2011 has been a year of significant change taking place in the business video marketplace, particularly when it comes to big announcements from major players (Adobe's move away from development of its Flash player for mobile devices to focus on HTML5 technology) and acquisitions of some of the long-standing vendors in the enterprise video space (Accordent's acquisition by Polycom (News - Alert), Qumu's acquisition by Rimage and Fliqz' acquisition by VBrick in the first part of this year).
2012 is likely to be a continuation of this period of major change in the world of online video, and to get some thoughts and insights from an industry expert that really has his finger on the pulse of the online video space and almost every vendor in it, we turned to Kris Drey, the founder of VidCompare.
Drey has been in the online video space for many years, as vice president of product and marketing at Fliqz, where he has had the opportunity to watch the online video platform space become increasingly crowded and complex. Drey also spent 6 years building and managing comparison engines at CNET Networks (News - Alert) as a way of creating an unbiased, fair and deeply informative interactive directory of online video platform providers.
Paul Ritter: Kris, it’s great to get your input on where you see the online video space heading over the next year or so. Before we get into a discussion about the future, can you provide a little history and background on your experiences in the space and what your vision was for creating VidCompare and what the site has evolved into as of today?
Kris Drey: Thanks for the opportunity to speak with you Paul. While running product for Fliqz in early 2007 it was necessary for me to keep a close eye on the competition so I logged as much data about the providers as possible in a spreadsheet taking note of which providers were signing up new customers, which features they were releasing, what they were focusing on, and how they were going about it. Then when I built the marketing program at Fliqz I began looking for ways to help us stand out in what was quickly becoming a crowded space.
We’d done a ton of SEM along with dedicated email blasts to large lists, whitepapers, webinars and some advertising until it hit me…the space needed a comparison engine. Back at CNET I ran such sites comparing services for ISPs, web hosting providers, home integrators, mobile carriers, etc. so I took my spreadsheet of OVP data and called an old software engineer buddy from CNET and we set to task building what is today known as VidCompare.
Paul Ritter: Kris, I know that VidCompare just released its Online Video Platform Predictions for 2012, which included some insights and feedback from many of the leading OVP players and other industry experts. We’ll provide a link at the end of this interview for people to visit the VidCompare site to read the full article with the 2012 predictions, but what are some of the highlights of the predictions and insights that you found most interesting, and what are some of your personal views about where the OVP marketplace is heading as you look out over the next 12 months or so?
Kris Drey: HTML5 has been a popular topic of discussion within the online video space over the past 9-10 months primarily because Apple (News - Alert) decided not to support Flash on their devices resulting in a cult-like movement away from Adobe Flash. Many OVPs are clamoring and claiming to support HTML5 with the goal of future-proofing their solutions in the months and years to come.
I personally happen to agree somewhat with David Wadler of Twistage that, the death of online video as we know it is not near. In fact, I’d say we have a significant amount of time ahead of us before Flash is replaced by HTML5 or any other technology for that matter.
If I had to put my finger on one trend for the coming year it’s that we’ll see more OVPs merge and shut their doors while newcomers hit the scene with more specialized services addressing targeted needs of marketers and publishers alike. We’ll see ad nets and OVPs meld providing all-in-one solutions of video hosting and management along with built in ad inventory, targeting, and performance analytics.
Paul Ritter: Thanks for those thoughts and predictions Kris. We happen to agree with the assessment that the OVP marketplace will see a thinning of the herd throughout the next 12 months, and beyond. Many companies are realizing that a really robust video platform has to have a wide range of capabilities and technologies for integrating video into an ever expanding array of applications and business processes, and in many cases, it will simply be faster and cheaper to just buy one of the OVP companies with innovative technology and a growing list of customers than to try to build something from the ground up. Do you have any final thoughts and insights about the evolving OVP that you would like to share with our audience?
Kris Drey: Convergence (News - Alert) will be the name of the game in 2012. Users of online video will no longer have to sign multiple contracts with different vendors looking for CDN, OVP, AdNet, and monetization solutions.
Paul Ritter: Thanks again Kris for taking the time to provide your thoughts on the future of the OVP space and for sharing some of the Online Video Platform Predictions for 2012. I’d also like to thank VidCompare for being a media partner and supporter of the Business Video Expo conference in Miami in early February. There is a special 10 percent discount being offered specifically for VidCompare visitors and newsletter subscribers to attend the Expo and hear from industry thought leaders and see some of the latest online video technologies and solutions. They can use the special 6-digit code VIDCOM on the Expo registration page to get the discount.
Paul Ritter is Vice President of Interactive Media Strategies (News - Alert). To read more of his articles, please visit please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell