Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Twistage Glues the Pieces of Video Publishing Workflow

David Wadler is CEO of Twistage, a framework he says  – that allows companies to build customized video experiences very quickly.  I caught up with Wadler at Streaming Media East 2010, who often pitches Twistage as a glue company – a series of disjointed pieces that they glue together to give publishers a customized video workflow. Most online video platforms, he says, are vertically integrated applications in silos and consumers are generally not given a choice to customize their video workflow. Twistage is built on a core set of open, REST-based APIs, and can seamlessly integrate into any existing workflow as a white-label product. Being a platform for other platforms is its sweet spot.

Wadler jokes that he works 79 hours a day, and runs his company lean and mean – as an agile shop of eleven employees, with a two week development cycle of new features and capabilities. Twistage was acknowledged as Contender in the November 2009 Forrester Research Wave™ report: US Online Video Platforms, Q4 2009, which evaluated six leading online video platform vendors.
The report noted that Twistage, "offers many out-of-the-box competitive capabilities and has focused on developing an API-based tool set that allows it to put together more custom back-end solutions. Even with a small development team, the platform has won business on leading consumer video sites and has built an impressive reporting application."

The New York City-based company was founded in 2004 and officially launched as a SaaS platform in 2006, however Wadler says that they've been marketing the platform only in the last 9 months. As a company that has been in stealth mode for more than four years, they've been getting a lot of inbound leads, which is taking some getting used to – as most leads have been through outsourcing the sales process through the channels.

While Twistage does a lot of the same things as other platforms, Wadler noted that his team has built a different product from other platforms, and are not competing for marketing and sales spend. 
"We really focus on engineering, and one of the nice things about being a platform for platforms is you get phenomenal scale at very very low cost to sales."
Key customers include Jive Software, Mochilla,, Mansueto Digital, KIDZ BOP and Drama Fever and a number of partners ranging from content delivery networks to various ad networks to production companies. Wadler pointed out that they've had these customers for a while now, but just didn't tell the world about it.

See this TV Worldwide video from Streaming Media East 2010 for a closer look at a few customer case examples and this Streaming Media West Red Carpet interview by Peter Cervieri, to hear about the early days of Twistage when the technology focused more heavily on distributed transcoding and delivery and how the founders conceived and developed, a Pre-YouTube UGC video sharing site. Wadler also told Beet.TV that Twistage Plans to Double Staff and Turn Profit in 2010, and described how the company "operates solely on a licensing fee model, earning revenue based on the number of streams delivered for customers."

Wadler also was a guest on Streaming Media TV: @C-Level Grill With Twistage's David Wadler in September 2009 where he discussed "the pros and cons of venture capital on a personal level, as the developer, financier, and the CEO." He was a featured speaker on the Encoding Best Practices and Strategies web event today hosted by Streaming Media that included presenters from Telestream, Sorenson Media, Twistage and ViewCast. According to Dan Rayburn, the session had a record 1,709 people registered for the event.

Beyond its white-label video solutions for content ingestion and management, video delivery, monetization, syndication and reporting, Twistage offers an image management product in addition to the video solution and audio management may be in their development plan for full rich media management.

Wadler said that Twistage is more focused on responding to customer needs than building out a strategic product roadmap:
"We're an agile shop. It's hard for us to look out a year, it's really about taking the temperature of the market, seeing where it's going and seeing if we can beat it there by a little bit."

About Twistage
The highly customizable Twistage SaaS (Software as a Service) platform supports a wide range of video formats, monetization options and business rules, allowing customers to incorporate video into their existing digital infrastructure. Built on a foundation of robust APIs, the platform embraces a “design your own video experience” methodology that helps content owners rapidly deploy and scale online video applications while allowing for greater return on existing investment. For more information, visit Follow Twistage (twistage) on Twitter

Update 7/1/10 - added new text and links to post.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beet.TV Gets to The Root of the Media Revolution

Andy Plesser is Executive Producer, Founder and Publisher of Beet.TV, the 4-year old video blog that chronicles the online video and digital media revolution. Beet.TV features exclusive video interviews with executives from technology and media companies including Google, Microsoft, Cisco, The New York Times and Adobe to scores of start-ups, online video platforms as well as artists who are pioneering digital media innovation. I caught up with Andy at Streaming Media East 2010, where he talked about the launch of Beet.TV in 2006, Beet.TV's unique style of news reporting, how distribution and sponsorship has grown and his perspective on the state of online video today.

Beet.TV is generally recognized as the first business-oriented video blog publishing an average of two new videos per day. You can usually spot Andy or his West Coast correspondent and Senior Producer, Daisy Whitney and her husband Jeff Brooks at conferences and industry events, interviewing many of the shakers and movers in the online video industry. Today, there are some 1900 videos in the Beet.TV archives, and the videos can be seen all over the web embedded on technology blogs and news organizations including CNET, The New York Times and Reuters News Service.

Beet.TV was launched in March 2006 by Andy Plesser as an offshoot of his PR firm Plesser Holland Associates, which has a variety of clients, including CBS Interactive,, and various universities. Andy's background is in filmmaking and PR, and he said that his PR clients began to demand more and more TV, so he decided to build his own channel with videos of TV appearances and  interviews with clients he recorded, edited and uploaded to the web himself. His publishing platform at the time was VideoEgg and Typepad, and he called it PlessTV back then, which he he split off from the PR firm as a bona fide media company. Soon after, his coverage focused specifically on the emergence of online video and its impact on industry and society.

