Shouldering Our Responsibility to Educate the Streaming Market
Even though it's June, I'm not going to be writing in this month's column about wedding ceremonies, brides, or large groups of people gathered to celebrate a new chapter in life. My wife and I were fortunate enough to get married the weekend before our state locked down, but still late enough in March that more people watched the live stream than were able to attend in person.
Nor am I going to write about hitting the half-century mark, turning 50 to a rendition of "Happy Birthday" by my wife's two kindergarten-age children, although that milestone was reached in the warm confines of home in early April and celebrated by a number of people on Facebook.
Instead, I'm going to write about our responsibility as an industry to help others and why, as a whole, we are a group of "essentials" or "first responders" who are reshaping the way business and personal contact are done in the age of COVID-19. This responsibility proposition comes from a comment by Alesandra Madurowicz, director of business development for Zype, when she was a guest on the monthly SM Advanced Forum (SMAF) webcast.
SMAF often seems to happen against a setting of significance the first Thursday of each month. The four hosts—Dom Robinson, Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen, Mark East, and me—have put responsibility into action over the past year, making sure that at least one of the two guest spots is filled by a representative of Women in Streaming Media. In addition, the March edition of SMAF—in honor of International Women's Day—was hosted and run entirely by women in our industry.
Madurowicz noted that her company is converting its video streaming APIs to integrate better with Zoom. Robinson mentioned a recent conversation with a small business owner, a yoga instructor, who'd asked him in a Streaming 101 Zoom session about how to pick a microphone or headset that would stay on when she is standing on her head.
"It's been a really different process for us," said Madurowicz, referring to the shift from only serving large fitness corporations with thousands of locations that want to continue doing sessions for their clients to helping the small business owner with a small fitness or yoga center. "We've adapted and created a new piece of the product, with new pricing. We have webinars every week to try to just help.
"I think every company in the streaming industry right now has a responsibility to help our economy," said Madurowicz, "and to help the small business owners and teach them what our expertise is."
"You're exactly right on that responsibility to help," said our other SMAF guest, Richard Oesterreicher, CEO of Streaming Global. "We're trying to take the same position, which is we have something that can help people stay safe and help potentially pass this faster. Obviously, we are all in this together and want it to go away as soon as possible, but there's a lot of uncertainty."
"We're helping where we can," said Madurowicz, "so that when we do get out of this, business can run as usual and have streaming be an integral a part of that going forward."
Oesterreicher added that, with the potential of COVID-19 reoccurring at some point in the future, we need to not only be medically prepared but also be prepared "in how we can adapt life and adapt work," including ways to worship. He said his company is seeing a significant uptick in business from houses of worship.
"I think we will see a sea change here," added East, noting that "there will be a big push to return to normal, but I think we're going to see a large influx of business into the streaming media space in general, and I don't think that's going to go away."