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Welcome to Our Dojo

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For 700 years, feudal Japan had an elaborate class system, one that was quite different from its European counterpart. While serfs—those forced to work the land by the ruling class—occupied the lowest social strata in Europe, merchants made up the lowest rung in Japan. Confucian ideals place tremendous value on productivity, which meant that fishermen and farmers enjoyed higher status than shopkeepers and traders. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that revolt, immigration, and trade forces from the outside word brought a radical end to the Tokugawa period and made Japanese society into what it is today. Bringing down an entire culture ruled by Samurai “keeping the peace” took a whole lot of pressure, but when it came, it came quickly. There’s no question in my mind that we are seeing the golden age of television broadcast come to an end in much the same way.

2015 is an exciting time to be working in the online video industry. The whole question of its viability and relevance has been answered overwhelmingly in the affirmative, and it’s now clearly too late for the ruling class of traditional broadcasters to issue an “Order to Expel Barbarians,” as Emperor Komei did in 1863 when he tried to return Japan to isolation. As enablers of video content, however, we still have to be careful, and we have to be smart. We have to demand from ourselves the highest degree of innovation to change the system of the traditional video broadcast business shogun. We have to be ninjas.

First things first: Let’s be clear what a ninja really is. It’s not about the shadowy, black-clad figures depicted by actors in kabuki theatre. It’s about people revolting against the feudal lords of Japan and the status quo; it’s about mercenary tactics and doing whatever it takes to win. It’s about you and enabling your content to take on traditional broadcast models in a new way.

And this is where Streaming Media comes in. We are going to help you be the best video ninja you can possibly be. Our mission is simple: to help you do your job better. It’s not by luck that we have a lot of experience in this area; we’ve spent the past 17 years in the shadows of television, preparing you for this moment. Almost everyone who writes, or has ever written, for Streaming Media has considerable hands-on experience in the industry, with a history of success. Collectively, we bring hundreds of years of online video industry experience to the table—something no other publication on the planet can claim. Now, a ninja is not trained formally. As such, there is no single, anointed establishment that will take you to a guaranteed path of riches. We do, however, share our collective knowledge to ensure you have the best fighting chance to succeed. We will teach you what we know, and we’d be honored if you’d call us “sensei.”

Lesson No. 1 starts today, and you’ve already taken it. You’ve picked up the world’s largest and most significant resource of industry knowledge. This sourcebook represents the best of what our industry has to offer. We will continue to hone your skills and ours, together, in 2015 with real data and real success stories. We will also show you the failures we can all learn from. We do expect you to bring us your questions, as well as what you’ve learned, to the Streaming Media table. We want to add your wisdom to ours to help train others. You’ve now started down a path that there is no turning back from—being part of a revolution that will forever change culture—this time, on a global scale. You are now “shinobi,” you are ninja. I am proud to say: Welcome to our dojo.

[This article appears in the 2015 Streaming Media Industry Sourcebook.]

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