Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Was a Breakout Year for Online Video: A Klessblog Year-End Review - Part 1

As 2010 comes to a close and it was not like any other year that I can remember. I think everyone felt the crunch from the crazy and busy year 2010 was, and for me, it was the busiest year ever. So much, that it affected my blogging schedule by publishing 100 less posts than the previous two years as well as fewer posts on my other website Online Video Publishing [dot] com. But this past year, rather than focusing on the day to day to news – which I could never keep up with anyway – my focus was on producing more videos since 2010, after all, was the breakout year for online video.

I want to thank everyone who has helped contribute to this blog, through your emails, press releases, technology briefings, telephone and video interviews. There really are too many to thank, so I thank you all. I know everyone's time is so valuable and I appreciate the ongoing outreach to me. While I wasn't able to write about everything that was shared with me, I did learn so much about the many companies that help shape the industry. Most of all, I thank the many of you who have taken the time to read, subscribe, Retweet my blog posts, share your comments, connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Friendfeed and Facebook.

With this post and the one that follows, I recount the news I covered on this blog in 2010 and conversations I had along the way.

As every year, 2010 brought early predictions from around the web in online video, social media and technology. Many talked about how online video will continue to grow, how online video services and delivery would become more commoditized and models for paid content emerge, how standards will evolve, how television will shift online, how mobile will explode, how we'll see emerging models for online advertising, analytics, monetization and convergence of content across all three screens and new generation portable devices. The market matured over the last year and we actually did see the majority those predictions come true. I shared my prediction that "in 2010, the focus will be on high quality content, storytelling, and business models that will continue to emerge to foster that growth."

Like last January, Skype made big news at CES with its debut of Skype TV, by partnering with TV makers to bring its popular video chat software to the living room. OTT video was also hot topic all year, and I had the opportunity to speak with Boxee CEO, Avner Ronen, about the Boxee Beta and Boxee Box debut at CES 2010. I didn't make it to CES this past year, but Nalts' was on hand with his coverage on new gadgets.

January also brought news of the second annual Streamy Awards would take place again in April, and the return of pioneering web show EPIC FU! Another pioneer Steve Garfield released a new Book, 'Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building your Business', which presents a series of plans and tools businesses can follow to successfully communicate with and market to their customers on the social web.

I featured a number of videos from sessions I helped organize at Streaming Media West 2009 and the Online Video Platform Summit including: Web Television Comes of AgeDefining Online Video PlatformsMeasuring SuccessBest Practices Roundtable - Online Video Publishing Strategies and ToolsOnline Video Platform Showcase, Day 1 with Kaltura, Kyte, VMIX, Delve NetworksOptimizing Video Search and DiscoverabilityOnline Video Platform Showcase, Day 2 with Multicast Media, Datpresenter, Sorenson Media, OoyalaRedefining Monetization and Building Value with Real Interactivity.

Streaming media guru Jan Ozer and Flash expert Lisa Larson-Kelly are teaming up to present a one-day intensive workshop on "Streaming Production & Flash Delivery” Workshop in NYC, March 23rd and  Ooyala hosted a video SEO best practices webinar, "Reel” Video SEO Strategies & Best Practices Webinar that featured my good friend Mark Robertson, Founder and Publisher of ReelSEO, Dr. Pete Kocks, President of Truveo and AOL Video, and Sean Knapp, Co-Founder and CTO of Ooyala.

We started to see some more fallout in the online video startup market with Veoh entering the Deadpool, leaving blood in the water, in the sum of $70 million following a similar demise of others like Joost, Maven Networks, and a long list of other promising and well-funded online video startups. But with failure, there was also success, in the form of product innovation with Brightcove's announcement of their Mobile Experience for Flash Player 10.1,  and mergers and acquisitions with Google finally acquiring video codec maker On2. It was clear that with only two months into the new year online video was serious business in 2010, and it was only the beginning.

I continued my series of CEO Conversations featuring a 4-part interview Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura's open video architect, who talked about how Kaltura's value proposition is "truly disruptive" Kaltura and the open source video movement and Kaltura's business model.

Within the web television community, the 2nd annual Streamy Awards announced the 2009 nominees and within the online video platform market, Streaming Media held a Roundtable webinar with Delve Networks, Kaltura, Kyte and Ooyala. I also revisited my ongoing Death by Powerpoint meme in an effort to help presenter not suck with Duarte Design's Five Rules for Making Presentations that Don't Suck.

In other online video industry news, Seawell announced $7 Million in Series A funding, for "Next Generation" H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC), social video platform Kyte released Kyte LivePro Unwired, Live Mobile Broadcasting Backpack, in a sign of the times NAB 2010 featured a special track Destination Broadband, The Online Video Experience, to test your video marketing skills EyeView released its annual Video Marketing Quiz, and consolidation heated up with KIT digital's acquisition of Multicast Media for Approx. $18 Million.

Amidst the format wars waged in the press, on the web and mobile devices – open video, and the HTML5 video standard, continued to gain traction in the market. HTML5 development also heated up with Kaltura and partners bringing video to Wikipedia, launch New Web Sites to Promote HTML5 Open Video Standard.

The content delivery market was also changing as I learned from Roy Peterkovsky in a 2-part interview about how Skytide Sees Big Changes Within the CDN Market, Releases Insight 2.0 Reporting & Analytics Solution for CDN Providers and Resellers and Skytide Shares Insight for Online Video Publishers, Identify the “Sweet Spot" and What is "Good Enough".

Then, in April, after months of format wars – with HTML5 and H.264 video emerging as a standard for online video – the industry felt its biggest disruption to date with The iPad Cometh, and the online video industry geared up for the launch. In a surprise move, Google bought itself an OVP with the acquisition of Episodic for an Undisclosed SumI interviewed Noam Lovinsky for Reel SEO months earlier and he commented on how the industry was just 15 years old, and video monetization and delivery on the web and mobile devices had just begun to mature.

