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The 2009 Streaming Media All-Stars
Our annual team of the most innovative, influential, and important players in the online video arena.
Fri., April 10, by Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen
Learn more about the companies mentioned in this article in the Sourcebook:
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Tara Maitra, VP and GM, Content Services and Ad Sales, TiVo, Inc.

Previous job titles:
• Senior Director of Content Development, Comcast
• Executive Vice President, General Manager, Primedia Digital Video
• Vice President, General Manager, CNBC/Dow Jones Business Video

Proudest achievements:
• Short answer: 5 million pieces of content on TiVo.
• I'm proud that at TiVo we've been able to make available to our subscribers more content choices on TV than any distribution platform. With more than 5 million pieces of content through relationships with Netflix, YouTube, Rhapsody, Amazon Video on Demand, Music Choice, Jaman and another 100 channels of free content, we've got a complete content solution to the television that combines video on demand with linear TV in one user interface like no other service. I worked on the first subscription site for streaming financial news and business video in 1998 at NBC. It's amazing to see what we are doing 10 years later.

Next big thing:
"Short answer: Making those millions of content choices usable for the consumer. Now that we've added the ability to stream content directly to the TV via TiVo, in addition to downloads, we're going to continue to expand the offering and even more importantly, continue to find innovative ways to surface programming and targeted messages to the viewer in a manner he/she wants to experience it. We're already seeing a number of devices that port video to the TV but TiVo focuses on making the video searchable, easy to consume, and getting viewers what they want on their terms. Now we're taking the user interface to another level, which will benefit programmers, advertisers, and most of all, consumers."

Biggest challenge facing the industry:
"Short answer: Advertising. Whether streaming video online or to the TV, fast-forwarding is here to stay, and the percentage of viewers who fast forward commercials will continue to grow at a rapid pace. The burden is on programmers, distributors, and advertisers to rescue this essential revenue stream by finding ways to engage the viewer, who by the way, is now more in control than ever. It's not going to be easy but that's the challenge. We're focused on this as a top priority." "

Justin Shaffer, Founder, HotPotato Media, Inc.

Previous job title:
• SVP, New Media, MLB Advanced Media

Proudest achievements:
• Building MLB.TV and the Emmy-award-winning MLB.TV Mosaic
• Working with Justin Chapweske on making Swarmcast work for live streaming at scale
• Founding HotPotato

Next big thing:
"My new company, HotPotato, is focused on connecting friends and fans around live events."

Biggest trend in online video:
"It's finally getting easy to create and use. This group has made it second nature for most consumers."

Biggest challenge facing the industry:
"I don't know that its a challenge for the online video industry specifically, but I'd suggest that the next round of interfaces will be focused more on the best features of the internet (interactivity, real time communication, computing power), as opposed to 'just being video.' It's going to continue to mean that content is important, but can be collaboratively produced by a crowd." "

Dave Stoner, President, CEO, and Director, ViewCast

Previous job titles:
• VP of Operations, President, and CEO, ViewCast
• VP of Engineering, Visual Information Technologies

Proudest achievements:
• Building a team to take ViewCast from the startup phase to stable, sustained growth, driven by customer needs, not just technological possibilities
• Being a part of virtually the entire history of the streaming media industry

Biggest trend in online video:
"Maturing monetization strategies"

Biggest challenge facing the industry:
"Entrenched business practices tend to impede the development of more cost-effective broadband content delivery models that could offer more choice for consumers, and more innovative monetization strategies for content owners." "

Andrew Swart, VP Content Markets, Level 3 Communications

Previous job titles:
• Co-Founder, Sandpiper Networks
• VP of Engineering, Digital Island
• VP of Engineering, Cable & Wireless
• VP of Engineering, Savvis Communications

Proudest achievements:
• Developing the first content delivery network in 1996
• Receiving the earliest CDN patents for our inventions
• Founding Sandpiper and contributing to its success through its several owners

Next big thing:
"Can't be too specific for competitive reasons, but obviously expanding support for low cost, global delivery of rich media, including high-definition video."

