The 2009 Streaming Media All-Stars

Last year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game was one for the ages, a 4-hour, 50-minute affair during the final season at the old Yankee Stadium. Last year’s Streaming Media All-Star Team was one for the ages, too: 25 of the most important people in the history of the industry, going back to the 1990s when online video was more promise than reality. Since it was the inaugural All-Star Team, we looked back as much as we looked forward, choosing people whose impact was historic as much as it was current. (You can find last year’s team here.)

Some of the members of this year’s team have been in the game since the beginning too, but we also decided to emphasize industry leaders whose impact was felt most notably in the last year or two, the people who are pushing online video forward today. Once again, though, we selected the team members based not only on their personal successes, which speak for themselves, but also for their commitment to streaming media at large, whether in advancing it via technical innovation and business strategies or via their efforts to help the entire industry through education and evangelism in ways that go beyond an "inside baseball" approach.

Some have made their name in the media and entertainment field, while others have innovated in the worlds of enterprise video and education. But all of them share a commitment to helping online video realize its vast potential.

Here’s this year’s team:
• Jeremy Allaire, Chairman and CEO, Brightcove
• Ron Berryman, SVP, GM, Digital Publishing Group, Fox Interactive Media
• Larry Bouthillier, Media Technology Architect, Harvard University
• Ezra Davidson, in memoriam
• John Edwards, CEO, Move Networks
• Rob Green, Board Member and Managing Director, Abacast
• Reed Hastings, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Netflix
• Eric Hards, Lead Multimedia Engineer, Lockheed-Martin
• Mike Hudack, Co-Founder and CEO, blip.tv
• Jason Kilar, CEO, Hulu
• Larry Kless, Founder and President, Online Video Publishing
• Jim Louderback, CEO, Revision3
• Tara Maitra, VP and GM, Content Services and Ad Sales, TiVo
• Justin Shaffer, Founder, Hot Potato Media, Inc.
• Dave Stoner, President, CEO, and Director, ViewCast
• Andrew Swart, VP, Content Markets, Level 3 Communications
• Kevin Towes, Product Manager, Flash Media Server, Adobe Systems

We asked each of our All-Stars a few questions to help us assemble the baseball cards that follow (note that some respondents didn't answer all the questions):
• What are your proudest achievements?
• What’s the "next big thing" you’re working on?
• What’s the biggest trend in online video right now?
• What’s the biggest challenge facing the industry?

Congratulations to all of them!

Jeremy Allaire, Chairman and CEO, Brightcove

Previous Job Titles:• Technologist and Entrepreneur-in-Residence, General Catalyst
• CTO, Macromedia
• Co-founder and CEO, Allaire Corp

Proudest achievement:
• Building a team and business that is able to serve so many great customers all around the world, having been central to the launch and definition of the category of internet TV, and building and launching the industry’s first end-to-end online video platform.

Biggest trend in online video:
"We’re moving away from the online video industry being focused on consumer and media companies to a world where every professional website embraces and uses video and rich media for a wide range of tasks."

Biggest challenge facing the industry:
"Driving the economics, quality of experience and capabilities in advertising to become significant enough that it can rival old school media business models."

Ron Berryman, SVP, GM Digital Publishing Group Fox Interactive Media

Previous job titles:
• SVP, GM Television Stations Group, Fox Interactive Media
• President, Sidereus Technologies
• VP Product Management & Marketing, ZAPMedia

Proudest achievements:
• Launched "Zap Station," first consumer electronics media asset management system in 2000• Founded Sidereus Technologies in 2001, launching first desktop display of integrated video/widget technology• Launched "MyFOX" platform into FOX television stations in 2006 and industry-first television affiliate deal for the platform in 2007• Recently launched "Digital Publishing Platform," an advanced content and digital asset management system for FOX television stations and LIN television stations

Next big thing:
"Integration and monetization of video/search content, which effectively utilizes computer vision technology to maximize business value."

Biggest trend in online video:
"From my viewpoint, video sharing and socialization of video is the next big trend. Professional as well as personal video content represents a tremendous opportunity for companies to promote and monetize their content."Biggest challenge facing the industry:
"Allowing consumers to view video via IP through television, computer, and mobile. The ability to effectively measure and deliver advertising across all three devices will be the challenge."

Larry Bouthillier, Media Technology Architect, Office of the University CIO, Harvard University

Previous job titles:
• Director of Software Development, Harvard Business School
• Contributing Editor, StreamingMedia.com
• Author, learningAPI.com blog
• Audio engineer for recording studio work and concert sound

Proudest achievements:
• My direct involvement in streaming media began at Harvard Business School in 1996, where we deployed systems that streamed MPEG1 (1.5Mbps) video to hundreds of on-campus desktops. Our success in publishing hundreds of videos on the intranet led to discovering of all the subsequent problems to solve: managing the content, web-based publishing tools, extending to off-campus users, search, access control, etc. It was an exciting time to be involved in streaming, and we developed and used many technologies in-house that didn’t show up in commercial products until, in some cases, six or seven years later.

• Being on the leading edge of that curve gave me a sense of what the complexities were that others would be coming up against. What I’m most proud of personally is having been able to share some of that knowledge through writing tutorials and articles, and teaching (in both academic and corporate environments). And of course, that interaction with other streaming media professionals has taught me much as well. The continual learning and sharing knowledge is a big part of what makes this field exciting and rewarding for me.

Next big thing:
"The 'big thing' is integration and user-centered design. At Harvard University, we’re making video publishing within the secure course environment an effortless alternative to typing text or uploading a document. For example, users should be able to record, edit and publish video as course content, as part of a discussion, or as a comment to a wiki page.

"The key is reducing technical barriers by making the tools entirely web-based (nothing to install). We’re working with leading vendors, open source toolsets, and homegrown components to create a seamless environment that treats video as just another data type, subject to the same benefits the platform provides to other types: data security, ability to share amongst courses and Websites, search and discovery, collaboration."

Biggest trend in online video:
"When I first got into this area, the technology was exotic and available only to the most enthusiastic early adopters. Online video required specialists to create and deliver, as well as a heavy investment of time, energy and money that only the most determined people and organizations would undertake. "The trend is clear – that online video is becoming just another data type freely created and shared amongst ordinary end-users – just like text, PDFs, and photos. (Some of us are old enough to remember when it used to require a trained specialist to use a word processor, or publish a Web page. ) "The buzzword from the early days of the Web was disintermediation – removing barriers between end users and the business goals they are trying to accomplish. As these barriers around video continue to fall, we’ll see more user-driven innovation: use cases for online video we’d never imagined when all this began."

Biggest challenge facing the industry:
"The tools and technology for publishing and delivering streaming media have become simpler. User desktops have become generally powerful enough to play any content, and bandwidth is widely available so users can get the content. The costs for storage and delivery have dropped. It all looks good.

"Speaking as an institutional user of the technology, what’s required to reach the next level of what widespread online video can bring is integration. Video lives apart from standard toolsets we use, especially in an intranet context. Integration of video applications with single-sign-on, end-user tools that require no software installation, access control on the streaming server, widgets that put recording, upload or screen capture seamlessly into a Web page alongside text entry or file uploads, access to searchable metadata. As integration becomes easier, we’ll see more organizations successfully deploying online video for a variety of uses."

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