Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Video Sharing Is "Hard," Says Instagram -- Sorenson Already Has Solved This Problem

Virtually every day there seems to be yet another new start-up vying to become the "Instagram for video" -- i.e., giving consumers an easy way to store and share mobile-captured vids with families and friends.  The latest entrant is Burst (which just raised $3.5 million to "solve" this problem).  

But, in the words of Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, video is "hard."  My company, Sorenson Media, know this -- have internalized this -- and have solved these "hard" problems for over a decade.  As just one example, we have powered all video sharing on memory-sharing giant Shutterfly for over two years now.  We already have built and proven out a full consumer-focused mobile, and private (secure) "store and share" eco-system.  This means that start-ups entering this video "store and share" game come to it literally scores of years behind in terms of development experience to solve those "hard" issues.  And, that means that virtually all of these start-ups simply will be overwhelmed and fail.

Video is a very different animal than photo sharing for many reasons -- including both (1) the sheer size of data, and (2) the complexity of doing it "right" (i.e., retaining HD video quality and optimizing video delivery to any device in our multi-screen world).  Speed of sharing (uploading the video, transcoding the video, delivering the video) and doing that all "right"(i.e., not dumbing down the HD video quality) are extremely difficult challenges to solve.  Fast file uploading is essential, as is world-class transcoding.

We have both -- as well as all the other ingredients necessary to make consumer video storing and sharing a drop-dead easy and compelling experience (we were the first video technology behind Apple QuickTime, Macromedia/Adobe Flash, and YouTube after all).  That's why Shutterfly trusts us.  That's why major consumer electronics companies are interested in our consumer-focused private mobile video "store and share" solutions.

And, make no mistake, consumer video sharing will become a massive business -- so long as it is easy and so long as the video looks really, really good ....