Biggest trend in online video:
• Increased video quality bringing a true television experience online. Higher quality drives greater adoption and increases viewing duration. Leading to improved monetization, more than offsetting the higher delivery costs.
• Time freedom (time-shifted content) being embraced by broadcast industry and content owners
• Location freedom (not in person or in front of television) causing exponential growth in online real-time event viewership

Biggest challenge facing the industry:
• Ensuring that the networks scale to meet the projected growth of video, while at the same time improving quality and lowering theunit cost. Difficult to achieve all three at once.
• Player/protocol standards. Lack of standards and competingtechnologies have probably driven innovation, but at the cost ofdelayed adoption. For broad adoption we will need ubiquitoustechnology across multiple consumer devices, standard monetizationplatforms for content owners, and standard protection schemes.
• Conflict between the flat rate model in last mile networks and thecombination of desire by viewers to consume rich media and of thedesire by content owners to monetize it. Without the last milenetworks somehow participating in the commercial chain, the projectedgrowth will not be met with commensurate capacity increases, andworse, will be met with arbitrary traffic shaping barriers."

Kevin Towes, Product Manager, Adobe Flash Media Server, Adobe Systems, Inc.

Previous job titles:
• Principal Consultant, New Toronto Group
• Co-Founder, Pangaea New Media
• Director, Juno Awards Online
• Professor Media Arts, Ryerson University, Toronto

Proudest achievements:
Juno Awards Online broadcasts (1996) – Fresh out of University with lots of ideas, I worked to help bring the Canadian Music Industry online starting with the annual music awards show, the Juno Awards (equivalent to the Grammy’s in the USA). We set up shop next to the broadcast trucks with direct access to the top names in Canadian Music including Alanis Morissette, Sarah McLaughlin, Shania Twain, Maynard Ferguson, Oscar Peterson, Tragically Hip, and many more. We worked with early streaming technology like Progressive Networks (now Real) to provide the postage stamp video over dial up modems – Our first event hosted 25 concurrent streams growing to over 200 (which at the time was huge).

Emmy Nomination (2002) – CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation) Vancouver hosted a daily program live called "ZeD uncut" – ZeD was a new-age show that toyed with "interactive" and culture blending film, music, television, text, image and interactive together to form a 1 nightly program across the nation’s network. I worked with the CBC Vancouver team to create "the Wall" – an interactive place that users could use their webcam to place their video stream to be invited to join the live television broadcast from their living room. We also created video-based instant polling and real time chat. Tens of thousands of people participated during the lifetime of the show and became what we know today as the social network.

Flash Media Server 3 and 3.5 (2008) – Hosted by the top 20 CDN’s worldwide and responsible for driving higher quality, and higher valued video experiences we’ve come to expect from the web. Helping to drive experiences such as Masters.com, NFL.com, MySpace.com and uStream.com – FMS is a vital part of the video experience on the web today. I wrote the first book on Flash Media Server back in 2001 and I would rank my participation in these new releases as part of my top achievements in the Streaming Media industry.

Next big thing:
• The future of Flash Media distribution and Video on the Adobe Flash Platform (increasing quality, capacity, security, engagement and the overall experience)
• Helping people find new ways to "interact" with video experiences through technology like DVR and video chat
• Helping content owners (and the industry) find new revenue streams with video on the web

Biggest trend in online video:
• Live interactive experiences are engaging video consumers in new ways
• Monetization of video on the web; social media – the "free" era is shifting to an era of monetization
• The role of "television" is changing; smarter devices that can subscribe to more online and premium services through the Internet vs. traditional means; the value will be blending the comfort of the living room, with quality delivery and new forms of engagement.

Biggest challenge facing the industry:
"The economy is on everyone’s mind – and will have a major impact on the media delivery industry. Fortunately we’re outgrowing our infancy but we have challenges we still need to meet such showing new revenue streams, increasing participation, finding new ways to reach more people with higher quality is key to increasing opportunities for distributors to earn profit. It’s simple – if people cannot find a path to revenue, the content will dry up and we’ll be forced to turn back to the experience of television."

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