Andy spoke to Beet.TV's unique style of news reporting in this way:
"I don't see myself as a journalist, like someone at TechCrunch or CNET. I don't claim to compete with them. I have organized people as sort of a networker, if you will, creating salons. So, I have an idea of how to organize who is important, and who is a  player – and I organize those people – instead of in a room at a party or something, or as a conference – as sort of a one-on-one. But Beet.TV has always been very much of a salon, or a place where people see who is important – and that's really the vision of it. I've also found a way to break news by using video reporting, as opposed to text reporting which is kind of different. We provide just the context around the interview, but the real story and the news, is in the video reportage itself."
Andy believes in short-form content and Beet.TV videos generally range from 3-5 minutes each. He says that the web is snackable, and most business people looking for news really don't have a lot of time for long-form video content. Short snippets of important and relevant information under 5 minutes is Beet.TV's sweet spot.

In terms of where we are in the state of online video, Andy says that it's an exciting time that has changed dramatically over the last four years. Many businesses based on content creation and content aggregation have both emerged and fallen by the wayside in the short time.
"I think that there's been probably too many players in a number of the categories, and then there was a tremendous downdraft by the economy. But I think it's an exciting time now, because inexorably the web is becoming more and more video-centric very single day. I think that's a great opportunity for vendors of many types that are here at the conference, but the whole utility around getting video online and on mobile, is just exploding – it's a great time."
Earlier this year Andy was recognized as one of The 2010 Streaming Media All-Stars - for his pioneering and tireless work at covering the emerging online video industry. He noted that the biggest trend in online video is "The consumption of video away from destinations and the rise of new syndication schemes", and the biggest challenge facing the industry is, "Video needs to be properly indexed and searched for web use and for devices. We are not there yet."

In terms of what's next for Beet.TV, Andy says that it's growing, selling more sponsorships and hoping to announce a major syndication partner sometime this year. This summer, Andy spun off Beet.TV as a subsidiary of Plesser Holland. The new unit is creating custom video blogs for clients including MIT and Fordham University.

In addition to the many video interviews Andy conducted at this year's Streaming Media East conference, he also fit in time to moderate a panel session on, Video Search: Finding Content in a Thousand-Channel Universe, which explored how some of today's search services work and what's being developed to make them even better.

Moderator: Andy Plesser, Executive Producer,
Jim Lanzone, CEO,
Tom Wilde, CEO, RAMP
Jack Rotherham, SVP, Strategic Development and Partnerships, Metacafe
Dina Kaplan, Co-Founder,

With the arrival of "video everywhere" and increasing online video viewership, what role does search need to play to make it easier for consumers to find what they want to watch? Indexing and chapterizing video to make it easily searchable can make the content much more valuable and effective, but that alone won't increase consumption. With the recent upgrades of searchable video services by major social networks and the deals made with big media properties to index streaming and downloadable entertainment, video searching is quickly becoming crucial to today's content economy.

As a video blogger, Andy says that the medium is an important new platform for corporations, institutions and any business small, medium or large.
“Just as blogging can make any entity a publisher, the ease of video production means that organizations can be television programmers with an effective distribution network on the Internet.”

About Andy Plesser
Andy Plesser
Andy Plesser is founder and CEO of, a video blog that covers the world of online video by reporting on consumer generated content, the industry players, and tools and services. The vlog explores the societal and business implications of this phenomenon. Beet.TV evolved from Plesser Holland, a public relations firm that represents WIRED, PC Magazine, Gourmet, CNET Networks,, Technology Review, Red Herring, and PRWeek. Andy recently spun off Beet.TV as a subsidiary of Plesser Holland. The new unit is creating custom video blogs MIT and Fordham University. Prior to this, Andy was a senior vice president at Howard J. Rubenstein. He was also a jazz impresario for producer Joseph Papp, an associate producer at CBS, and a press officer in the presidential campaign of Walter Mondale.

Follow Andy Plesser (Beet_TV) on Twitter
Like Beet.TV on Facebook

Thursday, June 24, 2010

KIT digital Provides Multi-platform Video Delivery with VX-one Platform

I met with Lou Schwartz, Head of the Americas for KIT digital, at Streaming Media East 2010, to get an update on the recent merger of Multicast Media with KIT digital. Schwartz co-founded and led Multicast Media for 10 years, a privately-held Atlanta-based online video platform company that specialized in live webcasting, IP video management and targeted multimedia communications. Schwartz discussed the rationale for the merger transaction, and KIT digital's product roadmap strategy focused on multi-platform delivery and greenfield markets.

KIT digital is a publicly traded IP-based video delivery company based in Prague, Czech Republic with global offices in 28 different countries and 3 regions, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East and, the Americas, that extends from Canada to South America, which Schwartz assumed responsibility for with the merger. KIT digital acquired Multicast Media in March 2010 for approximately $18 million, following the purchases of Narrowstep, Visual Connection, Morpheum, Kamera, The Feedroom and Nunet. Both The Feedroom and Nunet brands were both acquired and retired in late 2009, but Multicast is alive and well and now part of the KIT digital family.