Editor's note: 2011 just a few minutes away, and I have to ring in the New Year. So that's all for for blogging in 2010! Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow. Happy New Years to all!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Skype Makes Our Dreams Come True with Skype for iPhone 3.0, Video Chat Now Available!

After much waiting and anticipation, just like that – Skype for iPhone now comes with video. There had been rumors and sightings online about a possible release at CES next week, but Skype finally made our dreams come true with the release of Skype iPhone app. Skype has been no stranger to the news lately with an IPO next year and on the heels of its major outage – Skype "gave the people what they want," by enabling video chat chat capability across the Apple iDevice line, including the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and 4th generation iPod touch with i0S 4.0 or above. Like its previous iPhone apps, Skype for iPhone 3.0 is free.

Mobile video has been considered one of the biggest trends that will explode in 2011, and now Skype's impending dominance of the two-way video chat market is apparent. With its global and mainstream reach of approximately 25 million people signed into Skype at any given time, along with its recent integration with Facebook, Skype has become the biggest disruptor of the live video space. Ironically, among the list of competitors includes Apple's FaceTime, along with Google voice and video chat, Fring, ooVoo, Qik and other live video mobile apps.

Techcrunch's Leena Rao spoke with Rick Osterloh, VP of Consumer Products for Skype, who said that the company had been working on developing video capability in the app for some time and that Apple has been a "great partner" and that “mobile is going to be big for Skype."

 In Skype's press release today, Neil Stevens, general manager of Skype’s consumer business said:
"With video calling representing approximately 40% of all Skype-to-Skype minutes for the first six months of 2010, our users have been eager to get Skype video calling on their mobile phones. By bringing video to mainstream users at their home or work via their desktops, on the go with their mobiles, or into their living room via their TV, Skype has made it possible for millions of people to share video moments wherever they are.”
With this new software, users will be able to:
  • Make free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls over 3G and WiFi.*
  • Share video calls on Skype with people on specified iPhones, PC or Mac.
  • Talk face-to-face or show what you're seeing with front- and rear-facing cameras.
* Additional data charges may apply. Skype recommends a strong WiFi connection for video calling to get the best quality.

Check out this bizarre Skype ad introducing the new iPhone app. (Friendly warning: Don't watch this if you are creeped out by guys dancing around their underwear, as evidence of the the video thumbnail. It seems that the producers wanted to show that you can "share the moment, anywhere.)

The application works in both portrait and landscape mode, but the downside with the iPhone 3GS and iPad is that neither have a front-facing camera, which makes it less ideal for video chat – but you can receive video on the iPad and chat with a compatible headset and use the rear-facing camera on the iPhone 3GS. However, that may change if the iPad2 comes equipped with a camera. 

Your device will need to be running iOS 4.0 or above and that you are using Skype for iPhone 3.0 or above. The contacts you are calling must be using one of the following Skype clients:
  • Skype for Windows version 4.2 and above
  • Skype for Mac OS X version 2.8 and above
  • Skype for iPhone 3.0 and above
There are many hands-on reviews of the the app on EngadgetGigaOm9 to 5 MacTMCnet and others, and the reports are that the video quality is clear but not as clear as FaceTime. 9 to 5 Mac estimated that video calls over 3G will use around 3.4 MB of data per minute.

Skype has been growing steadily with 560 million users and 8.1 million of those users pay an average of $96 a year for premium services. Skype generated $13 million in profit on net revenues of $406 million in the first half of 2010. Skype's Android app doesn't yet support video calling, but Skype may have more releases set for CES and ooVoo just released their Android version.


About Skype
Skype is a communications platform provider whose purpose is to break down barriers to communication. With an Internet-connected device, families, friends and colleagues can get together for free with messaging, voice and video. At low cost, they can also call landlines or mobiles virtually anywhere in the world. Skype has recently introduced group video, allowing groups of more than two people to do things together whenever they're apart.

Founded in 2003 and based in Luxembourg. Skype can be downloaded onto computers, mobile phones and other connected devices for free at

You can get news and updates from Skype on its blog: Twitter: or Facebook:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Peter Himmelman, Furious World: Online Video is Key to the Music Industry's Survival

I caught up with Peter Himmelman, independent singer/songwriter, at the Online Video Platform Summit following his panel discussion "How to Choose an Online Video Platform for Your Business", to talk about how video has helped extend his reach and engagement with his worldwide fan base. While Himmelman is not a familiar name to most, he's cultivated a long career as an imaginative rock musician, children's entertainer, TV and film composer, Emmy and Grammy nominee and for the past two year, the star of his own weekly webcast show, Peter Himmelman’s Furious World.

Himmelman is also Bob Dylan's son-in-law, being married to his daughter Maria Dylan, who he counts as one of his many influences. Himmelman is known for his conviction as an independent artist and for his unpredictable performance style (as evidence of this impromptu video interview). Most notably, as an observant Jew he does not perform on Fridays, and turned down an invitation to perform on the "Tonight Show" because it fell on Shabbat.

He broadcasts his musical web variety show, Peter Himmelman’s Furious World, from his Santa Monica, California studio every Tuesday at 7:00 pm PST on using the Newtek TriCaster. The show features live music and spoken bits by the Himmelman and his cast of regulars, off-the-wall videos, and guest performers. Himmelman says that the portability of streaming production is a key in getting his artistic message out, in lieu of a demanding touring schedule.

As a music recording artist he says that hosting his webcast on Ustream's highly trafficked website has helped increase his visibility and brought him closer to his fans. He's using video because he says that, "the music industry as we had known it is pretty much done, the death knell has sounded," and he decided to try online video as a new and different way to put his product out there.

