The Radio Star is Alive and Well on a Video-Enabled Stage

Convergence Corner

The Radio Star is Alive and Well on a Video-Enabled Stage

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director  |  July 23, 2012

This article originally appeared in the July/August issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY

Back in 1981, telephone was just a landline phone, TV was tied to a box in the living room, and radio and cassettes, though with some element of mobility, were available via dedicated devices. While it can’t be credited for all the technological advances we have witnessed since, MTV certainly couldn’t have known the impact of its launch of a video-based music station that year, changing the entertainment paradigm by bringing together two previously separate media formats, opening the door to the idea that media formats were not necessarily tied to a single end device or delivery network.

Since then, the entertainment and communications worlds have seen such change that most of today’s youth don’t know what a cassette tape is – let alone an 8-track or record – and can’t imagine watching a black-and-white television. Instead, thanks to the convergence of different media formats with different device categories and networks, they now live their lives attached to mobile devices, communicate via instant messaging, Skype and FaceTime (News - Alert), and watch video on multiple devices wherever they are.

As I interviewed different vendors recently at The Cable Show in Boston, what was patently obvious was that the idea incubated by MTV three decades earlier was only gaining momentum. Whether for enterprise use or as a consumer play, media delivery, content, and use cases have changed and will continue to evolve.

At TMC (News - Alert), we’ve already seen an exponential growth in the video market, evidenced by the thousands of video segments hosted on our sites), but also in their viewership, as subscribers are increasingly recognizing video as a valuable source of information.

The benefits of visual communication have long been heralded by pundits recognizing the value of facial expressions, gestures, and graphics and imagery to enhance messaging and experience. That value is now being driven to businesses and residential subscribers alike, with new multimedia experiences being launched regularly.

Whether it’s using video to deliver corporate speeches or other messaging to business constituencies, or enabling consumers to follow sporting events, like the Masters, World Cup, or Olympics on any number of devices, video content is growing, and delivery networks and software are evolving to meet this growing demand.

For the end-to-end video ecosystem, from content creators to CDNs, from middleware vendors to network operators, and from NEMs to device manufacturers, the opportunity is great. Video represents a largely untapped revenue stream, if they are able to capitalize on user demand for multimedia content and deliver a high quality experience.

That includes the enterprise market, which can leverage video not only internally for training and collaboration, but also as a customer facing technology, heightening the customer experience by supplementing traditional media and experiences with video. And for the service provider (including the enterprise as a small network operator), it means understanding what the growth of video means to their infrastructure and what it will take to deliver in this new video-centric age.

There’s already so much out there – in many cases, video consumers may not even realize the impact of video as they stand at a retail checkout line or at the gas station filling their vehicles. But the volume of video sharing via YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook (News - Alert), clearly shows the position video holds in their content hierarchy. It’s quickly moving to the very top of the ladder. Of course, there’s also an entire two-way communications market as well, both in the consumer and enterprise markets, whereby friends, family members, and colleagues are able to video chat, call, or conference in fixed or mobile environments (watch my interview with Entropic (News - Alert) for a great social TV experience).

No, video didn’t kill the radio star back in 1981. Instead, it helped send it on its way to a new enhanced stage, one that has since continued to evolve and today, presents a significant monetization opportunity for both enterprises and service providers, as they face a new breed of customer. The radio star is alive and well, with a supporting cast of experience-enhancing technologies.

This opportunity is what Video World Expo, taking place Oct. 3-5 in Austin, Texas, (co-located with ITEXPO West 2012), is all about. The event is singularly focused on how enterprises and service providers alike can make the most of what has become an insatiable thirst for video content, from the technology required to create and deliver video content across different networks to different devices, to business strategies to using video technology to create new revenue streams. I look forward to seeing you in Austin!

Edited by Stefania Viscusi