Multicast Media provided media communications solutions and delivered 50,000 live events in 2009 for nearly 1,000 organizations of all types, with a large sector of media and entertainment, faith-based and enterprise customers. Schwartz said that the rationale for the merger with KIT digital, was based on a huge opportunity for Multicast to grow beyond its vertical strategy in browser-based delivery to multi-platform three-screen delivery, with a greater emphasis on mobile handsets and set-top boxes and IPTV delivery. After 10 year in the business, Multicast recognized that the market was rapidly expanding in favor of multi-platform delivery.

According to Schwartz:
"What KIT brought to the table was all this experience globally around the mobile handsets and set-top box and IPTV delivery, and felt that our clients and customers, particularly in the enterprise space and other vertical markets that we were pursuing, were looking for a true multi-platform strategy. What the transaction did for us was enable us to expand the breadth of our product and service and also give us global visibility – and being a publicly traded company today is really a safe bet when enterprise customers are looking to find a vendor of choice."
Schwartz described KIT digital's financial performance positive, with a recently completed capital raise of about $60 million, a healthy balance sheet, and a first quarter revenue up 80% to record $17.4 million from $9.6 million in the same quarter a year ago. According to a recent earnings report, KIT digital currently has approximately 23.1 million common shares outstanding, with approximately $67 million in cash on the balance sheet. The company's revenues are primarily comprised of software license and maintenance fees, software set-up fees, and technical integration and creative service charges.

The merger helped Multicast cross sell among products among existing KIT customers and take advantage of greenfield markets where it hadn't been able to take advantage of previously. What is unique and really appealing him, Schwartz said, is the heightened focus on verticalizing around certain markets. As this industry matures, he said, the audience for their services are looking for guidance and they are taking more of a consultative approach to sales and marketing. Not all video initiatives are driven by monetization models based on advertising, subscription and pay-per-view as with media and entertainment, and customers other verticals like enterprise, faith, government have specialized business requirements that mainly drive corporate communications, training, marketing and sales.

As part of the appeal of the acquisition strategy, Schwartz described the goal of consolidating the "best of breed" capabilities into one common platform they call VX-one, which has been released and start migrating customers onto over the next few quarters. KIT is harvesting the best technology and solutions from within each of the product stacks of Multicast, The Feedroom and other acquisitions into a unified platform. KIT also recently acquired broadcast video and IPTV provider, Benchmark Broadcast Systems, to further expand in the South Asia, Southeast Asia and Greater China region.

Schwartz elaborated on KIT's view of the online video platform space, reiterating that the company is taking more of a consultative approach with its customers:

"With respect to the online video platform space, we still see it as a very crowded market, particularly in the US. As we expand our focus globally we're seeing greenfield markets again. We're going to into South America, into Brazil, into Argentina, where don't see our peers regularly. But we're not competing in an online video platform space for the table stakes, the things that you commonly see in an online video platform – transcoding, asset  management and distribution – there's certain basic features that all of our peers and competitors have baked into their online video platform. 
We believe that we have to touch the client in a variety of ways. It's not just video on demand put on your website, but it's video threaded into every communication. We're looking for customers that are making video the fabric of their communicate strategy... We're not looking for the commodity buyer, we're looking for the purchaser within our defined verticals that is more solutions and business oriented, and looking to us for thought leadership and guidance."

About KIT digital, Inc.
KIT digital (NASDAQ: KITD) is a leading, global provider of on-demand, Internet Protocol (IP)-based video asset management systems (VAMS). KIT VX-one, the company's end-to-end software platform, enables enterprise clients to acquire, manage and distribute video assets across the three screens of today's world: the personal computer, mobile device, and IPTV-enabled television set. The application of VX ranges from commercial video distribution to internal corporate deployments, including corporate communications, human resources, training, security and surveillance. KIT digital's client base includes more than 1,000 customers across 30+ countries, including The Associated Press, Best Buy, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Disney-ABC, FedEx, General Motors, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Home Depot, IMG Worldwide, Intel, News Corp, Telefonica, the U.S. Department of Defense, Verizon, and Vodafone. KIT digital is headquartered in Prague, and maintains principal offices in Atlanta, Cairo, Cologne, Dubai, Melbourne (Australia), London, New York, Stockholm and Toronto.
For additional information, visit or follow the company on Twitter at

Monday, June 21, 2010 Sees the Future of Video Encoding in the Cloud

At Streaming Media East 2010, I spoke with Jeff Malkin, President of, to hear about how his company's cloud-based encoding business model works, and how the company and customer base has shaped up over the last year and half. According to Malkin, is the world's largest encoding service, which he says both seriously and facetiously – and described his company as the dominant player in the encoding SaaS (Software as a Service) space, which he admits is a new and emerging space.

Since its launch in September 2008, San Francisco-based has delivered over 6 million encoded videos, and encodes an average of 30,000 videos per day for its growing customer base. With more than 700 customers, powers the encoding and transcoding services of many leading video publishers and platforms including Cisco Eos, MTV Networks, WebMD, CarDomain, MySpace, Nokia, Kaltura, Vzaar and Giant Realm. While their roster of customers are impressive, Malkin admits that he's most excited by the various use cases of how their customers are applying the service, for media and publishing, user generated content, online education, news and information – just to name a few.

