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Publisher's Note—Mission 2008: Unite Pangaea

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Some 250 million years ago, the Earth’s landmasses were joined together into one massive, c-shaped supercontinent called Pangaea. Over the course of 70 million years, the Earth’s crust tore apart in the Jurassic period until about 180 million years ago when the super masses of land drifted across what was then a vast, single ocean, to ultimately become our present-day continents.

As time continues to march on, the shape of our land masses and land bridges continues to evolve. The streaming media industry may not be as old as the Earth, but it has this same flux and redefinition. But unlike the movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates, imperceptible to the human eye, the changes we’ve seen here at the Streaming Media organization have been rapid and dramatic.

Eleven years ago, when I was selling online solutions to content companies such as record labels, terrestrial radio stations, and video content companies, we called what we were doing one thing, and one thing only. If you downloaded a video, connected to a radio stream, or were able to video chat over your hapless 33.6K modem, then you were "streaming."

These days, we see a lot of different applications and terminology. To carry forward the metaphor, it’s all over the map: IPTV, user-generated video, webcasting, collaboration and conferencing, internet TV ... not to mention the slew of technical terms that leave your head swimming. When I look through our conference attendee lists and our magazine subscribers, it’s very clear that that there are literally thousands of different kinds of companies with unique interests and businesses models following what we do. We do try to cover everything, especially trends in the major sectors such as entertainment, enterprise, and education. You’ll see how we look at them in Industry Update, the first section of this very Sourcebook.

Question: What do you get when you fill a room with people from Walt Disney Internet Group, State Farm Insurance, General Electric, CNET TV, Intel, Comcast, and the Norwegian University of Science?

Answer: A Streaming Media conference.

OK, so maybe all the kids are doing it these days, but each one is doing it in his or her own unique way. What’s really important is that there’s a huge knowledge pool at our shows, and among our magazine and website readers. What someone learned at Chevron may actually be the final piece to the puzzle for someone at National Geographic. Would these two companies be inclined to reach out to each other for insight? Would they even be inclined to do a specific Google search for editorial on their online video initiatives? Probably not. If they did, though, they’d find them in the article archive at StreamingMedia.com. All of us at Streaming Media believe that there are underlying themes and underlying lessons that can be shared across all the verticals in our market. There’s boatloads of experience out there, but unfortunately it’s sometimes like freeing a pearl from an oyster to bring it to light.

This year, I’m asking you, as a reader and a member of this community, to share what you know and get even more involved. You’ll more than likely increase your network by leaps and bounds, gain more knowledge than you put in, and probably make some friends along the way. And heck, if Eric, our editor, interviews you for an issue of our magazine, won’t your mother be proud when you drop a copy of the issue with your smiling face at her house?

Here are three easy ways to get involved and help bridge the gaps between the sometimes disparate continents of knowledge in our community:

Join the Streaming Media discussion lists at www.streamingmedia.com/discussion.
Our email-based discussion lists represent the best way to network and socialize with your peers in the "community." Some of the most important debates and news in the streaming media world breaks on our lists. Add your brainpan to the community’s knowledgbase by joining—there’s no charge, and it’s spam-free.

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