In an interview with Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt of the Mountain Xpress, he talked about how he got started producing his weekly Furious World webcast.
"It was just a fluke. This guy that works for me, Mark Jacobs, he said, “Hey, there’s this thing where you can broadcast live.” So we set up this camera and thought, “Wow, this really looks good.”  
It hasn’t lived up to where I want it to be right now. It’s not paying for itself, which is a huge problem, and I don’t know if it ever will or not. It’s a really great thing, it’s a cool idea, but without any money coming in — and I’ve done it for two years — I have to constantly say to myself, “What it’s for?”
But I always get letters and a lot of encouragement. Yesterday I met with a guy who was trying to help me with the show and he said (he’s from Israel), “Look, you have to remember what the president of General Electric said: Either fix it, sell it or close it. This is what I’m trying to help you with. Either we’ll fix it, or sell it or we shut it down.”"

Become a Facebook Fan: Peter Himmelman's Furious World
Follow Peter Himmelman's FW (furiousworld) on Twitter


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jeremy Allaire, Brightcove: Reaching Viewers in a Complex and Fragmented Video Landscape

I met with Jeremy Allaire, Chairman and CEO of Brightcove, at the Online Video Platform Summit to get a summary of his keynote address, where he shared his view of the increasingly complex and fragmented landscape for online video publishing, and the multi-platform distribution strategies organizations need to have in place to achieve success with their video initiatives. Allaire founded Brightcove in early 2004 with a vision for the transformation of television with the Internet. From his early days as CTO of Macromedia, where he was instrumental in evolving Macromedia Flash into a dominant platform for rich media applications on the web, Allaire envisioned that one day video would become as ubiquitous as text on the web. I spoke with him at length about his background and the early years of online video in this post from last year.

In his keynote, The New Video Landscape: Multi-platform Distribution, Monetization, and Fragmentation, Allaire described the rapid growth of online video in 2010 with monthly video growing to a staggering 30 billion views. He pointed out that online video is now more than 50% of Internet traffic in the U.S. and it's estimated that it will will grow to 90% by 2013. Some of the key drivers fueling that growth are ad supported online video, which continues to grow faster than any other area of online advertising, and also the brand marketing and retail applications which are really exploding. eMarkerter predicts that online advertising spend will be $28.5 billion next year, and that almost $2 billion of that will be online video advertising.

According to eMarketer's David Hallerman:
"The reason for the huge increase in video ad spending is that brand marketers will shift more of their ad budgets online. Since there is more professional video online than ever before, buyers have more inventory to choose from. Brand marketers realize how central the internet is to consumers’ lives than it was even two years ago. More important, they see how much of that video content is professional, so they trust it and as a FreeWheel study shows, consumers tend to watch video ads to the end when they are up against professional video content."
This is really exciting for the industry, says Allaire, because corporations and institutions are expanding and investing in video as a way to enhance their customer relationships and customer touchpoints. Data from Brightcove & TubeMogul's Online Video & Media Industry Quarterly Research Report for Q2 2010, found that online video is a priority for brand managers and that more than 60 percent plan to spend more their website video initiatives in the next 12 months.

But while consumer demand, growth trends, and broad industry adoption introduce exciting new opportunity, Allaire says the complex and fragmented device landscape is introducing new challenges for online video publishers. In particular, Apple's release of the iPad started the HTML5/H.264 video vs. Flash debate over the future of web content and application runtime formats, which Allaire wrote about earlier in the year in a guest post on TechCrunch.

Allaire says increased bandwidth capacity and demand for higher quality video experiences have required publishers to render multiple versions of their content for multi-bitrate streaming. In addition, there is a tsunami of new connected devices consumers are using to access video which all use a variety of video runtimes creating a fragmented publishing environment.
"We've moved from the world of people publishing video to the PC web with Flash, to needing to have video on tablets and smart phones – both web browsing and native apps, that people do across a lot of different platforms – and the emergence of connected TVs are yet another set of platforms that are going to create these challenges for publishers. And then, the explosion of social media sites as sources of traffic and valuable forms of customer engagement. So really, the world has changed a lot in the last 12 months and that's actually created a huge amount of challenges and a huge amount of opportunities."
Allaire says that the recent release of Brightcove 5, the company's cloud-based online video platform, addresses many of the issues that publishers face in the fragmented landscape and helps expand their reach. The new features include: distribution and synchronization with YouTube, iPad reference app, Apple HTTP streaming for the mobile Web and apps, cross platform Smart Players, new advanced analytics for Adobe® Flash® and HTML5 video developed in partnership with Tubemogul, and wide-ranging productivity enhancements.

In a follow up TechCrunch guest post last week, Allaire further expanded on the outlook for 2011 – which promises to be yet another transformational year in the online video landscape – with connected TVs set to go mainstream, OTT (over-the-top) video adoption, the ongoing battle over video delivery standards, and the rise of social recommendations with Facebook and Twitter growing much faster as sources for online video discovery and referral compared to traditional search engines. According to Tubemogul and Brightcove's Online Video & The Media Industry report for Q3 2010, Facebook is now the second largest traffic source for media sites surpassing Yahoo! The report states that not only are social media destination driving more traffic, but consumers who find video through the recommendation of peers in the social networks are more engaged with the video content then content they find through other sources.

In his keynote, Allaire said that, "Everyone is an online video publisher," and that online video platforms have emerged as critical partners to publishers by creating solutions that help them navigate the complex and fragmented online video landscape.
"I think the really big picture is that we're just at the beginning. Video ubiquity is just emerging and we see a world in the next several years where every professional website in the world is going to have professional video applications, so it's a very exciting time for our company and the industry."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Jeroen "JW" Wijering: HTML5 Video Is Not Quite There Yet

Earlier this year, Mark Robertson and I met with Jeroen "JW" Wijering, Chief Digital Architect of LongTail Video at his office in New York City, to talk about the growing interest and hype around HTML5 video, and the most pressing issues facing its adoption. Jeroen is an online video pioneer and the creator of the ubiquitous JW Media Players, which have generated several million downloads since their launch in 2005.

In a post on the LongTail Community Support Blog (and also a guest post on Reel SEO), Jeroen noted that Apple's launch of the iPad along with Steve Jobs' arguements with Adobe over Flash accelerated HTML5 video development. He wrote that there's a lot of video tag euphoria within today's tech industry and the practical side of HTML5 video development has been overlooked and faces a major threat.
"The video tag is still in its infancy and misses certain core functionalities. As developers demand these features, browser vendors are tempted to implement incompatible solutions instead of agreeing upon standards. These hasty developments, already underway, are setting HTML video up for the same chaos as HTML styling in the pre-CSS era."

Jeroen says, the most pressing issues facing HTML video development are:
  • Codecs - H.264 versus OGG debate is ongoing, but all browsers have placed their bets - Firefox and Opera favor OGG, Internet Explorer and Safari choose H264. Chrome plays it safe and does both. Today's HTML5 video format is H264.
  • Streaming - HTML5 does not specify a streaming mechanism yet. While this is being worked on (W3C: Fragments, Media Multitrack API), it means that live, DVR and long-form video content cannot be played using a video tag.
  • Fullscreen - While a small feature at first sight, fullscreen playback is essential to the success of HTML5 video. Without fullscreen, HTML5 video is mostly useful for presenting short clips.

Jeroen suggests that the addition of both captions and fullscreen support would be big steps forward for HTML5 video. He says that cross-browser support should be practical and compatible, or we risk web development regression.
"Browser vendors should be stringent when building solutions that are both practical and compatible. If not, crossbrowser HTML5 video will be too difficult, not to mention expensive, to implement. This presents the risk of web development regression.

In favor of its advancement, we cannot allow this to happen. Online video will go mobile and big screen. It also needs to become accessible and searchable. HTML5 video will advance the progress in these areas, if developed carefully and intelligently. However, without compatible solutions, online video is in definite jeopardy of a setback."
While Jeroen says that HTML5 video is not quite there yet, as the year comes to a close, there are signs of the maturing market:
These are but a few of the many innovations and growth of HTML5 video within the online and mobile video industry. As we move into 2011, we'll continue to see the technology evolve at a rapid pace, as well as the debate.

What is HTML5? (reprinted from HTML5 - Advertising FAQ)
  • HTML is the mark-up language used for the World Wide Web. Almost all web pages you visit on the internet are based around HTML code. HTML5 is simply the fifth and latest iteration of this mark-up language that allows for more dynamic, animated and interactive web pages. Up until now web pages have had to embed content or plugins like Flash for items like video players or interactive animation. HTML5 allows for lots of this functionality to be done without an embedded file. This doesn’t mean the end of Flash however because Flash too continues to evolve - it is an alternative. See more on the W3 website
Updated 12/22/2010: Added my buddy Mark to post

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Online Video Conversations: David Burch, Tubemogul - Part 1: Why Video? Marketing tips, Online Video Industry Trends

    In this latest installment of Online Video Conversations, I caught up with David Burch, Director of Marketing at TubeMogul, Inc., to find out why video is important for all types of businesses – small, medium and large – and how video distribution, analytics and social media marketing helps build brand identity and viewer engagement. He also talks about trends and the current state of the online video industry. Burch is well-known within the industry and is frequently quoted as an expert in online video in leading media outlets like AdAge, NPR's Marketplace and Wired.

    Burch leads media relations for the Emeryville, California-based online video ditsribution, analytics and advertising platform. He also is the author of all TubeMogul's data-driven research. Prior to joining TubeMogul, Burch was a Content Manager at Delivery Agent, and worked on digital strategy for many top media companies, including ABC and NBC. He received his BA in Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley, which is where Tubemogul was born.

    To start the conversation, I asked Burch one of those "what is the meaning of life?" questions by asking:
    "Why video? What's so compelling about video that companies should get involved with it?"
    According to Burch, there are a lot of good reasons, but the number one reason is that video is more engaging than any other media.
    "Video is just a really powerful medium to convey branding messages. It's more effective than other formats, like banner ads or different mediums of advertisement. Why video? Why not video?"
    Online video audiences continue to grow, with more and more people are watching more video across the board. According to Tubemogul research, people are more likely to click on a link if it's a video and on average audiences clicking on video links from Twitter watch a video 36.91% longer than viewers referred by Facebook and 49.98% longer than viewers referred by Digg. He says people love Tubemogul's feature that sends a Tweet when your video is uploaded.

    In addition, Brightcove and Tubemogul's Online Video & Media Industry Quarterly Research Report, found that online video discovery is shifting from search to social media. Twitter and Facebook attract more engaged viewers than other sites and are growing faster than search engines, and while Google search is still king, social media marketing gaining ground fast.

    Burch says that even though YouTube is the biggest online video entity – publishers, marketers and businesses of any size can benefit from distributing their videos to more than one site. Tubemogul provides a free video syndication service OneLoad, which is a single point for distributing videos to the top video and social networking sites. Tubemogul also provides InPlay, its free video analytics solution for publishers, online video platforms and video sharing sites. He says that publishers and marketers can learn a lot about their audience and their level of engagement from real-time analytics.