Before came along, Malkin says that most companies invested a lot capital expense into infrastructure and teams to manage in-house encoding requirements. helps solve the "build vs. buy" conundrum by offering a SaaS model that leverages cloud infrastructure through an XML API.  The company is the only video encoding SaaS provider integrated with both EC2 and Cloud Servers, with storage choices with Rackspace and Amazon.

He maintains that makes it easy at a very high level:
"You tell us where the source file is located – that can be at a CDN, cloud storage, secure FTP –  the one or many ways you want each file to be transcoded, and where do you want us to deliver it to. Which is 9 out of 10 times to your CDN for serving." 

Malkin described's value through cost-savings, quality, and a scalable solution:
"By approaching the market this way, we solve some critical pain points for our customers. Number one is this instant notion of infinite scalability. No longer do you need to worry about making these large investments up front or being able to predict your video encoding requirements. There's this notion of having to manage this in-house – as many of us know in the video encoding space, video encoding is somewhat of a black art, there's lots of errors that occur, it's not really a science yet – and by outsourcing it to an automated platform such as, it's our job to manage that effort for you, and as you know, stay on top of the latest and greatest of the technologies that continue to evolve." supports all the major and emerging web and mobile media formats, including Apple's HTTP streaming and Google's new open source WebM format. In a guest post for VideoNuze, Malkin offered some insight and advise on how to navigate the video format wars.  With confusion in the online video marketplace with HTML5/H.264 vs. Flash vs. Silverlight vs. WebM, he says it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

According to Malkin:
"While both H.264 and VP8 are good quality codecs, only VP8 is currently royalty-free and therefore, has a great opportunity to emerge as the new leader within the next year or two. However, for web distribution today, we recommend encoding your videos using the H.264 video codec in an .mp4 container. This is a high-quality output format already supported by Flash, and the leading HTML5 browsers including Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer v9."
Malkin says that the mastermind behind is his partner, Greggory Heil,'s Founder and CEO, and for him it was born out of necessity. Heil was running a software company focused on building and managing user-generated video sites, and wanted to streamline the incompatibility issues he kept running into with encoding and ingesting of video content. He found only expensive hardware solutions on the market and saw an opportunity to fill a gap in the market using his background in product development and application hosting services. Heil relaunched as a SaaS video encoding platform in September 2008, moving into the cloud and away from the company's roots of the mid-1990s where they hand coded and archived source video content from videotape formats. was named one of seven finalists in Amazon Web Services' 2008 $100,000 Startup Challenge. also received praise from Streaming Media EVP Dan Rayburn earlier in the year, in a post: Would Be On My List Of Top Companies To Watch In 2010 | The Business Of Online Video.

Rayburn said:
"One of the things I really like about is that they are small, focused and want to be the best at only one thing. Their executives know the market, have spent a great deal of time and effort to create a very good platform and frankly, I think they are really smart. They know what they want to be, where their service fits into the market and what problem they need to solve. In just about every piece of the video ecosystem, be it content delivery or video management, there tends to be many players, but one clear leader. While is not the only SaaS based transcoding service on the market, they are already by far the leader in the space and I expect them to further dominate this segment of the market this year."
In addition, Streaming Media magazine selected as an, “Editors’ Picks 2010 – The Best of the Best”, as one of the top ten hottest companies in the world of online video.

Last week, the company released a new API that allows customers to offer as a white-label solution within their own platforms. In December 2009, closed a $1.25 Million Series A funding from VC and angel investors. Malkin says the company will use the funds to fuel aggressive sales, marketing, and brand awareness initiatives. plans to stay hyper focused on their core business and customers. 

Malkin also spoke at Streaming Media East panel session: B203: Automation and Workflow Solutions for Transcoding Your Video Content and you can view the archive of that session here: Conference Videos -

About, the world's largest video encoding service, makes video transcoding into all popular formats easy, cost-effective and instantly scalable for global enterprises and SMBs including video sites, agencies, and website development platforms. As the first and only encoding service offering service level agreements, removes the necessity for its customers and partners to make heavy investments in expensive hardware/software solutions and overhead required to manage high-volume video transcoding needs and backs it with a wait-time service level guarantee. received Series A funding in 2010 from Metamorphic Ventures and angel investors: Patrick Condon, Fred Hamilton, Zelkova Ventures, Dave Morgan and Allen Morgan. It was selected as an Editors’ Pick for 2010 by StreamingMedia. This Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business is based in Denver, Colorado and San Francisco, California. For more information about, visit

Friday, June 18, 2010

Kontiki Enables Reach & Engagement with Enterprise Video Platform

I caught up with Eric Armstrong, President and CEO of Kontiki, at Streaming Media East 2010, to get his perspective on the state of enterprise video communications. One of the biggest challenges for companies of global scale, is the ability for leaders to reach and engage employees. Armstrong believes that CEO all-hands webcasts and video messages from senior leaders helps employees to feel connected to their companies. Since 2000, Kontiki has offered live and on-demand video solutions for enterprise video customers. The Sunnyvale, California-based company has built a SaaS enterprise video platform and a social video portal focused on both extending the reach of executive communications while increasing the engagement of employees.

