Thursday, July 02, 2009

For Video Professionals, It's the Encoding Stupid! Their Quality Content Is King

Joost's demise has deserved lots of attention of course -- and from some of the biggest names and "influencers" in technology, including Om Malik and Michael Arrington. Why? Because the Joost rise and fall holds significant lessons to anyone running a technology company -- or, most any company for that matter. Om Malik's detailed and thoughtful analysis is particularly instructive and is worthy of a read.

There are many reasons why all of Joost's advantages -- and it had remarkable ones -- did not lead them to the promised land. At the end of the day, Om Malik concludes that "in the end, however, it all boiled down to a lack of content."

Very interesting conclusion -- perhaps content IS king after all?

And, for video professionals -- where their content IS their business -- quality video trumps all.

And, where does quality come from? Certainly in the video capture itself. But, after that, quality is made -- or broken -- in the encoding process. Video professionals know this -- that "it's the encoding, stupid!" But, this is an overlooked fact -- and reality -- for virtually every video publishing platform/CMS out there in the marketplace (and for many of their customers).

THIS is where Sorenson Media comes in -- and this is perhaps the single most important differentiator of "Sorenson 360" from the "new" Joost and any CMS that is in business today.

Sorenson Squeeze has been THE gold standard in video encoding for video professionals for years. Why, because of it's encoding quality and control -- we have been the market leader for encoding for years. And, our new "Sorenson 360" re-imagines what a video publishing platform should be -- that's why we call it a "video delivery network" or VDN. It is the only solution that features the full power of Squeeze and client-side encoding -- and all of its undisputed advantages -- front and center. And, we do it in 2 ways -- (1) seamless integration of our further enhanced Squeeze 5.1 with Sorenson 360; AND (2) browser-based encoding -- drag and drop with no separate application required -- but that still uses the Squeeze engine (yes, that's right, client-side encoding directly in the browser).

THIS is why it was a natural evolution for us, as a company, to launch Sorenson 360. Quite frankly, our existing substantial base of video professional Squeeze customers asked for it. They needed an "all in one" workflow solution that puts encoding -- and, hence, quality -- front and center. No one else in the marketplace gave that to them. And, we are in the business of serving the needs of these video professionals -- that is our focus. We are not trying to be everything to everyone. (This gets back to Om Malik's essential point regarding the need to focus, with which I wholeheartedly agree.)

This is our "special sauce." And, Sorenson 360 -- and our overall product/service eco-system -- is differentiated from all others in "the space" in other critical ways as well:

(1) Our unique heritage -- we have been innovators in Internet video for 14 years (i.e., we have been around, and we will be around); we have a reputation for quality and have been best in class for years; and we have a substantial existing customer base of video professionals -- a market segment we know very well indeed; and

(2) We have been profitable for years and have a very healthy balance sheet -- this speaks for itself, especially in this day and age.

And, this last point is critical -- a profitable and healthy business is especially important now, when seemingly every week there is a new entrant in the CMS space -- now it's the "new" Joost -- that treats video encoding as an afterthought. Most of them will simply fail ...