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2018 Online Video Industry Predictions
GUNSLINGERS UNITE: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE 2018 ONLINE INDUSTRY VIDEO PREDICTIONS

Our editor Eric just asked me to never again use the words “Wild West” to describe our industry. He rolled his eyes and said I’ve used it too much over the years. Guilty as charged. So, with one hand on my heart and the other raised in the air, I hereby promise not to use that term again or talk about why it applies to streaming video—at least after this article.

I keep saying “Wild West” because we work in a “make it up as you go” industry. And while some companies bounce into the frame and then roll out like tumbleweeds, there’s no question that the industry moves forward not by chasing trends but by the hard work of incredibly smart people—“gunslingers” with great ideas. And it happens fast.

I remember at the end of 2016 pitching Eric that I felt HDR would be a really big deal in 2017. As I write this in early December 2017, I just saw streaming industry veteran Ben Waggoner post on social media that Amazon Prime is streaming about 100 shows in HDR10+. That didn’t take long! I think the first time HDR turned my head was when Tim Siglin interviewed Streaming Media West 2015 keynoter Corey Smith, who was then with Microsoft’s Xbox Live (go2sm.com/corey). Back then Smith said, “I believe that 1080p60 with HDR will actually have a better customer adoption than traditional 4K just because of the lack of content on the market.” Our June issue in 2017 carried the cover story “HDR: Blackest Blacks” (go2sm.com/smjune17) and well, here we are, problem solved. I’m scared that my next prediction will be solved before this article even gets published!

The pace of our industry is getting even faster, but we have to be careful to not take steps backwards by overpromising—that’s how you wind up on Boot Hill. Second Screen anyone? How many years ago did you see HEVC solutions on an expo floor? I’m not going to say, because it’s kind of embarrassing, since it really didn’t become a big deal until Apple decided to be the “play out” for HEVC. So yes, we are making up this industry as we go along, and there are lots of ideas being pushed—some reasonable and some a bit far-fetched, but hey, that’s trail blazing. My job isn’t to tell you what’s going to happen next, but if you look closely at what we do here at Streaming Media, the clues are there—we only publish the important stuff. And if you haven’t looked at our editorial calendar for this year, well, maybe you should (go2sm.com/edcal). We don’t hide it behind forms. I’m happy to go over it with you—shoot me an email, or better yet, call me.

But I digress. Enough about us and enough about the Wild West. My intro to this section is meant to introduce those “gunslingers” who really can tell you what to keep an eye on. Pay attention, because a gun plus three of a kind always beats three of a kind.

See the linked articles below or download this PDF as the section appeared in the January/February Issue of Streaming Media magazine.

Joel Unickow

VP/PUBLISHER | STREAMING MEDIA

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