Koniki also knows how important security and control are to its enterprise customers in the financial services, retail, technology, telecommunications and manufacturing market sectors, and recently achieved Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70 (SAS 70) Type II certification, a widely-recognized auditing standard to validate and assure that it has the processes, procedures and policies in place to run a secure data center and video service. Kontiki is the first enterprise video SaaS solution to achieve this certification.

Eric Armstrong believes in the power of video, and explained its value in this way:
"Video allows the leaders of a company to connect in a very personal way to every employee in the company anywhere in the world. Simple media, like email or voicemail is fine for communicating basic facts. But if the message is complex, if there's a lot of changes going on in an organization or if there's a vision or a strategy that needs to be communicated, a leader needs to stand behind the message – and video is the most effective way to communicate those types of messages. Video makes you the owner of the message.
Armstrong says that many companies have been hesitant to offer high quality video solutions within their organizations based common misconceptions, or myths, about enterprise video being too costly or time consuming to deploy – a gap that Kontiki calls the video divide. The key issues within an enterprise that are different from Internet-delivered video are, as Armstrong conveyed, network WAN constraints, delivery bottlenecks, security and authentication reporting. He maintained that Kontiki’s cloud-based SaaS offering was designed to solve those problems, and can be deployed globally within just a few weeks.

A recent report by the Aberdeen Group titled, “Creating Video-Based Value for the Enterprise”, revealed how business leaders use video in their enterprises to maximize ROI. Aberdeen has seen a trend  from “Video 1.0” to “Video 2.0”, with enterprise video transitioning from simple broadcast and videoconferencing capabilities to business-driven usage of video intended to increase engagement rather than just reach.

The top 5 video technologies respondents plan to implement within the next 12 months are:
  • Video-embedded webcasting
  • Social networking features integrated with video content
  • Video optimized for mobile platforms
  • Video broadcast ability throughout the organizations
  • Broadcast video for corporate communications
According to Kontiki's Armstrong:
“We see the biggest challenges for enterprise video as the ability to reach all employees on disparate and congested networks or in remote locations and to engage them in a way that inspires and motivates them to work towards a shared vision. We believe Aberdeen has tapped into the most pressing question for enterprise video today - ‘where is the ROI?’ - and uncovered valuable trends that can be practically leveraged by other organizations to build rock solid business cases.”
Aberdeen offered several key takeaways from the report as recommendations for organizations seeking to optimize their use of video and gain business value:
  • Consider the value that video can provide to improve employee engagement and retention.
  • Strategize a plan for formal video management of all video assets, including a video platform accessible to all employees.
  • Improve social feedback for video content, such as ratings, comments and sharing.
  • Consider embedded and multi-modal uses of video, including live webcasting of events, such as CEO quarterly all-hands employee meetings
At Streaming Media East, Armstrong also moderated panel session on Consumer-Style Video Communication In The Enterprise, that discussed several use cases for enterprise video and the utilities and tools employees are using both internally and externally.

A203: Consumer-Style Video Communication In The Enterprise
Moderator: Eric Armstrong, President, Kontiki, Inc.
Scott Szczurek, Online Video Specialist, CME Group
Paolo Tosolini, Manager, Social Media, Online Video, Microsoft
Louis Broome, Content Publishing Manager, Microsoft
Tony Raimundo, SVP, Digital Media and Collaborative Technologies, CitiGroup

Learn how companies in the enterprise and education markets are adding familiar social media capabilities to video communication programs including user-generated content, ratings, tagging, comments and search. Come learn if your organization is ready to take the plunge into social video; why your employees may be posting confidential videos on YouTube and other public social networking sites; how to integrate into your existing infrastructure for live video, VOD or videoconferencing; and how to overcome the challenges of securing and controlling this powerful communication tool in a way that is consistent with company policies and culture.

Download the presentations slides here: SMEast2010-ConsumerVideoEnterprise.pdf

About Kontiki, Inc.
Founded in 2000, Kontiki offers an End-to-End Enterprise Video Platform, delivering all of the capabilities you need for a complete Video Communications solution, while ensuring absolute security and control over your network and content. From Live Video Webcasting and Video On-Demand to an Employee Video Portal with Social Media capabilities, Kontiki gives you the ability to build a video culture and align your organization, in the most engaging and effective way possible. Offered as a Software‐as‐a‐Service or Software License solution, Kontiki’s technology is unique in the market in that our customers can securely deliver high‐quality video to all employees globally, without deploying any networking or caching hardware.

Visit for more information.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Talkpoint Powers Enterprise Communications with Webcasting Solutions

It's been more than a decade since the Victoria’s Secret online fashion show became the first major webcast event with a record-breaking 1.5 million visitors worldwide. In 1999, an event of that proportion could not scale to support the audience size and necessary bandwidth requirements to provide a quality viewing experience on such a large scale. Nick Balletta, CEO of TalkPoint Communications remembers that webcast, and says that back then webcasting was more of a novelty with a poor end user experience. But today, webcasting for enterprise communications may finally be reaching a tipping point.

