Let's Settle the uStrem vs. Seesmic Thingie and Stop Bitching About Loic

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Loic Le Meur

LeWeb, the European web conference that took place this week is under fire by bloggers and newspapers alike. I didn’t attend the event, but watched part of it online. While some of the reporters covering the event wrote hilarious columns others were attacking its video strategy. Allen Stern, from CenterNetworks wrote:

My beef is that Loic selected Ustream to run live coverage of the conference. There is absolutely no reason that this conference needed to be broadcast live. First, if I paid $2,000 to attend, I’d be pissed that my sister could sit at home and watch it for free. More

Women in Media – Kathryn Jones

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Women in Media Project profiles influential, decision making and visionary women in the new media business. Our first profile is Kathryn Velvel Jones, from For Your Imagination. Why is she on the list? Read to find out.

  Kathryn Velvel Jones.jpgWho Are You and What do you do? My name is Kathryn Velvel Jones and I am currently the Vice President of Branded and Sponsored Entertainment at For Your Imagination, a leading online media studio which develops, markets and distributes high-quality original Internet TV and web video series. More

LeWeb coverage

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LeWeb, the European web 2.0 main event is taking place today and tomorrow in Paris. If you are not attending, you could still be a part of the event through ustream. Here is the main stage:

You can find all  Twitter chatter here, the program here, and below is the startup competition stage stream:
Live video chat by Ustream

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UPDATE: BlogTV sees Traffic Growth, Faces Major Challenges

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200811251419.jpgPlease note that this post was updated on the 26th of November. Updates are marked in Italic bold font.

BlogTV, the live streaming pioneer, is facing both opportunities and challenges.

BlogTV’s CEO, Guy Eliav, defined and executed a brilliant strategy to increase traffic. In a targeted marketing activity, he managed to convince some of the brightest stars in YouTube to start live broadcasting in his network.

This activity and others enabled the company to grow its audience considerably, as the graph above clearly shows. It seems that under Guy’s leadership, the efforts bear fruits. They also claim to get in some cases $10-$12 CPM for ads in some of their star broadcasters.


BoinxTV Offering Low Cost Alternative for High End Post Production Tools

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BoinxTV, a software video mixer with high end features, is about to be released in November 11th. The product, by the award winning company Boinx, is pushing the envelope in semi-pro video productions and live events.

The product enables users to mix up to three sources (pre-recorded media, or live cameras), add transitions, lower thirds, overlays, logos, and live elements to the video feed and record it as a quicktime file or upload it to Apple’s podcast producer.

When you launch the software, you can chose a show template – news, hi-tech, sports, or blank template.

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Based on your choice, a complex and unintuitive interface is opened, that allows you to define which overlays should be used, titles, lower thirds, transitions and logos.

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Though filled with options and out of the box graphics, it took me a while to learn how to operate this tool. Having said that, it is still much simpler (and cheaper) then learning After Effects or other post production tools.

This application is very appealing to churches, local football teams, schools, and other communities looking for a cheap and easy to use tool that will give their video production a bit of a boost. The same goes for video podcasters. However, it has some major disadvantages:

1. It doesn’t support live broadcasting – unlike CamTwist, BoinxTV is only for recording media, not live broadcasting. This is a major disadvantage as its live mixing abilities are impressive, and could make the life of blogtv and ustream broadcasters much simpler, and improve their production value.

2. The interface is not easy to use at all. it took me a while to get the UI concept – even though Boinx make some amazing apps.

3. Many of its features can be found in free alternative, though online, such as Mogulus.

4. And on a personal note, I don’t really like applications which promise too much before they are able to deliver it. They do make post production easier, for a very specific segment of users, but this is still not a substitute for post production applications such as After Effects. Therefore, their notion of “Say Goodbye to Post Production” is a little overdoing it in my opinion.

You can follow the application’s twitter account, watch an interview with the company, and read more about the application here.

Video, Social Media, and Unified Communication

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I am writing this post after (hopefully) overcoming my jet lag in San Jose, California. I first came to VON a year ago, and this year, in Spring VON, I am moderating 3 panels:

Over The Top Video

Tuesday 2:50 PM

Using the Internet and IP technology to deliver video services has dramatically changed the end user’s experience in both choice and control. Video options abound, from special interest portals and closed circuit programming to the new intelligent set-top devices that use computer processing to deliver rich digital options. What will these options mean to the access carrier and what does it mean for the future of content delivery?

