We began with a list of nearly 200 companies, from all points in the online video ecosystem — from the record button on a video camera to the play button on the viewing device, and everything in between. Still, as you might expect from a publication that is at least in part a trade magazine, the list is heaviest on companies in the middle of that continuum and lightest on the companies on either end.
We considered developing a list of empirically verifiable criteria against which to evaluate each company, but then we realized that was a fool’s errand. While it might ensure against criticism, it wouldn’t in and of itself give the list any more value than what we ended up doing, which was to ask 10 industry experts — all regular contributors to Streaming Media — to provide us with a list of nominees to which we would all assign a value of 0 to 5; 0 being “doesn’t belong on the list at all” and 5 being “the list would be suspect without it.” Then we averaged all the judges’ scores for our final ranking. (In case you’re wondering, only one company — YouTube — scored a perfect 5.)
We wanted to create a list that would be both representative and thought-provoking, which means that hopefully you’ll respond to entries with “huh?” at least as often as you respond with "duh.” That doesn’t mean we included all the left-field suggestions from our judges. For instance, TED.com’s successful video offering—the pricey, some even say elitist, conference puts videos of every one of its inspiring talks online, for free — could teach a few of the larger social video sharing sites a few things about how to lay out content, says Streaming Media contributing editor Jose Castillo. In the end, though, TED didn’t make the cut, simply because its impact on online video hasn’t been felt as deeply as perhaps it should have been.
Does that mean we only included companies that have had an undeniable impact on the industry? Not necessarily. At least one small company made the final cut simply because it has not only survived but thrived for 13 years, through not one but two tech bubbles, growing slowly but surely, not via venture capital but internal reinvestment, based not in Silicon Valley, New York, or Hollywood but in Detroit. PowerStream may not have the most customers, and it didn’t invent any groundbreaking technology, but it deserves recognition nonetheless.
So if any of the companies in the first annual Streaming Media 100 have you scratching your head, take the time to do a little research and find out what they’re all about. You just might be surprised.
You can see many of these companies and their products and services in person at Streaming Media Europe
in London next week, Streaming Media West
in Los Angeles next month, and at Streaming Media East
in New York in May.
Troy Dreier, Senior Associate Editor, Streaming Media and OnlineVideo.net
Tony Klejna, President, High Park Media*
Jan Ozer, Principal, Doceo Publishing*
Dan Rayburn, Senior Vice President, Streaming Media
Paul Riismandel, Director of Curriculum Support, Northwestern University
Dom Robinson, Principal D2 Consulting*
Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen, Editor, Streaming Media and OnlineVideo.net
Tim Siglin, Chairman, Braintrust Digital*
Sjoerd Vogt, Director U.K. and Europe Sales, Streaming Media
Joel Unickow, Publisher, Streaming Media and OnlineVideo.net
*Contributing Editor to Streaming Media magazine