At Streaming Media East 2010, I spoke with Balletta about how his company powers enterprise communications with its webcasting and virtual meeting platform. New York-based TalkPoint Communications has been around since before 2000, and provides a browser-based Software as Services model (SaaS) for online meeting and presentations. The company is very active in the enterprise space with a global base of Fortune 1000 customers in the health care, pharmaceutical, life sciences, financial, technology and publishing markets. The original company was founded in 1997 as a joint project of Dow Jones Interactive and Microsoft desktop video and was previously known as NextVenue and later iBEAM. In 2001, iBeam launched TalkPoint as a web-based, self-publishing presentation product, the company later went private under the name TalkPoint.

Balletta says that Talkpoint's clients are most interested in using their large-scale global webcasting services, which incorporate audio, video, slides, and other interactive elements. These virtual events can be delivered as either an audio or video webcast, or webinar events for internal and external communications. Security and interactivity are important for Talkpoint customers, which Balletta maintains is Talkpoint's sweet spot.

Balletta summed up the value of webcasting for enterprise communications:
"We see webcasting more as a business tool, it's a workflow tool. Years ago it was something nice to do, now it's become a critical part of people's businesses – and now it's either driving revenues, supporting their brand, communicating with their different constituencies, whether they be shareholders, clients, employees – so it's clearly a business tool that's here to stay. We also see a trend to much more adoption of video – both at making it easier to view and easier to present. So we think video is something that's clearly going to be here for a long time."
See Balletta's related blog post: Is Corporate Use of Internet Broadcasting Approaching the Tipping Point? | TalkPoint Blog

Also, see The Webinar Blog: Web Conferencing Kicks Ash, for examples of how two Talkpoint customers used webcasting to reach stranded travelers.

About TalkPoint
TalkPoint provides Web-based audio and video Webcasting solutions that enable companies and organizations to communicate more effectively. TalkPoint's easy-to-use applications incorporate audio, video, slides, and other interactive elements to deliver high-impact presentations cost effectively. TalkPoint offers both self-service and full-service solutions.
For more information on TalkPoint, go to

Follow TalkPoint (TalkPointDotCom) on Twitter
Connect on Facebook | TalkPoint Webcasting
Subscribe to: Talkpoint Blog

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sorenson 360 v2 Ready to Take on Enterprise OVP Market

At Streaming Media East 2010, Sorenson Media launched Sorenson 360 v2, setting its sights squarely on the enterprise online video platform market with a new and improved version of its OVP solution. I caught up with Peter Csathy, President and CEO of Sorenson Media, to talk about the latest release – which comes exactly one year after the platform’s initial launch at Streaming Media East 2009. Sorenson 360, was released as a SaaS-based video platform that bundled video encoding, transcoding, storage, content management, player customization, delivery and analytics to extend the workflow of video professionals who were already using Sorenson Squeeze.

With 360 V2, Sorenson has expanded its scope beyond its initial SMB customer base to the larger enterprise customers it already serves – in media and entertainment, Fortune 500, education and non-profit sectors – with its Sorenson Spark and Sorenson Squeeze products. Sorenson believes that it can capture a significant market share with its $99/month package that rivals Brightcove's $99/month Express package. Sorenson has included a full new set of features available as part of the standard 360 subscription, not found in any package available from its competitors.

Sorenson has completely rewritten the CMS – moving away from Adobe Flex and fully embracing web application technologies of AJAX and HTML5 – with the goal was to bring greater functionality, speed and customization to video publishers. Among the new features, Sorenson has introduced RTMP streaming with unlimited data rates, auto-generated playlists, drag and drop functionality, complete white-label customization, APIs for developers and deeper integration with social media, SEO and video editing tools. Sorenson has also included intelligent embed codes to automatically detect the client and unwrap the correct player for web or mobile experiences.

Customers can add "high-value" modules for additional functionality for IAB-compliant ad serving, interoperability with all Flowplayer-compatible networks, Drupal and WordPress plug-ins, a Flash Player SDK and SquishNet, its “You-Tube-in-a-Box” browser-based encoder application used by sites like John McCain's video supporter wall to fully incorporate user-generated content.

According to Csathy, Sorenson has a winning solution with 360 v2 – built on its storied history dating back to 1995, and foundation in high quality video encoding and listening to its customers. Sorenson offers a unique pay-as-you-go pricing model based on actual usage, which it's able to do through its partnership with Amazon Web Services. Sorenson is convinced that it offers the biggest bang for your buck by providing every customer, regardless of size, the same benefits of its enterprise-grade features.

View complete details about Sorenson 360 v2 at:

Read the press release: Sorenson Media’s New Sorenson 360 v2 Online Video Platform Built for the Enterprise

About Sorenson Media
Sorenson Media offers comprehensive, award-winning solutions that empower businesses and video professionals to easily and affordably publish the highest-quality video to the Internet and other media. Included among its products and services are the Sorenson 360 Video Delivery Network (VDN), Sorenson Media’s re-imagined video publishing platform; Sorenson Squeeze, the gold-standard for video encoding applications; Sorenson Squish and SquishNet, which together create an easy-to-use browser-based video publishing platform for user-generated content; and Sorenson Spark, the industry’s most widely used video codec, which enables mobile devices and other consumer products to playback the largest selection of video on the Internet today. Since its inception in 1995, Sorenson Media has been instrumental in bringing Internet video to mainstream applications and is committed to dramatically improving the online video experience for both content creators and consumers. Follow Sorenson Media (sorensonmedia) on Twitter

Monday, June 7, 2010

Andy Beach explains, "What the heck is H.264 SVC?"