    Burch says that if you're not using video, you should get started:
    "A lot of small businesses get a lot of SEO benefit from video. Being in more places means – more people are watching. It's not like you're gaming anything, you're just becoming more popular."
    In regards to the current state of the online video industry – and comparing the industry growth innings in a baseball game – Burch thinks we're in the forth or fifth inning.
    "It's hard to remember, but YouTube's only been around for 5 years, so it is pretty young. I really think with the analytics space, we've got this technology that a lot of people are using – and I think the technology is getting there."
    According to Burch the viewing experience is getting better and rebuffer rates (those annoying delays in the video loading) are going down. Fast load times are low rebuffer rates are crucial, as Tubemogul's research found that 81.19% of viewers choose to click away instead of waiting for a video to rebuffer.
    "If you're willing to avoid that and want to pay to deliver professional quality video, there are solutions out there to do it. There's this while ecosystem of analytics built in, which is where we step in, advertising solutions which we recently launched, our PlayTime ad platform. It's a very developed ecosystem. HOw television will be viewed on the web and how mobile will fit in to that  – there's a lot of open questions – but I feel that it's evolved quit a bit." 
    Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Online Video Conversation with David Burch coming soon.

    About Tubemogul
    TubeMogul is a video advertising and analytics platform that connects advertisers with highly targeted audiences. TubeMogul's advertising solution is powered by the company's unprecedented data platform that tracks billions of video streams every month from the Internet's top publishers. This unique technology enables TubeMogul to help advertisers find consumers who want to watch their videos - and watch them longer. Advertisers and marketers never again have to choose engagement and accountability over reach if they use TubeMogul's video advertising and analytics platform.

    Follow tubemogul (tubemogul) on Twitter

    Related posts:

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Online Video Conversations: Steven Horn, Metacafe - Part 2: Metacafe and the Power of Premium Content

    In part two of my interview with Steven Horn, vice president of programming for Metacafe, he further expands on our previous conversation about how Metacafe has decided to focus on premium short-from content, and how Metacafe's recent acquisition of action sports site helps bolster its unique editorial voice within the online video entertainment genre. According to Horn, Metacafe has taken a different approach than other online video entertainment sites by the way it build packages around its premium content. In particular, as Horn previously noted Metacafe's editors provide "deep content experiences" by programming related premium content around new movie releases. For example, with Ben Affleck's recent bank robbery film, The Town, the editors programmed other classic band robbery films like Heat and Dog Day Afternoon to give context the bank robbery genre and made Ben Affleck the featured celebrity of the week.
    "These are the things you can do with editors, versus, just a random collection of videos that people are expected to search and sift through themselves. We cherry pick the best and put them together in these compelling unique content packages."

    Within the premium content space, Horn says, the Hollywood movie studios are the ones that have been playing the most online. They were the first on the Internet and have spent a lot of time and effort into their digital strategies. He reiterated that Metecafe's editors have those relationships with the studios and understand the content gives Metacafe the edge over other entertainment sites.

    Horn also says that comedy has also been very successful for Metacafe, and that its approach is to put comedy into everyday situations. For instance, when Metacafe go to a film junket film to interview a celebrity – they don't ask the same questions that everyone else asks (because likely they could get those type of interviews from their partners anyway), so they send in comedians to do songs, interviews and create fun and unique ways to create exclusive premium content. For its "Iron Man 2" interview with Scarlett Johansson, Metacafe's Matt Zaller took the opportunity to get some make up tips from the actress firsthand rather than doing a traditional question and answer interview. The video was a success and had a viral effect getting picked up by Huffington Post, Gawker, StumbledUpon and other sites.
    "When we think about what's working for us, we're hanging a lot of our strategy on comedy, and not only comedy, but a non-traditional approach to staged events... and the studios are loving it."
    Horn is very excited by Metacafe's recent acquisition of Action Sports, Inc. the parent company of, the popular site that features live webcasts of and video highlights from top action sports events around the world. Horn says that Go211 has carved out a really strong niche in live events and streaming, and Metacafe will be leveraging the expertise of Go211's digital video production team to introduce more original and exclusive content into its other premium entertainment hubs – MoviesVideo GamesTVMusic and the recent launch of Metacafe Sports, that features Go211’s extensive catalog of action sports videos in Snow, Skate, Surf and Bike. According to comScore Media Metrix, July 2010, Metacafe, with the inclusion of Go211, will now reach nearly 17.5M unique monthly U.S. viewers.
    "Anytime you take two mature content organizations and put them together – the amount of creativity that comes out of that from a programming standpoint but also from a technical background scales very fast."   
    Regarding the current state of the the online video space, Horn says he's excited to come to work everyday because it reminds him of the early days of the Internet.
    "We all know that there's something big here, we all know it, we feel it, we sense it. Everyone is trying amazing new things online. I feel we're way too early to know who's going to end up winning – and actually I don't know if it's a win-lose if not a zero sum. I think there's a lot of different positions that people are taking. Metacafe is taking this premium short-from position, and there's a lot of other players out there. 
    In terms of where we go and where we consume this video – I don't even think we know – in 5 years we may have implants in our eyes that show us video or we see it in our refrigerators – the actual, where this content is consumed is a lot less interesting to me than to what that content is. So whether it's on my phone or on my TV or whether it's on my 3-screen, 4-screen, whatever – what it is and who's serving it to me and what they're doing with that content, I think, is where the most excitement is with this industry now. It's a blank slate and we're having a lot of fun."
    See part one of this interview: Online Video Conversations: Steven Horn, Metacafe - Part 1: Metacafe's Editorial Voice Drives Consumption of Online Video

    Also, see these related interviews:
    For more information, go to:

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Online Video Conversations: Steven Horn, Metacafe - Part 1: Metacafe's Editorial Voice Drives Consumption of Online Video

    I recently sat down with Steven Horn, vice president of programming for Metacafe, to talk about how he is defining Metacafe’s distinctive editorial voice to drive the consumption of online video, specifically around exclusive, premium short-from content. Horn has more than 15 years in digital media, and lives and breaths entertainment content everyday. He loves to connect audiences with the right content for them. He joined Metacafe earlier this year and was named Vice President of Programming in August 2010. Prior to Metacafe, Horn served as director of programming and content at VUDU. He also previously served as vice president of editorial at Fox Interactive Media, where he led editorial programs for: Rotten Tomatoes, MySpace and In this role, he developed deep connections with Hollywood studios and television production companies which has says helps give Metacafe an edge on acquiring and programming premium content.

