Streaming Media West: Entertainment, Education, Enterprise

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With the 2012 Streaming Media East conference now over, it's time to turn our attention to that next major online video industry meet-up, Streaming Media West. During a red carpet interview at Streaming Media East, program chair Dan Rayburn explained how the West show is different:

"The West show tends to be a little bit more about media entertainment, of course, because we're in L.A. The East coast show tends to be a little more about broadcast, because we have all the major broadcasters here, and also we have Wall Street here," said Rayburn. "The big difference this year was that we removed a third of all of our roundtable sessions and we made them have two presentations. So, from everything I've heard from attendees so far they really like that. They want that more hands-on instructional approach. So I plan to bring that to West this year."

Streaming Media West will be joined by a new conference this year, the Enterprise Video Conference, which will focus on the similar needs of the enterprise and education markets. Rayburn explained the thinking behind it:

"Enterprise companies are dealing with very different scenarios for delivery video than media entertainment. So they're typically not protecting content the way media entertainment is. They're not delivering it in terms of the same infrastructure, because it's closed network," explained Rayburn. "They're dealing with: how do I tie it into learning systems, how do I tie it into Blackboard, how do I do webcasting to remote offices that don't have good conductivity? So, what we want to do is we want to bring all the sessions that we usually have at East and West into one track over two days and make it dedicated."

To see the full interview with Dan Rayburn, watch the video below.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Hi, I'm Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen, the editor of Streaming Media magazine and StreamingMedia.com. And I'm here at Streaming Media East in New York with the program chair of Streaming Media East and West, Dan Rayburn. Dan, how's the show been?

Dan Rayburn: So far, so good. We're on day three here. On Monday we had the Content Delivery Summit where we talked a lot about infrastructure topics, transparent caching, dynamic site acceleration, federated CDN, licensed CDN, a lot of different infrastructure topics about the acceleration of content, not just video content, as well. And Tuesday we had the first day of Streaming Media East, so we had a lot of discussion around business models, over-the-top video content, a lot of how-to sessions. This year we changed the format quite a bit. We added maybe about a third more how-to sessions. So, attendees kept telling us, "Talk less, show more," so that's what we did this year. We added a lot more hands-on, actually see in one hour how you can do something like code video for the iPhone, or shoot a live webcast, produce and create content, and figure out how to get it to a lot of different devices. And then today, for day three of the show, a lot of the sessions have been about the business of the industry. We've also been talking a lot about enterprise video. Workflow's been a huge issue; how do you create, capture, store, manage, protect, monetize, track, and deliver contents of ecosystem has been a big key as well.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Right. Now what have been, you mentioned over-the-top video, certainly that's been one of the hottest topics here. What have some of the other topics been that have been generating the most buzz, the things that people are really focusing on?

Dan Rayburn: Well, it's hard to know what's most exciting to attendees because we have such a diverse group, as you know. We have the enterprise group, which is really interested in about the ecosystem and the webcasting. And of course they're not doing advertising and conference subscription models, they really care about workflow. They care about, how do they take video that they're already producing and make it look better, and what tools do they need to use to do that. Outside of enterprise, the broadcasters and media entertainment guys, they're really here talking about; how do I get my content to a lot of devices, what's the business model, how do I actually make money from getting content to an Xbox or a Roku. And then also, how do you handle the user interface. That's been a big thing at the device pavilion is the user interface cross all the different smart TVs we have and all the different streaming boxes are completely different. So, there's no uniform sense of how you operate anything. You have to develop apps for a lot of different platforms. So the fragmentation of the market has been a huge issue.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Right. Talk a little bit more about the broadband device pavilion. This is the third year you've done it?