What will keep them coming to TV, when will they turn to the computer? Will changing viewing habits continue to change the options for video delivery? Will picture quality play a determining factor in the success of these new services?


Stephen Dennison Director of CDN Solutions, Content Markets, Level 3 Communications

Maribel Lopez Research Analyst, Lopez Research

Perry Wu, CEO, BitGravity


Kfir Pravda IMTC Vice President of Marketing and CEO, Pravda Media

Online Video and Social Media

Wednesday 4:50 PM

Integrating video into social media applications seems to be a natural fit. New online video sites are beginning to shift more toward community-oriented platforms, where people with common interests can experience video content with complete social networking functionality such as chat, text messaging and interest profiles. This panel examines the viral growth of social networking in combination with traditional broadcast media, user generated content, live broadcast and video chat and how it will affect our viewing future.

    Who will be attracted, and what are the benefits of online video to the social networker?

    Who are some of the companies today providing online video and social media?

    What online video advertising models will take effect in community sites?


      Matt Gore Vice President of Marketing, Paltalk

      Kathryn Jones Co-Founder,

      Rex Wong CEO, Dave Networks


      Kfir Pravda IMTC Vice President of Marketing and CEO

      Pravda Media

      Deploying Cross-Vendor Implementations in the Real World – a Customer View

      Thursday 3:00 PM

      A panel discussing the issues in implementing cross vendor communication solutions for video conferencing and unified communication.


      Mike Brosetti, CEO and Founder, Abovetel

      Dan Bruckner Director of IT Operations

      Stanford Hospital and Clinics

      Anatoli Levine

      IMTC President and Sr Director of Software Support RADVISION


      Kfir Pravda IMTC Vice President of Marketing; CEO

      Pravda Media

      I am also participating in the following panel:

      Reference Architectures for Content Delivery & Unified Communications

      Thursday 1:30 PM

      This panel will address how to extract content from enterprise communications and insert content into both communications and collaboration within the enterprise. This covers everything from conference recordings to social network content, and there are a few standards, but this is mostly unknown territory. The focus here is not on solving the problem in the panel, but identifying how critical an issue this is, and what the major challenges are.


      Mike Borsetti CEO and Founder, Abovetel

      David Boyer Chief Architect, Unified Communications Division


      Cary Bryan, Cisco Systems

      Kfir Pravda IMTC Vice President of Marketing; CEO Pravda Media

      Moderator: Anatoli Levine IMTC President and Sr Director of Software Support


      I am looking forward to hear the following panel:

      General Session: Real-Time Social Communications

      Tuesday 4:00 PM

      This session will explore the state of Social Communications.


      Jonathan Christensen General Manager for Video and Audio Skype

      Brad Hunstable Founder,

      Loic Le Meur CEO and Founder, Seesmic

      Robert Scoble Managing Director, Fast Company

      Ramu Sunkara CEO,

      Moderator: Jeff Pulver Chairman and Founder



      Moving Content from A to B: Issues and Options

      Tuesday 11:00 AM

      In a world of multiple devices with multiple connections to ‘open’ Networks and the virtualization of “The Deck”, multimedia content delivery is no longer about simply getting it there and billing for it later. It’s about dynamically choosing the least cost route and highest margin content sources…transcoding and transcrypting… ingesting from and publishing into multiple destinations simultaneously …intelligently generating and leveraging metadata for making recommendations and targeting ads…making efficient use of thenetworks at hand..and making sure everybody in the value chain gets paid. Come hear experts from Vantrix, Roundbox, and RealNetworks, discuss the challenges at hand and share best practices


      Jean Mayrand Co-Founder & CTO, Vantrix Corporation

      Vinod Valloppill Vice President Product Marketing, Roundbox


      Chris Steck IMTC CTO, and Director of Technology, RealNetworks

      If you are attending the event – email me at, or sms me at +972-544-9458066 and let’s talk!

      Tjoon – A Refreshing New Video Application

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      Josh Lowensohn from webware introduced me to a cool new application, that gives the concept of one man show a whole new perspective – Tjoon.

      The site is a split screen video recording system. what makes it interesting is the application itself – The site offers musicians to record themselves playing different instruments, and create a clip composed from all instruments.

      I find it pretty cool – though it is an extremely niche application. Doing such a thing with Ustream though can be pretty cool (most live broadcasting solutions offer 2 hosts only).

      I am not certain if this project is a business or just for fun, and there is not a lot of information about the team behind that. On the other hand – YouTube also started as a local video sharing solution…

      In any case, if any of the founders are reading this post – please contact me, I’d love to hear more about your project.

