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Commentary: SM East 2007—More Substance, Less Hype

Streaming Media East 2007, held last week at the New York Hilton, is officially over, but the buzz generated on the show floor continues, and you’ll be hearing more from Dan Rayburn—via his blog—and others who attended the show, about the impact of it all.

From where I stood, it was a good show. Having been involved with streaming for almost 14 years now, starting with experimental test beds, articles, and subsequent market research reports back in 1994, then progressing through panelist and moderator positions in the late 1990s, one question I got asked frequently this year is how I judge the growth of the industry compared to previous years. The answer—if only seen from the perspective of the last few years—is that we’re growing. We’re more mature now, for certain, as the show parties now are relatively tame gatherings that take place at the Bridges Bar instead of the more active parties at the Queen Mary in Long Beach or the Ministry of Sound in London (or even the hole in the ground next to the San Jose Convention Center—where the Marriott San Jose now stands—which was used as a temporary skating rink).

Everything Old is New Again
The bigger question about the industry is a bit more complex. I think we’re finally about two-thirds of the way back to 1999. The first Streaming Media shows, put on by First Conferences a decade ago, were an outgrowth of a vision that was launched by Telecon and DVC (Desktop Video Communications) conferences in the early 1990s. These shows, with the likes of Andrew Davis, Christine Perey, Eliot Gould, and Jerry Goldstone, explored many of the same issues we’re still exploring today.

Mike Savello, for whom I had the opportunity to work when Media 100 bought a friend’s company in the late 1990s, and who is now riding the second wave as the VP of Global PC Sales at On2—the creator of the codec that Adobe uses for its Flash 8 Video—agrees.

"In some ways, it’s a big dose of déjà vu as I’m answering many of the same questions I did back in 1999," said Savello. "The primary difference today is that the hype is gone, and in its place are people really committed to trying—or re-trying—business models that were only cursorily attempted during the dot com boom."

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