    According to Horn, his editors make better programmers than machine driven algorithms, because editors know what readers want. That's the big differentiator, he says, between an editor and a search engine or algorithm:
    "To us, it comes down to this very simple philosophy... being an editor is a bit of an art form. There's nuance in programming."
    Horn believes that there's a certain craft to programming and that Metacafe's approach provides greater value to consumers and to content creators. He and his team all deep ties into Hollywood as writers, editors and programmers. He says their style is a bit of a throwback to the old school newspaper bullpen style. He and his team get together every day, exchange ideas, build packages around entertainment properties, find creative and fun ways to involve advertisers, and create deeply integrated content experiences with the movies, games and other intellectual properties. Editors can also pick up the phone and call a studio for an exclusive that can appear on Metacafe days before other sites, or only on Metacafe. This, Horn says, gives the site emotion and the human element.

    Horn challenged his team with Metacafe’s recent Shocktober Showcase initiative to see if the editorial model works, by producing 30 content exclusives – one in movies and one in video games – every day throughout the month of October. Horn says that Metacafe is setting a new standard in online video by bringing an entire month of daily exclusives and originals, but he acknowledges:
    "It's been a big challenge, 30 exclusives in 30 days, we just sort of woke up one day and said, 'That is going to be intense,' but we really wanted to push ourselves and prove out this editorial model."
    The most recent statistics has proven that this model works.  The Shocktober Showcase exclusives garnered a total of 2 million views as of the last few days of the campaign, which is trending with success shown in the first couple weeks of Shocktober. The top 5 movie exclusives + the top 5 video game exclusives collectively drove nearly 1.5 million views over the course of the month. Active Facebook and Twitter users (fans/followers who participated in the Shocktober content, such as like, share, comment, retweet) increased by nearly 20% month over month.

    Horn says that Metacafe has built up trust with the studios to take care of their content and provide the best audience and context.
    "What Hollywood cares about and what any premium content creator cares about is what happens to their video. Do they want their video next to an American Idol reject, or a  couple of cute kitties hanging out? Most likely they want their video next to other premium content."
    Horn says that the combination of the editors voice and their relationships with studio help create those "deep content experiences."
    "We're telling the story with video. We're getting this piece of premium content, we're putting context to it, not only with what we follow with that content, but what we package it, how we get it out to our audience and our own voice bubbles into that content as well."
    Horn is also excited by the conversation that is happening within Metacafe's social media networks, on Facebook and Twitter, and how the editorial voice has extended into those channels. Metacafe movies has over 60,000 Facebook fans and the quality of conversation around the content is much richer with having editors engaged in the conversation.

    Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Online Video Conversation with Steven Horn about Metacafe's focus on premium and how Metacafe's recent acquisition of and how this deal advances Metacafe’s strategic vision delivering value to their audience of 18 to 34-year-old entertainment influencers and for the brand advertisers who market to them.

    About Metacafe – Entertainment That Connects
    Metacafe® is the first entertainment destination solely dedicated to showcasing the best videos from the world of Movies, Video Games, Sports, Music and TV. We are the trusted source that keeps millions of viewers plugged into their entertainment passions every day, and we connect marquee brand advertisers with their target consumers via close association with the most popular entertainment content on the web.  Metacafe attracts more than 10 million unique monthly U.S. viewers .  The privately held company is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in New York City, Los Angeles, London and Tel Aviv.  For more information – and millions of entertaining videos – visit Media Contact: Suzi Owens for Metacafe:, 415-856-5125

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    My Spark Minute Interview: In a hospital, video is second class data

    David Spark is a journalist, producer, speaker, and owner of the custom publishing and social media firm Spark Media Solutions.  David attended and reported on Streaming Media West for his new client, enterprise video solutions provider Ignite Technologies. His coverage was geared more toward enterprise video, and he asked me to talk about some of the challenges I face in my day job as a multimedia producer and virtual event manager for Kaiser Permanente. The main challenge I face is similar to that of many others in large organizations, that lack a centralized content management system or online video platform. Videoconferencing, TelePresence and Webex are all supported by IT, but all other video content delivery is fragmented. There are many hybrid systems and skunkworks projects in full production that deliver video, mostly through progressive download via web servers. While there's plenty of demand for video within my organization, it's second class to critical health information that's delivered over the same pipes.

    Here's the video David edited from our longer conversation, along with the accompanying blog post.

    From In a hospital, video is second class data « Igniting Ideas by David Spark:
    "Larry Kless, is the editor of and he produces video for live events at Kaiser Permanente. I asked him what the difficulties are with video at his organization and he said it really has to do with expectations. People assume what was possible in their last organization is now possible in their new organization. But that’s not always the case. For example, in a hospital high demand video streaming will always be second banana to patient and hospital data. We talked about it at the Streaming Media West Conference in Los Angeles."

    David recorded another 20 videos and has collected them all here in this post: Streaming Media West 2010 video round up.

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Coming Soon on Klessblog: Interviews from Streaming Media West, Online Video Platform Summit and NewTeeVee Live

    In my last post, I mentioned that I recorded a number of interviews at Streaming Media West, the Online Video Platform Summit, and also at NewTeeVee Live, and I thought I'd take a moment to share what's coming soon on this blog. I spoke with a wide variety of people from the online video industry as well as online video platform customers, and I want to thank everyone who took the time to talk with me, to share their industry perspectives, insights and innovation. Everyone seemed to get a kick out of seeing my post-modern camera set up, which consisted of (note the weight of each item): a Kodak Zi8 pocket HD video camera (4 oz.), an Audio Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier mic (0.2 oz), a Litepanels MicroPro LED light (4 oz.), and a Photo and Sound fluid head tripod (12 lbs!)