Last month at Streaming Media East 2010, I caught up with Andy Beach, Chief Evangelist at Seawell Networks and author of Real World Video Compression, and asked him to explain, "What the heck is H.264 SVC?" Andy was at Streaming Media East to promote the release of Seawell Networks' Lumen 1000, a turnkey appliance for encoding H.264 scalable video coding (SVC) streaming video across multiple platforms. This was SeaWell's first product announcement following a $7 million in Series A funding announcement earlier in the year.

Scalable Video Coding (SVC) is a new extension of the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC video compression standard that enables multi-platform and adaptive streaming from a single file. Andy explained that existing adaptive bit rate technologies creates multiple files that enhances the viewing experience. Yet it puts a real burden on the infrastructure, and increases the workload and cost of content creation, storage and delivery. But with SVC, instead of producing separate streams, the SVC encoder converts the source into layers in an "encode once serve many" model. The SVC stream is comprised of 3 dimensions – clarity, spatial, and temporal layers and each layer adds information to the lower layers, rather than just duplicating information into multiple bit rates.

According to Andy,
"This allows big content producers creating a wide range of content to deploy more content out on network, because you can spend less time creating each individual file that you want to deliver."

The Lumen 1000 is a transcoding appliance that converts the source video into layers, starting with a base layer that contains the lowest level of quality, and is backwards compatible with existing H.264 players. In addition to the base layer, the encoder also creates enhancement layers that contain video quality, size/resolution, and frame-rate information. This allows multiple bit rates to be derived from a single file with a little headroom of only 10 to 20% larger than the highest bit rate required. SeaWell says that content owners encoding with the Lumen 1000 will see a 50-70% reduction in storage needs over current multi-bitrate encoding solutions.

Andy says we're in the early days of SVC adoption. It's a new standard that is just starting to come into its own this year, but we'll hear a lot more about later in the year and it's really going to blow out next year. Current SVC deployments can be found primarily in the videoconferencing space powering products like Google video chat and Cisco TelePresence. While the media and entertainment world has not yet embraced SVC as a playback option – they are paying attention.

Glenn Goldstein, vice president media technology strategy, MTV Networks had this to say:
"With the rise in demand for premium content to be available across multiple platforms, the industry needs an approach that can efficiently target appropriate quality to a range of devices with a wide variety of computing capabilities, and be able to adapt smoothly to variable network conditions. SVC’s scalable single-encode approach looks promising for addressing these problems in a more efficient manner than the current multi-bitrate multi-encode technique used by much of the industry.”
SeaWell will continue to bring more new SVC products to market and some may even have a software component. For now though, the company is excited to be launching the first SVC video streaming solution.

About SeaWell Networks
SeaWell Networks Inc. is a provider of Internet video delivery products designed for use by content producers and their content delivery partner organizations. SeaWell combines video compression standards and network level intelligence to uniquely create and deliver a high-quality viewing experience online while significantly reducing the cost of distribution. For more information see


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Elemental Delivers GPU-Accelerated Video Streaming Solutions

Last month at Streaming Media East, Sam Blackman, CEO and Co-Founder of Elemental Technologies, demonstrated Elemental Live and Elemental Server, two enterprise-class video processing systems for live and on-demand streaming. The Portland, Oregon-based software company, has pioneered the use of GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) and other massively parallel chips for video processing capable of handling multiple simultaneous tasks with much higher performance than CPU (central processing unit)-based transcoding. Blackman says that Elemental is the first company to take advantage of GPUs for video processing and that their solutions help lower the total cost of streaming video. Elemental Server was released in November 2009 and Elemental Live was recently launched at NAB in April 2010.

Blackman explained that Elemental Live works by taking a couple GPUs to create many concurrent real-time encoded versions of the input file. A single Elemental Live can simultaneously encode for any number of mobile handsets, either iPhone, iPad, Android devices, Flash, Microsoft Silverlight and more, for adaptive bit rate protocols, HTML 5 and multiple HD streams. Elemental Server takes files in and batch encodes to output files with two NVIDIA Corporation. video cards (each with two GPUs) as well as two quad-core CPUs.

The company says that through the combination of by combining GPU and CPU processing, one Elemental Server replaces up to seven dual quad core 3GHz CPU-only servers. Both products are single rack mount units with multiple inputs and outputs. Elemental says the two products are ideal for for broadcasters, studios, online video platforms and any other video transcoding application, and are much more cost-effective than other solutions. Elemental Live has a price tag of $36,000 and Elemental Sever sells for $26,000.

Demonstration Video - How the Elemental Video Engine Works

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Elemental's products are targeted to large data center operations and studios that require a sturdier solution than cloud alternatives HD Cloud and Elemental customers include Brightcove, CDC, Citrix, Highwinds and InQtel, and partners with Adobe, Microsoft, and Nvidia. Blackman co-founded Elemental technologies in 2006 with CTO Jesse Rosenzweig and Chief Architect Brian Lewis, who along with Blackman were former engineers of semiconducter company Pixelworks. Soon after their launch, Pixelworks provided seed funding to Elemental for initial reach and development and in July 2008 Elemental had raised a total $7.1 million Series A.