Dan Rayburn: This is the second year we've done the device pavilion. Basically, it started off last year as I was realizing that when you walk into a Best Buy or you walk into Costco, you can't actually test out any of the smart TVs or any of the streaming boxes. So, consumers are walking in and picking a TV based on screen size, which is great except that these TVs now have all these features and functionality that consumers don't know about. So, I realized if I take all the devices I have at home, which is like a mini Best Buy store, and brought them here and let them get hands-on with them, people would get some real world experience. And then when we set up the video wall of all the TVs you could compare side-by-side quality, which is pretty nice. So this year we expanded it. This year we added about 25 tablets. And we had a lot of tablet manufacturers and others like Verizon sent gear And then we also had TV manufacturers who sent smart TVs. And then we had all the dedicated streaming boxes. And then on top of, that we layered on all the OTT platforms, HBO Go, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Major League Baseball, NHL, basically every OTT platform you can think of was on the box. And then also subscription services and paying services like Vudu. We had Apple TVs. We have iTunes, as well. So, between all the devices and the content platforms there's over 50 combined, and attendees can come and get hands-on all for free.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Excellent. Excellent. As soon as you wrap up here you're going to begin work programming Streaming Media West in Los Angeles. Tell us a little bit about what we can expect there. How is the West show different from the East show?

Dan Rayburn: The West show tends to be a little bit more about media entertainment, of course, because we're in L.A. The East coast show tends to be a little more about broadcast, because we have all the major broadcasters here, and also we have Wall Street here. So, we have a little more of the finance audience in attendance. Education and enterprise verticals are pretty much the same, east to west. The big difference this year was that we removed a third of all of our roundtable sessions and we made them have two presentations. So, from everything I've heard from attendees so far they really like that. They want that more hands-on instructional approach. So I plan to bring that to West this year. And we'll have more how-to presentations as opposed to people discussing it. It's great to hear from fellow leaders in the industry on a panel, but we're talking about subjects here that involve video. And it's hard to describe them when you can't actually see it. So, for West we'll definitely have more hands-on presentations.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: We're also going to be having a satellite event devoted specifically to the enterprise and education and video use in those verticals. Talk a little bit about that.

Dan Rayburn: A good portion of the audience to our East and West shows are enterprise focused. And we define enterprise as video delivered inside the firewall. Enterprise companies are dealing with very different scenarios for delivery video to media entertainment. So they're typically not protecting content the way media entertainment is. They're not delivering it in terms of the same infrastructure, because it's closed network. They're not dealing with trying to insert ads or doing syndication. They're dealing with: how do I tie it into learning systems, how do I tie it into Blackboard, how do I do webcasting to remote offices that don't have good conductivity? So, what we want to do is we want to bring all the sessions that we usually have at East and West into one track over two days and make it dedicated just to the enterprise folks. The other great thing about the show is we're going to have an advisory board. So we're going to have probably half a dozen of some of the leading enterprise customers who are actually delivering this content inside their network. They're going to help create the show, create the content. They're going to moderate and present a lot of the sessions and really help out, because they're the ones doing it. They're the experts. So I'm excited about that because there's no real show in the industry dedicated to enterprise. There's some that are focused on the business of streaming, but it crosses typically in media entertainment, broadcast, and education. So for us the enterprise show is going to be very focused just on enterprise, and also education.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: And the show is in November October in Los Angeles. When can people expect to see more information about the program and speakers?

Dan Rayburn: Well, typically I would call for speakers for West about six months before the show, so by the time they see this clip it's already open. So, you'll want to go online to streamingmedia.com/west and submit if you want to speak. As far as programming goes, we're just starting off and we have to see how much content we can fit in the tracks that we have, but I would say that probably by the July or August timeframe we should have an advanced program up. We should definitely have our advisory board up, if not sooner, on the website. And then I'll be asking for help. I'll be reaching out to the community and saying, "This is your show." I've always felt these aren't my show or our shows, this is the community show. So what do you want to speak about? What are the hot topics? Which customers do you have that want to present? I really look to the community to help program it.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Absolutely. And again you can find more information at streamingmedia.com/west. Thanks, Day Rayburn. This is Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen signing off from Streaming Media East in New York.

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