Wednesday, March 09, 2011

And To Think They Didn't Believe in the Power of Video ...

As some of you know, prior to Sorenson Media, I ran video chat/communications company SightSpeed. We were acquired by Logitech in the fall of 2008 and the service is now Logitech "Vid." I am pleased that virtually the entire SightSpeed team is still with Logitech after nearly 2.5 years (that is a rare thing after an acquisition, and demonstrates it was a successful one).

Throughout my 3 years at SightSpeed, the chorus of non-believers in the power and promise of live video chat/communications drowned out the believers by a significant margin. "No, it will never take off -- people have been trying to make video chat a business since the 1964 World's Fair!" (you know, that kind of stuff).

Well, I never believed that obviously (after all, I chose to run the company). I always believed that live video -- if done right (high quality, easy to use) -- would transform communications. And, I believed this across the board -- including on the mobile side (i.e., mobile two-way video chat and one-way live "see what I'm seeing"). The non-believers particularly scoffed on the mobile side.

Well, scoff no more.

Skype just released an updated S-1 filing in support of its upcoming IPO and, in that document, notes that video calls account for a full 42% of all Skype-to-Skype calling minutes. Think about that -- 42%! (and Skype was late to the video chat game). And, of course, Skype recently acquired mobile video startup Qik for a cool $121 million cash -- that's some real belief that mobile live video matters. Other data points? Well, how many FaceTime commercials have you seen for the iPhone in the past year? Steve Jobs and friends certainly believe. And, live video is going everywhere fast -- and also transforming the enterprise (we continuously use Skype for videoconferencing between our two offices in San Diego and Salt Lake City).

Where are the naysayers now?