    Also, thanks to my good friend Mark Robertson, and to Grant Crowell, who assisted me on some of the videos with lighting, audio and interviews for ReelSEO Online Video Marketing Guide. Several interviews we recorded will appear on ReelSEO, and actually our eCommerce interview with Justin Foster has already been posted on ReelSEO and on the Video Commerce Consortium blog. I plan to post that interview here as well. Also, look for the videos from the Online Video Platform Summit to appear on

    Until then, here's a list of the folks I interviewed, in order, who will be featured in upcoming videos on this blog:

    Streaming Media West/Online Video Platform Summit:
    NewTeeVee Live:
    I also have a few other video interviews I've been working on prior to these events, with Steven Horn, VP of Programming for Metacafe and David Burch, Communications Director of TubeMogul, that will be posted soon.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Streaming Media West, Online Video Platform Summit and NewTeeVee Live Put the "OV" in November

    November has always been a big month in the conference circuit, and over the past several years, it has also turned into a big month for the online video industry. With major conference events like Streaming Media West, with the Online Video Platform Summit, and NewTeeVee Live, all taking place within the first two weeks of the month, these annual events have really put the "OV" in November.

    Streaming Media West has been a mainstay event for me for over the last 10 years, and has been held in a number of venues in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, and this year it returned to Los Angeles on November 2-3. I've been a presenter, moderator and panel session organizer at Streaming Media West, and for the second year in a row, I've co-chaired the Online Video Platform Summit with Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen.

    Also, for the second year in a row, I made it to GigOm's NewTeeVee Live event in San Francisco, on November 10. Last year, I moderated an analytics panel at NewTeeVee Live, and this year I went as a member of the press to cover the event.

    While Streaming Media West and NewTeeVee Live bring together much of the same community, to discuss similar topics and technology, the events are actually quite different.

    First off, Streaming Media West is a multi-day, multi-track conference and exhibition, with an additional day of pre-conference how-to workshops on the latest streaming formats led by industry experts like Jan OzerKevin TowesChris Knowlton. Attendance at Streaming Media West was more than 2,500 last year, and the show covers a wide spectrum of topics about the online video ecosystem from content creation and management, to monetization and distribution online video business models and technology. More than 100 speakers and 30 sessions are part of the main conference, and another 36 more speakers and 8 sessions for the Online Video Platform Summit. Streaming Media West also celebrates the industry each year with its own people's choice awards with its annual Streaming Media Readers' Choice Awards.

    According to Streaming Media conference chairman Dan Rayburn, this year's conference was a huge success, and while the numbers aren't in yet, he says that, "the number of paid conference attendees jumped by the largest number we've seen to date and part of that clearly had to do with moving the show to LA, which allowed for a lot more participation by local executives in the area from media, entertainment, broadcast and enterprise companies."

    This year, as well as last year, I didn't get much time to attend Streaming Media West conference sessions or keynotes, and spent most of time at the Online Video Platform Summit, which is a featured event at Streaming Media West that focuses on the tools and techniques of online video publishing. But I did attend the Google TV keynote by Rishi Chandra, who like a number of other speakers at Streaming Media West also spoke at NewTeeVee Live the following week. I conducted quite a few interviews at both Streaming Media West and NewTeeVee Live, which I'll be posting in the coming weeks and months (stay tuned for details.) Also, in the coming weeks, videos from the keynotes, and conference sessions will be available at: Conference Videos -, and you can download the Streaming Media West Archived Presentations here: Streaming Media West 2010.

    In the meantime, check out this end of show video report from David Spark, with steady camera work by your truly! ;-)

    Dan Rayburn highlighted some of the major news items coming out of Streaming Media West here, and more coverage is on You can also, check out this interesting post by @bruce_alfred who attended both Streaming Media West and the Online Video Platform Summit who provided some insightful analysis of the events and our "complex" and "nascent" space: The Two Words I Heard Most At Streaming Media West & Online Video Platform Summit 2010

    In contrast to Streaming Media West, NewTeeVee Live is a much smaller, more intimate gathering of 400 attendees, speakers and exhibiters at UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center. It's a single-day, single stage event that is both about technology and content presented as a tightly timed event with keynotes, fireside chats and presentations by more than 40 speakers on stage or in workshops. According to GigOm, "NewTeeVee Live, now in its fourth year, is the online video industry’s flagship event. Uniquely positioned with a strong editorial heritage, top-tier speakers and unparalleled atmosphere, NewTeeVee Live represents a must-attend event for all participants in the digital video industry."

    A big difference between Streaming Media West and NewTeeVee Live is that NewTeeVee Live is more about the future of television. Since the program is only a single day, most of the speakers get only 10-20 minutes each, so you don't get that deep dive or intense information overload like other conferences. NewTeeVee Live is also available as a live webcast, with archives of the event also available online soon after.Some of the key topics covered this year included: cord cutting, HD streaming, mobile video, Google TV, multi-platform and transmedia storytelling, open source video and 3-D video. Like Streaming Media, the speakers at NewTeeVee Live include a who's who in online video, with a real focus on the content business and how technology is shaping it.

    One of the most talked about speakers was Jason Kilar, CEO of Hulu, who presented the morning keynote and also sat down with Om Malik for a fireside chat and answered questions from the audience. In his keynote, Kilar shared that his company will make more than $240 million in revenue in 2010, which is more than double what Hulu generated in 2009, which was $108 million. Additionally, Hulu's users grew to 30 million in October 2010, and watched 260 million content streams along with 800 million ad streams during that same month. Hulu's leading source of revenue is from advertsining, and will be experimenting with more personalized advertising models that will target male and female viewers and allow them to swap out ads that are more relevant to them. Watch the keynote below and read Janko Roettgers' write up on Kilar's keynote here. Also, for more about NewTeeVee Live, check out NewTeeVee Live 2010 in the News! and watch more videos at the NewTeeVee Live 2010 Video Archive.

    gigaomtv on Broadcast Live Free

    Overall, Streaming Media conferences and NewTeeVee Live are really great shows to attend, and participate in, if you have the opportunity to do so. You can see many familiar faces, meet new friends and colleagues, hear from the shakers and movers in the industry about what's the latest and greatest technology, what's trending, what's the next big thing. I was happy to meet a many new friends at both events and I look forward to seeing you all again next time!

