Wednesday, August 17, 2005

InformationWeek > Web Video > The Web Moves > August 15, 2005

NASA has learned what many businesses soon will: Your customers are ready to use video over the Web. Now it's up to business leaders to figure out what of value they can deliver over what will quickly become a critical communication channel.

Video over the Web isn't going to win any Academy Awards. The quality is only OK, and the programming available ranges from the compelling, such as NASA or the Live 8 concert, to the inane, like some video blogs. But America Online says 5 million people tuned in to the July 2 Live 8 concert, which it broadcast with seven separate feeds so viewers could control what they watched during the daylong concert, which also ran on MTV, VH1, and ABC. Media companies are racing to embrace video on the Web, from AOL, Google, and Yahoo testing video search tools to traditional print and broadcast organizations trying to figure out how Web viewers want their video.

"People are moving to video because they can," says Eric Schmidt, Microsoft's group product manager for digital media platforms. "Over the past several years, technology has diminished the barriers to entry." That tech includes greater network bandwidth, blazing-fast PC processors, and Microsoft and RealNetworks Inc. software that makes video available to users from any desktop. Inexpensive software and Webcams make it easier for companies to create and deliver their own multimedia messages.

But like NASA, it's how nonmedia businesses use this power of moving images to speak directly to their customers and partners that could provide some of the most interesting and valuable uses of video on the Web. (more)


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