Elemental Technologies was recognized as one of 10 companies chosen for NewTeeVee’s Next Big Thing List for 2009 for their innovation in online video. Blackman was on hand to demo the GPU-accelerated Elemental Server which he debuted at the event. Other Elemental products include Elemental Accelerator for Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 renders Blu-ray quality AVC/H.264 files using the GPU and Badaboom, a consumer media converter, in partnership with NVIDIA Corporation.

About Elemental
Elemental Technologies is the leading provider of massively parallel video processing solutions for enterprise video customers. Elemental's products use off-the-shelf, programmable graphics processing units (GPUs) for compute-intensive video processing tasks. Founded in 2006, Elemental is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. To learn more about Elemental, visit

Follow Elemental (elementaltech) on Twitter
Check out the Elemental Technologies blog


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kaltura Brings Flexibilty and Control to Online Video

At Streaming Media East last month, Kaltura Co-Founder and CEO Ron Yekutiel illustrated the key differences between his company from the other online video platforms on the market. The two key differentiators Yekutiel emphasized are flexibility and control for online video publishers, with full control of Flash, Silverlight and HTML5 video content, and the flexible new Kaltura Exchange which fosters third-party development for their open source video platform. Kaltura offers a SaaS solution, a complete self-hosted solution and a free community edition of their open source video platform.

Over the last several months Kaltura has released a number of new features and capabilities, in response to the latest developments within the online video ecosystem, such as HTML5 video playback. As a founding member of the Open Video Alliance, Kaltura and open source partners launched to promote the growing community and development around the HTML5 video open standard. Kaltura also developed a full HTML5 Video Library, available for download at: Kaltura also recently announced full support of or Microsoft Silverlight, including the Silverlight-based player and Internet Information Services Smooth Streaming available with their hosted and self-hosted editions.

Kaltura has been on a steady pace to integrate open source video extensions into its platform, with the release of Joomla and Moodle video extensions earlier this year. As Yekutiel noted, the company recognized the rich innovation within the third-party developer community, which led to their announcement of "Kaltura Exchange", the virtual marketplace for video applications built to expand on the Kaltura platform. Applications within the Exchange, are in specific categories, such as skins, themes and language packs, plugins for the video player, remixer, and other video tools, client libraries in different programming languages, and stand-alone widgets and apps. Dozens of companies got on board at with the launch this past April, including, Tremor Media, TubeMogul, PLYmedia, Artivision,  Taboola, YuMe, LiveU, HD Cloud, Market7,, 3Play Media, TikiWiki and more.

Dr. Shay David, Kaltura VP of Business and Community Development noted that:
"The Kaltura Exchange facilitates a convenient and simple-to-use marketplace where publishers can find new apps and services to enhance their video experience, and developers and service providers can promote and generate revenue from their apps, services and unique expertise."
At Streaming Media East, Kaltura announced the commercial release of their self-hosted platform, which Yekutiel stressed, is the control publishers need to secure and manage their video content – and differentiates Kaltura from the other online video platforms.

Yekutiel described Kaltura's value proposition in this way:
"Our open source offering presents a highly attractive alternative to both 'build' and 'buy'. Kaltura's self-hosted platform enables customers to enjoy code ownership, flexibility, freedom from vendor lock-in, and cost savings, with a robust platform that is supported by a leading vendor and backed by a global developer community that ensures an unmatched pace of innovation."
Kaltura offers the following editions of its online video platform:
  • Kaltura SaaS Platform (Kaltura hosts it) - including Kaltura support and services such as tier-1 hosting and streaming, transcoding, syndication, advertising, security and more.
  • Kaltura Self-hosted Platform Commercial Edition (customer hosts it, gets support from Kaltura and can resell services) - offered either under an Enterprise license for organizations that need an online video platform for their own media, or an OEM license for organizations that want to support multiple sites and resell OVP services. Both licenses are offered with 3 levels of Kaltura maintenance and support services.
  • Kaltura Self-hosted Platform Community Edition (customer hosts it, gets it for free, gets support from community and must give all developments back to the community) -  developed through the combined efforts of Kaltura and the community. 
About Kaltura
Kaltura provides the world's first Open Source Online Video Platform. Over 52,000 web publishers, service providers, and developers use Kaltura's flexible platform to enhance their websites, web-services, and web-platforms with advanced customized video, photo and audio functionalities, including publishing, management, syndication, monetization and analysis, as well as content uploading and remixing. The free community-supported self-hosted software and source-code is available for download at A commercial version of the software can be obtained at along with Kaltura services such as streaming, hosting, transcoding, analytics, ad serving, support and maintenance packages, and professional development. Founded in 2006, New York-based Kaltura is also a founding member of the 'Open Video Alliance' (, a coalition of organizations dedicated to fostering open standards for online video.

Update 6/4/2010: See Ron Yekutiel's Streaming Media East Red Carpet interview with Peter Cervieri -  Kaltura CEO on Entrepreneurship -