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Streaming Media's Success Story

In all manner of industries, the successful implementation of rich media technologies is making an impact on the bottom line. Rich media employs technologies such as streaming audio, streaming video, animation, and other sensory and interactive features to deliver a specific message. In this article, we will describe the market trends driving the broadening success of rich media; we’ll detail some ways companies are profiting from the technology; and we’ll explain the unique value proposition of VitalStream’s industry-leading experience and content delivery infrastructure.

Before we get into the specifics of how streaming media can help your business, let’s discuss a few recent market trends that have converged to improve the quality, reach, and effectiveness of rich media.

Market Trends
For years we’ve heard Internet analysts predict that the rapid adoption of interactive rich media over the Internet is coming. Today, the waiting is over; most of the previous obstacles have been removed. High-speed connectivity and computer processing power have grown substantially over the last few years. Universal standards for audio and video delivery have emerged to gain widespread adoption in the marketplace. All of these factors have combined to drive down the costs and complexity of delivering rich media. The result is excitement and demand from customers, and targeted, relevant rich media content is creating an opportunity for companies who rise to the challenge of meeting their needs.

Broadband Penetration Enables Widespread Rich Media Content Distribution
Broadband is providing a viable channel for the distribution of rich media content. How important is broadband growth? According to Nielsen/NetRatings, 39 million of 109 million (36%) online U.S. households have broadband, an increase of 49% over last year. Corporate broadband penetration is more than double the household rate, with 79% of at-work Internet users enjoying broadband connections.

Watching Online Video Is Easier Than Ever Before
Recently, the user experience of watching video online has improved dramatically. Issues such as incompatible formats and versions, browser compatibility problems, and video players that push advertising or modify a computer’s media settings are becoming less of an issue as technology providers continue to compete for market leadership.

One example of a technology that’s improving the end user experience is Macromedia® Flash™ MX 2004. First, the Flash player is broadly distributed. According to Macromedia, 98% of Internet-enabled computers already have the Flash plug-in. Flash works on the platforms your customers use—Windows (from XP all the way back to NT4 and Win98), Macintosh (9.x and OS X) and Linux—as well as on most popular browsers, including Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, AOL, Safari, and Opera. For content providers, it means low-cost production and delivery: You need only one skill set and one infrastructure to support everyone in your audience. For users, it means simple, seamless video playback. It simply works.

Declining Costs Create New Opportunities
Standards for encoding and delivering video online such as Macromedia® Flash™ and Microsoft® Windows Media are spurring innovation that’s increasing the efficiency and sophistication of video production tools. Mature and solid platforms are reducing the costs to supporting end-users.

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