Streaming Media Europe: It's About Quality, Not Quantity

As Streaming Media shows go, Streaming Media Europe is definitely the smallest; in terms of topic discussions and old-world intense "looking under the hood," however, the London-based European show puts its larger Streaming Media East and West siblings to shame.

The show, which took place this week at the Copthorne Tara Kensington over three glorious autumn days, featured 25 sessions on topics as diverse as user-generated video, webcasting, content distribution for both enterprise and mobile, IPTV, and online video advertising.

Jan Ozer, a Streaming Media show regular and frequent contributor to several Information Today properties, including Streaming Media magazine, presented on Shooting Video for Streaming, both during the event and also as one of the four pre-event extended workshops. During the question and answer session, one attendee asked how to differentiate between shooting for streaming or shooting for broadcast.

"The line is blurring," said Ozer. "But there still are considerations such as motion or handheld camera work, especially for streaming or web delivery, which require a trade-off between significant processing power and significant bandwidth."

Day One
The first keynote, from Ari Paparo, VP of Rich Media and Emerging Technologies from DoubleClick, dealt with the realities of online advertising in a fragmented online market. Paparo addressed ad-supported videos that use in-stream ads, as the future of online video, noting that DoubleClick’s systems can show ad buyers the demographic differences of various video delivery platforms.

But Paparo also noted that several key challenges remain to be overcome before in-stream video ads become the $1.5 billion market that some forecasters are predicting. Most notably, he pointed to the lack of infrastructure within content publishers and ad agencies to support the degree of integration between video and banner ads to avoid delivering contradicting messages—say, delivering a Coke banner alongside a Pepsi video—as well as the inability to change ad messages on the fly the way they can with banners.

He added that agencies are employing three tactics to overcome some of these challenges: only buying on sites with extensive metrics (like full-view vs. half-view); looking for publishers with custom units that can be run with less frequency capping; and combining site and network buys to maximize reach.

One of the better-attended sessions on day one was "Streaming Video Content to Mobile: What Works Technically and Commercially?" No surprise, given how hot that topic is these days and how much further along mobile video is in Europe and Asia than it is in the U.S. Also no surprise, however, was the consensus that aside from "girls, goals, and gambling"—the real meaning of "3G," joked moderator Jeremy Flynn—nobody is finding much success monetizing mobile video, even in places where it is more technically feasible and accessible.

Still, the speakers were upbeat about the future. "It may be too early to determine whether mobile video will really take off," said Ortiva’s Bob Sanders. "Early adopters tend to be looking for specific content, and so very few are simply browsing to see what might be available at any given time." That, the other panelists agreed, would only occur when adoption has increased, content discoverability improves, and content creators become more savvy about editing content specifically for mobile delivery.

"Unfortunately, it’s a chicken-and-egg scenario right now," concluded Flynn.

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