Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Encoding is a Commodity Only When It Isn't

Yesterday, I blogged about important business aspects of -- and very real risks associated with -- encoding.

But, how about encoding itself and its role in online video distribution?

Encoding, according to industry guru Dan Rayburn of Streaming Media, is a "commodity." So, encoding is simply a check box in the overall online video value change and workflow, right? Pick a solution and move on.


As Rayburn points out, encoding (together with other aspects of the video workflow) is a "commodity" only if it isn't differentiated. In other words, the act of encoding video is commoditized -- hey, there are lots of video encoding solutions out there. But, the ability to stand out -- and differentiate in meaningful ways -- is where value is created. And, because encoding is a critical part of the video eco-system (it's where all that great quality can be lost), choosing the right differentiated encoding solution is essential.

That's why Rayburn says "Commoditization" is not a dirty word -- rather, companies should embrace it. According to Rayburn, quality differentiation absolutely does matter -- and matters a lot. Performance matters. A lot. And, functionality matters.

In Rayburn's own words:

"Encoding is completely commoditized but that's not to say that the quality of encoding is the same amongst all of the different services in the market."

And, let's not forget other critical differentiation on the business side, including the business risks associated with encoding if not done right. As I pointed out yesterday, FFmpeg and other encoding solutions do not utilize officially sanctioned codecs like H.264 -- that means real business risk. So, encoding differentiation and value creation flows from those solutions -- like ours -- that use only officially sanctioned and licensed codecs. Let's also not forget the peace of mind that flows from working with a long-trusted brand. There's a lot of value to be placed in knowing you're in good hands. And, that you will get the support you need -- including live bodies -- from real encoding experts.

Obviously, I couldn't agree more that commoditization in the marketplace is a great place from which to stand out. That's why my company is here. We spend a lot of time on differentiation -- of value creation -- on helping you preserve the great quality videos that you spent so much time producing in the first place (we have spent a decade plus to add develop our award-winning differentiated video encoding solutions). We place our customers -- and listening to their feedback -- as top priorities so that we can focus on continuing to add the value and differentiation they need so that their videos can stand out -- safely and without risk -- against the fray.