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Virage Shows Gamut of Streaming Applications

In the second keynote speech at Streaming Media East on Thursday, Virage CEO Paul Lego discussed the ways in which both enterprise customers and media companies can take advantage of streaming media.

Paul Lego came out to the stage wearing white bunny ears and said, "Christie Hefner’s a tough act to follow."

After removing the ears, Lego recapped his early years at Virage. He spoke about some of the difficulties Virage went though, including a deal with CNN that almost went sour. Although Virage had signed up CNN as a customer, it still faced many hurdles and was afraid it couldn’t do the work. Lego revealed today that he even offered to give CNN his money back, but CNN refused and told Virage to finish the job. Lego proudly said that CNN has now won an Emmy for its newsroom automation system.

Although Lego was positive about the streaming industry, he said that today’s slow growth was because of the economy. He also blamed troubles on companies that didn’t look for a return on investment on their streaming expenses, and watched as projects spun out of control.

Lego spoke about the consumer and enterprise markets saying: "The Holy Grail is not in the consumer world." Nevertheless, he had a Virage customer, Rob Adams from Bell Globemedia Interactive – the Web division of a powerful Canadian media company – come to the stage to show off one consumer success story. Adams showed off ROBTv.com, a business Web site that has 13 hours of live streaming on its site. He said about 75 percent of its users come through broadband connections, and stay an average of 35 minutes watching live streams.

Adams said he’s using Virage’s VideoLogger product to categorize and splice up video to make it easier for viewers to find what they’re looking for. He also said it helps in its business models: advertising, licensing and subscriptions. Every video clip comes with a short gateway advertisement, Adams explained. Advertising has been so successful, he said the company was sold out of inventory until March 2002.

Adams also showed a "clip rental" service, whereby companies that were highlighted on the show could buy their own clips and show it on their Web site. ROBTv.com does all the hosting and streaming for its rental customers and licenses out content for three to six months.

The third revenue model is subscription, which is being unveiled in a few days. Previously, visitors to the site could watch unlimited live streaming video, but it is now putting a 30-minute time limit. Users that want to watch more will have to subscribe, said Adams, although he didn’t mention at what price points.

"Enterprise Makes Sense"

Switching gears to the corporate market, Lego said that streaming media "makes sense" in the enterprise. Chris Riback, a VP at Citigroup came out to the stage to show how a large, worldwide financial company is taking advantage of streaming. Riback, who comes from the broadcast worlds of ABC and CBS, said that Citigroup slowly came to realize it was sitting on a large amount of intellectual property capital.

When he was hired, Riback’s mission was to look at Citigroup as a media company. So Riback created CitiMedia, which looks and acts like a news organization. He showed off a video clip where a CitiMedia anchorperson is interviewing a Citigroup analyst.

Afterwards, Lego wrapped up by saying that the new regulation FD rules by the SEC are a "perfect opportunity for streaming media." He also saw growth in all areas of the enterprise: training, corporate communications, legal, marketing, and security and surveillance markets.

"The business opportunities [for streaming media] are enormous," he said.

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