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How to Succeed in the Online Video Space

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I was recently given a business book, A Sense of Urgency by John Kotter, but to be honest, I’ve been too busy to do anything more than skim it. The premise of the book is fairly simple—it talks about overcoming the fear and anger that can paralyze you from acting with a genuine sense of urgency. It discusses why successful organizations become obsolete: complacency. And while the title alone may give some people more anxiety than they can handle, it really is meant to rekindle the fire in the belly. If you decide that something is urgent and important, it will be.

But the title alone got me thinking about the way our industry has been selling itself—overselling, that is—with a sense of urgency. A good 4 or 5 years ago, everyone was shouting on the NAB floor, “You have to move to HEVC today or you’re doomed!” yet it wasn’t until Apple adopted it in 2017 that everyone followed. Roll back the clock to 2006 when Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock, and the conventional wisdom was that video was suddenly absolutely crucial for every business, so companies spent millions of dollars without seeing returns. There’s a difference between real urgency and false urgency, and it’s important to know the difference.

So what is genuinely urgent today? To run a business in the online video space successfully. There is no shortage of companies fading into the night, setting false expectations with poor business models, and no real goalpost other than getting acquired. Those are problems that have plagued our industry since it began.

I don’t work in a business building online video, but I’ve had the pleasure of working intimately with the companies that do. And the companies in this section do it more successfully than the rest—hence their inclusion in the 2019 Streaming Media 50. 

In this special section, we get up close to the people behind the companies changing the way we are entertained by and communicate with video. Clearly, their vision and urgent drive to move forward is key to their success. If I had to guess, they’d most likely agree with the points made in the book, especially this one, which has always been the focus of the way I’ve done business: Bring in information from the outside, rather than looking only internally. After all, your customers don’t work for your organization. In our industry, the companies that are winning are the ones that are listening to their customers. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to the 2019 View From the Top.

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