of thinking about how you deliver your streams. Some of the keys here are thorough pre-planning, contingency planning and on-the-fly metrics reviews. The latter was an interesting point – you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with reporting or you won’t get what you need in timely fashion; you also don’t want every jot and tittle or you won’t be able to separate the important information from the junk. Social is also a big key – hints about which games are heating up can tip the production teams off about likely increasing demand for those games. One last thought that should be applied in all cases – when your viewers are paying for a premium product, they expect the best experience possible and you just have to deliver excellently.

Session A102: Content Management Strategies for Enterprise Content Platforms

Surprisingly, not my favorite session of the day. It was one of the few targeted specifically at the enterprise user and I think I was expecting a bit more than I got. The presenters were fine, but a lot of it seemed to focus on how they built their programs and not on the content management process itself. I admit I know more that some people on this subject, but to me the meat of this would be in the content decision making process and the internal/external production debate. Every organization goes through those kinds of exercises – what stays in house, what goes out and why? More discussion about the use of user-generated content would have been welcome as well.

Session B103: Choosing a Corporate YouTube System

A pretty good session overall, though it turned into more of a comparison of available systems and specific implementations of those systems than I think I was expecting. I’m interested here in the strategic thinking – do we allow user generated content or not? What restrictions do we put in place? How is it administered? What kind of security is needed? Again, more strategy here would have been welcome, but in retrospect I don’t think that was the intent of the session.

Session A105: Server-Side Ad Insertion: Reducing Video Player Complexity & Improving Reliability

Another wake-up call for me in this session. I know much less about the ad-delivery world than I should, and based on this session there is an enormous amount to learn. The technical aspects of this are quite complicated and I admit freely I was lost at more than one point during the discussion. For a lot of companies on both ends, however, this is life & death. For the content owners, revenue depends heavily on the ads; for the advertisers, the eyeballs are what they care about; and for the ad serving companies, there are a lot of moving pieces to ensure that both forms of content (ad and programming) are delivered smoothly and correctly. I don’t have a lot of interest in the ad delivery side of things, but it was a good session to go to as a reminder of the huge impact advertising has on the streaming ecosystem.

Image courtesy of; used with permission


The Conversation About Enterprise Streaming Video

May 12, 2014 Leave a comment

social_imageThis is purely observational and not based on any formal study, but the nature of the conversation around online video appears to me tilted heavily towards the entertainment side of the equation. The discussions and tweets I see focus heavily on the consumer market – distribution deals for entertainment content, Netflix’s subscriber base, monetizing your original content, etc. I’m heading to Streaming Media East tomorrow, and much of the content at the online streaming conference is focused on these same subjects.

For those of us in the enterprise, the discussions have been more muted. Service providers like Kaltura, Brightcove, Wowza and others are filling the need by at least discussing their own products, but the conversation around video within the enterprise seems much lower key. I have some ideas as to why this is the case.

First, the entertainment and large-scale providers of content are in effect a well-defined industry. Even if Netflix is mostly an aggregator of others’ content and HBO is mostly a standalone distributor of their own, the two are largely playing in the same space. They contract for original content or purchase rights to films and sell their services on to consumers. There are analysts dedicated to these spaces and language for describing the ins & outs of the entertainment business. While the method for delivering the content has changed, the essentials of the business have not and there’s a pre-existing discussion that has added a streaming component to it. Their businesses are now heavily dependent on CDNs, bandwidth, buffering and all the other concerns of the streaming universe, hence the online conversations around those subjects reference them frequently.

Second, the financial implications of the entertainment side of the streaming video universe are enormous. YouTube channels alone are big business with broad impact on the industry’s bottom line. And again, the big players make their money off delivering their content to users in a connected world, so inevitably there will be a lot of talk around the moves they make and their effect on the streaming business.

In contrast, the average corporate or organizational video production effort is a lot lower key. Generally we don’t serve the primary function of our companies. We enhance marketing, communication and outreach efforts, but if your organization is making the bulk of its money off streaming you’re probably already in the mix of the larger conversations. In essence the management of enterprise video is a niche effort. We all know this instinctively, and for me personally I’m used to it – you can’t spend years managing a corporate archives without quickly learning your place within the organization.

There’s room for a lot more discussion on the use and techniques of video for the enterprise. I hope I’m helping to fill that niche by blogging and tweeting on video in the corporation. But I think there’s a lot more room for discussion on it, and I’d love to hear from others focused on the corporate space and how we can help our organizations make the most of online video.

PS – A few people you may want to check out on Twitter who are also active on the subject include:

Image courtesy of emptyglass /

Video Schmooze Recap

December 5, 2012 Leave a comment

I had the opportunity to go to the Video Schmooze [sic. it’s not the spelling I’d use, but…] event this morning in NYC. Other than leaving the house in the pitch dark to make it there for an early start it was well worth the time to go in and hear from some of the industry folks on the state of online video. It was pretty light on sales-pitch presentations which I appreciated (especially for a half-day event) and I was pleasantly surprised to see some contentious discussions throughout the morning. Not that anyone was rude, but there was some real give and take amongst the participants on the nature of the online video universe.