      Here is a short clip showcasing the application:

      YouTube – – Only You

      Want to know more? Subscribe to my RSS feed or email list.

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      UPDATE: BlogTV New Homepage Signals Content Discovery as Main Differentiation – and They Launch a New Facebook Application

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      BlogTV launched toady their new homepage with the following sections:

      1. Improved subscription process – with email and twitter alerts, and future SMS integration. Though this feature was already in earlier in previous versions, now users can easily subscribe to new shows from almost any page at the site

      2. “Upcoming” section – the most interesting feature is the new Upcoming part of the site. Sources in the company see this part as key to success of their site.This section will show in the feature shows users might like based on their preferences, their friends preferences and editors choice.

      3. Featured shows section – handpicked by the editor, this section will help to promote new shows.

      Company sources  believe that these features will create what they refer to as the first live Internet TV listing, and improve their position in the market.

      It is interesting to see that BlogTV see content discovery as key to their success. Time will tell if this is another battle in the feature war against Ustream and operator11, or a knockout from BlogTV side. Somehow it seems to me that switching costs are so low in this market, that only brand and strong community tools can create a real differentiation in this market.


      UPDATE – the company also launched a new Facebook application. The most interesting feature there in my opinion is the ability to see if any of your contacts are now live, and the ability to notify your friends easily on your show. See Techcrunch post for more details.

      Om Malik Starts Video Shows

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      When I asked Om Malik in a joint panel at Blogference if he has plans to go into podcasting and Internet Video shows, he said that he was thinking about this direction. Less than a month later, Om published his first show, in cooperation with Revision3. The show covers Internet trends and analysis, topics he analyze in his blog.

      Contrary to what I thought, the initial aim of this product is not to get more advertising dollars. In a recent conversation, Om stated that he viewed video as a medium that surpass the limits of blogging – while posts has to be short and precise, online video enabled him to do long form interviews. Another angle I found interesting is that Om saw this medium as a mean to let viewers analyze the information given on their own, based on raw interviews.

      And, as always, beyond the regular business concepts and needs, Om just stated that “it is fun” – I can’t agree more.

      I wonder if we will see a lot of professional bloggers adding original video to their media offering. Video production requires different type of planning and production, it is more time consuming than blogging, and in today’s market, doesn’t necessarily brings more viewers than textual blogs. This would change if video production companies will tailor their service to fit bloggers, by reducing the planning and production overhead from the bloggers themselves. Script is especially crucial here – not necessarily a strong blogger’s capability.

      In any case, if I was BlogTV or Ustream I wouldn’t hold my breath – when I’ve mentioned the option of having live sessions, he simply said that his schedule is too full for that. This is another proof that live broadcasting is not as appealing as pre-recorded content, an issue I’ve raised in a previous post.

      Good luck Om!


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      What's the real business potential of Personal Broadband Broadcasting?

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      I’ve written a lot lately on products that enable users to broadcast themselves live over the interment. These products are mature enough to be used by almost everyone, and hype is building up in this field, slowly but surely.

      But what is the real potential of this segment? Are we looking at companies that will become the next YouTube, or at a niche market segment with limited growth potential?

      The difference between live broadcasting and edited content is a major one. While edited content allows creators to correct their mistakes, add visuals to their content and create an overall better experience for users, live broadcasting requires special kind of creators – ones who can immediately respond to their audience, talk fluently on a specific topic and interact on the fly with viewers and co-hosts.

      Therefore, I don’t believe we will see as much traffic and content in live sites as in the YouTubes of the world. Add the fact that live content usually does not contain copyright infringing material, and you get a content arena with original content only, most of it by unknown creators.

      What kind of usage pattern will increase the economic value of this medium? In my opinion we should not look at this medium as a stand alone technology, but as another tool in new media creators’ tool box. I’ve started a discussion about different ways to use this medium here. Companies that will tailor their products to the specific needs of their customers, rather then leave the platform as a general purpose site, can increase both usage and loyalty.

      Another way of increasing the economical value of this medium is by helping Indie creators use it as a part of covering live events – just like any other news organization. Technology provider that will embrace Indie content creators, and enable them to cover events of their interest, will create a new kind of media arena – independent and alternative live coverage of niche events. Companies can encourage users to use their platform by providing them with specialized equipment such as wireless cams, to cover high profile events. Creativity, like in other area, is the key here.

      There is no single answer to the question I’ve raised in the headline of this post. However, one thing is certain – plain feature wars are not the answer for creating economic value in this emerging market.