I’ve been terrible about keeping my blog current this summer. And, I envision staying fairly inactive for the next couple weeks unfortunately. But, I felt the need to pause from my hectic schedule tonight to post about a meaningful and very public advancement in online media this week.
It’s no secret that more and more professionally produced video content is moving online. And, while YouTube still drives the majority of online video viewing, some of the content is compelling enough that people are actually watching.
But, there has been nominal advancement in the actual quality of the video delivery over the past decade–until the past 12 months or so. Average bit rate delivery of video content online has remained around 350 Kbps for many years, largely because of delivery costs as well as the ability for end user’s CPU rates to take on anything meaningfully higher.
This week though, the DNC, with the participation of folks including Move Networks, Microsoft and some bright colleagues of mine at Level 3 are movin’ on up, so to speak. If you haven’t seen it for yourself yet, check out the HD quality content that can be found live and on-demand at www.demconvention.com. Move is using it’s adative streaming video format, in conjunction with Microsoft’s Silverlight player, to deliver a world-class viewing experience that rivals what one would experience on their massive plasma screen TV at home. Level 3 is the CDN and the signal acquisition provider. It’s almost humorous to compare the DNC site to the quality of the Windows Media content that can be found at, say, CNN.com. Night and day.
And, the results of this high quality content delivery are what one would hope them to be…record numbers of viewers, longer viewing times and some rave reviews. Here is what Rafat at PaidContent.org had to say the other day (and he’s generally skeptical and cynical about most activity like this):
“Every major site and TV network is live streaming it online in full…But the most awesome (I have probably never used that word in seven years of this site) online video feed is on the official Democratic Convention site, on DemConvention.com. It is in HD and uses Move Networks’ plugin and Microsoft Silverlight. You have to watch it to see the potential of HD video online…certainly shows how great HD video can look online.”
In the case of the DNC website, view times are interesting and important but it’s not a monetized site so we can’t yet realize the true implication of higher viewing times resulting in more meaningful advertising revenue online. But, when that happens, and this week’s experience is proving it WILL happen, a virtuous cycle begins. And, then, all of us who have been dreaming of the day Internet video becomes a principal means of content delivery get to feel the rewards of the hard work over the past decade plus.