    A quick shout-out to my friends at Front Porch Digital, Unicorn Media, Kaltura, @zbutcher, @unickow, @markrrobertson for the great time at Streaming Media West! My thanks as well to my co-chair Eric Schumacher Rasmussen and friends who attended and presented at the Online Video Platform Summit. Also, thanks to Erin McMahon Lyman at Magnify Communications and the folks at GigaOm for a great NewTeeVee Live event!

    Stay tuned for upcoming interviews and analysis from these events.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Online Video by the Numbers: Analytics, Reporting, and Metrics

    Without detailed information on who’s watching—not to mention where, when, for how long, and on what devices—it’s impossible to prove the business value of your video communications initiative. The ability to measure video traffic beyond "views"-including audience dropoff, what sites and search terms are referring viewers, and audience geography-offers content publishers deeper insight into both the viewing habits of their audience and the extent of their video's reach. At the Online Video Platform Summit, our session, "Online Video by the Numbers: Analytics, Reporting, and Metrics" examines not only what data you should be collecting but how to use that data to improve the effectiveness of your video and increase your ROI.

    Confirmed speakers for this session include:

    Paul Riismandel, Director of Curriculum Support, School of Communication, Northwestern University (Moderator)
    Paul Riismandel has been working in online educational media for fifteen years, specializing in audio and video production designed for streaming. Paul is active in the educational media community as an advocate for online video and encouraging greater collaboration between the education vertical and the larger industry. He writes about these issues in the Class Act column for Streaming Media magazine. Paul is also a radio enthusiast, serving as advisor to student-run WNUR-FM at Northwestern University, and blogging about the future of radio at He also blogs and podcasts about other media stuff at

    Brett Wilson, Co-Founder, CEO, TubeMogul
    Brett leads the strategic direction for TubeMogul. He spent the first three years of his career as a consultant for Accenture. Next, he founded and led, a profitable e-commerce company that obtained over $69 million in revenue and was successfully acquired. Brett is undefeated at Risk, is the reigning Foosball champion at TubeMogul and a lousy (but aspiring) windsurfer, sailor and investor. He is also married and has two beautiful children. Brett received his MBA from the UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

    Bismarck C Lepe, Co-founder and President of Products, Ooyala
    As an Ooyala co-founder and founding CEO, Bismarck Lepe raised $10 million in funding and signed many of the company's early media partnerships before passing the baton to Jay Fulcher in 2009. Currently, as President of Product Strategy, he is responsible for marketing and driving Ooyala's product development vision. Bismarck sits on the Ooyala Board of Directors.

    Before co-founding Ooyala, Bismarck worked at Google as a Senior Product Manager, developing and managing new products for the company's AdSense network. He launched more than 25 different Google AdSense products, including Click-to-Play video ads and Google's Intelligent Ad Server, which brought the company over $1 billion dollars in new annual revenue. Most notably, Bismarck managed the early growth of AdSense display and video advertising. Business Week named Bismarck one of its Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs of 2009. Bismarck has a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Computer Science from Stanford University.

    AJ McGowan, CTO, Unicorn Media
    AJ McGowan is responsible for engineering the cutting-edge architecture that will deliver high-quality audio and video via a highly intuitive interface. Prior to Unicorn Media, AJ spent five years at Limelight Networks where as director of solutions engineering, he assisted the company's marquee customers with implementing their content delivery networks, developing best practices, and capacity planning.

    With a remarkable combination of intelligence and drive, AJ started his first company building high-end custom computers while still in the 8th grade. By age 14, he was an IT manager, and in between high school classes completed a highly technical token ring/mainframe to Ethernet/NT-Unix network upgrade and answered pages from distressed employees.

    Dan Berra, Vice President of Business Intelligence, Unicast
    Dan Berra leads Unicast’s Business Intelligence division focused on providing robust research, reporting and in-depth analysis of all Unicast-generated advertising campaigns. Under his leadership, clients gain greater insight into campaign results and the effectiveness of rich media and web video against other forms of online advertising As a respected industry veteran, Berra brings more than 12 years of experience spanning financial and marketing analysis at Dell Corporation and T3 (The Think Tank). Most recently, Berra served as the Vice President of the Customer Insight Group at T3, where he built media and search analytics teams from the ground up and created data integration process and databases tying together ad server data, web analytics and client-side data into one interface. Previous to T3 Berra served as transactional marketing manager, at Dell Corp, where he headed the development of segment-level online metrics, created forecasting models and managed transactional marketing. His expertise is in  media and web analytics and measurement,  rich media and online video, next generation web, online media planning and buying, ROI, online advertising and Third Party ad serving.

    Dan Piech, Senior Product Management Analyst, comScore Inc.

    Dan is a Senior Product Management Analyst at comScore, Inc. and President at Piech Productions. Previously, he was anInteractive Strategy Intern at McKinney, Project Manager at HG Media, Inc and Advertising Intern at Success Communications Group. comScore is a marketing research company that provides marketing data and services to many of the Internet's largest businesses.

    The Online Video Platform Summit is a two-day event designed to help organizations of all t>ypes, not just those for whom video is their core business. Held on November 2-3 in conjunction with
    Streaming Media West in Los Angeles, the Online Video Platform Summit 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.