Some key thoughts:

  • The growth in the pay-tv (ie cable, satellite) market is very slow; it’s more likely that economic issues rather than “cord-cutting,” the universe of people who have gone fully mobile/wifi that’s behind that growth curve.
  • The economics of the multiscreen world are very much unclear – business models are not proving to be gold mines, but instead it may turn out to be a long time before people find a steady way of making money from this new universe
  • Watching at home but on a mobile device is not exactly cord cutting, it’s just using a different kind of TV set
  • Unlike the existing TV world, you can’t afford to support bad programming with good programming; again, the economics are such that you don’t have the revenue streams coming in to allow that
  • Rights for online content have become a much more important conversation in negotiations between carriers/aggregators and content creators – there’s more value in them than there was once thought.
  • The family TV is often a gathering place but different than it used to be – each person probably has a second screen with them and may be having a completely different experience of the show from the person next to them. One may be looking up song lyrics while the other is participating in social discussions.

As you can tell, most of the discussion was centered on the consumer market rather than the enterprise market. There were some takeaways of note, both technical and strategic:

  • The word fragmented came up a number of times to describe the viewing marketplace, and that is clearly true. While this makes things extremely hard in the consumer market for anyone trying to make a profit, my feeling is it’s a bit less critical in the corporate/enterprise world. Very often corporate video is designed for niche audiences anyway, and the costs are a bit lower than developing a series for TV or the web. In a lot of ways you’re not trying to build an audience up, rather I think you need to capture a particular group of people already in the market for your type of goods or services. As I’ve said before, often you just want the right people watching – those who make the purchasing decisions.
  • Online content, for all the issue with video metrics, is far more measurable than TV, allowing more data-based decision making.
  • Upgrade cycles in an online world are shorter, so you can experiment with changes and implement them far more quickly, especially when your tools are software based.
  • According to one presenter (a vendor) they have about 2 seconds to authenticate users, verify devices and begin delivery of a video stream. 2 seconds. To complete all the handshakes and approvals to deliver content or users will often give up and look elsewhere.
  • Changes to security, formats, operating systems and all the rest mean a lot of complexity for distributing content. Disruption is a term that was applied here.

So that’s that. Again I might have liked to hear more about the enterprise market, but I learned some things and it was good to have my head exclusively in video for a few hours.

Categories: Distribution Tags: ,

New Conference Announced

June 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Life has intervened, interfering with important tasks like blogging, but this was worth coming out of hibernation for:

Announcing the Enterprise Video Conference, Two-Days Of Content Focused on Enterprise and Edu Video Deployments

I’m delighted to see that Streaming Media has extended their already valuable conference to include this very critical area of online video.  If there was one thing about the Streaming Media East conference I found lacking it was the focus on enterprise-level video creation, production and delivery.  The sessions on YouTube and monetizing your videos are fine, but there are very specific nuances & needs for the enterprise, and I’m glad they’ve seen fit to expand the conference for that audience.  While I expect some growing pains, this is a great opportunity to really debate, discuss and share the key aspects of online video affecting large organizations.

They’ve also announced the list of advisory board members for the show, and I’m delighted with the selection.  I know two of the members from both past shows and from a vendor-client relationship, and I think it’s a great group of people that will help build a strong conference focused on the needs of enterprise managers.  Unfortunately I doubt I’ll be able to make it to the West Coast for this one, but perhaps they’ll extend it to the SM East conference next year.  If you’re out in LA in October, I’d add this to your schedule.

Categories: resources Tags: ,

Streaming Media East – My Presentation

May 15, 2011 Leave a comment

As my previous post noted, I was at Streaming Media East this week.  I had made a commitment to speak there a while back, and my new employer was kind enough to allow me to keep the commitment.  My session was Enterprise Video: Phase 2 (Session C105, for anyone interested enough to review the program.)  4PM on either day is not the best time for awake and engaged participants, but we had a decent crowd despite the way oversized room, and they seemed to be paying attention.  Moderated by someone from the banking industry, the panel included representatives from a major tech company, a commodities exchange, a real estate organization, and myself acting as if I was still in healthcare.  All in all a good mix of different enterprise types with different concerns and situations. Read more…

Streaming Media East – Overview

May 13, 2011 Leave a comment

I do finally have what to contribute to the multimedia world – business has been busy at the day job, though most of it involves text-based content publishing and Sharepoint, which is of less appeal to the streaming media types out there. I was back at Streaming Media East this week, the premiere conference for folks in the online multimedia and streaming universe.  I spoke at a session – more about that in my next post.

It was good to be back – I have of necessity spent less time working with media, and I do miss it a bit.  The conference was an opportunity to reconnect with bitrates, codecs, CDNs, and the rest of the streaming media universe.  I don’t generally do well at conversations with complete strangers – I get a bit shy, and I’m lousy at small talk.  The nice part about a conference is that even if you have no interest in a vendor’s products, you can walk up to any booth and chat people up if you feel like it. Read more…

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