Wednesday, September 23, 2009

CEO Conversations: Peter Csathy, Sorenson Media - Part Two

In part two of this CEO Conversations with Peter Csathy, we talk more about how Sorenson Media differentiates itself within the market and Peter offers his mid-year review of the online video space. We also talk about how in the midst of the economic recession his company continues to grow and hire more positions. Earlier this month, Sorenson Media reported that the number of international visitors to its Web site now exceeds domestic traffic as a result of the demand for the company’s digital video solutions. International sales are up and Peter attributed that to "a direct result of our established brand name and reputation for quality,” adding that, “It is also a testament to how important online video is becoming to businesses globally.”

In part one, Peter described their offering as the portfolio approach where you have the products and services. While they have the video publishing platform of Sorenson 360, they also have the separate encoding solution, Sorenson Squeeze which can work seamlessly together or completely independently. 

Here's the conclusion of our conversation:

Larry Kless: Last month Sorenson Media issued a press release that said, Sorenson Media Plans Further Expansion to Meet Growing Demand for Innovative Online Video Services, can you speak to that statement and further expand upon what you've been quoted there?

Peter Csathy: So, the exciting thing about this space, when we talk about the macro environment is that it's crazy economic times. It's very painful out there and we all know that. At the same time, we in the online or Internet video space who provide the toolsets (and there are a number of companies), all of us are very good position because the market for our kinds of services and technology is growing literally exponentially. So these are good times for our company.

And as a result
, you see hiring going on with other companies that are in and around the space rather than retrenchment. We've already done significant hiring since I've come on board and we're continuing to do that. So we have a number of job reqs right now and we're about to announce some very important hires very soon for both the San Diego office and the Salt Lake office. The reason being is this massive opportunity that we're extremely bullish on and we're already capitalizing on. But this is just the beginning, we believe in what I'd like to say, the second inning of a nine inning game.

Larry Kless: Pete Wylie just gave us a mid-year review, and Will Richmond how much funding there's been in the online video space  this year. So there's no question that there's continued innovation and continued funding. Based on that, what's your mid-year review and where do you see the industry is going and where Sorenson Media has gone and will boldy go?

Peter Csathy: Well, let's talk about the industry first, and this gets back to the discussion we've already had. There's a tremendous opportunity in any two of a nine inning game. That's where we are. As pervasive as Internet video is today this is only the beginning haven't seen any yet. Nobody's denied that there's this opportunity that's significant, and there will be plenty of room for many winners in that space.

Having said that, as a mid-year review, you see almost on a weekly basis a new entrant coming into the space. Let's face it, there are a lot of challenges for the breakout players within the universe of companies that are now trying to compete in that space. So the reality is, especially during tough economic times, that there will be a lot of shuttering of doors in many of the various participants who are trying to be winners in the space. You've already seen that with a number of companies including some that have been funded by some very big names that have come and gone. That doesn't mean the overall market opportunity is going away. It just means that you need to have a compelling reason to for customers to come to you and use your service. You need to be differentiated.

When we look at our company and where we fit into the ecosystem, I've mentioned some of these points already, we're uniquely situated in many different ways. So I won't repeat them all, but from a funding perspective we don't face the challenges that most others do. We've been around for fourteen years, we have a portfolio of services with multiple revenue streams. We have our Spark licensing business, our Squeeze sales business and our subscription SaaS (Software as a Service) business, Sorenson 360. We've been profitable for a number of years and we have a very healthy balance sheet. So we don't need to go out to the external world and raise money.

We're in very fortunate position where we're a successful stand-alone business and we're positioned well. We have a strong brand and we know who we're trying to meet the needs of, and we're not trying to be everything to everybody. We're looking at solving the problem and providing solutions to the video professionals until that space grows itself exponentially. We believe that we're positioned to be a winner in that space.

Now just a final thought, that doesn't mean we're complacent at all. We know that there's a lot of smart people out there doing a lot of great things. We need to always stay ahead of the others and continue to innovate. We have a history of fifteen years but we need to look at each day as a brand new day and not look in the past. That's the challenge that we face as a business just like any other business. We believe we have the right team to meet that challenge and we definitely have the passion internally to make that happen.

End of this CEO Conversation.

Sorenson Media is a platinum sponsor of the Online Video Platform Summit and will be showcasing Sorenson 360 at the two-day event designed to help organizations of all types, not just those for whom video is their core business. Additionally, Peter will be speaking on a panel session at the Online Video Platform Summit which will be held on November 18-19 in conjunction with Streaming Media West in San Jose, and is designed for video publishers of all types and sizes, whether small businesses looking to publish content for the first time, independent entertainment content creators, large media organizations, or anywhere in between. 

For more updates: Sorenson Media Blog