Open Letter To Streaming Media Vendors: Stay Focused In The New Year

While many have asked me if I plan to do a year in review of the streaming media industry, vendors in this space already know what did and did not work well for them by talking to customers, reviewing their product adoption rates and looking at their balance sheet. To me, that’s the best year in review any company can do.

But I will say that by my calculations, more than 90% of all vendors in the streaming and online video market have less than $100M in revenue. Only a small handful of companies can take huge chances and make big bets on the future. As the Dow approaches 20,000 and the markets are doing well, many companies may try to over-extend themselves in the New Year. Don’t. Have the discipline to stay focused. If you look back at the twenty years of this industry, the worst time for vendors wasn’t when the market was bad, it’s when vendors lost focus, trying to be everything to everybody. Trying to sell their product/services into every vertical that exists, losing their way.

OTT is growing, it is expanding, but the business side of OTT is still unproven for most. The number of live streaming events in 2016 was probably a record, but most of them lost money and could only afford to be streamed due to a big financial backer. We are a long way still from being able to monetize live streaming WITH profitability and still have more work to do. 4K is coming, but it’s many, many years off. So be excited, but be realistic. Set proper expectations with your employees and your investors.

Realize that the best technology and platforms is not what always gets adopted. Services that are easy to understand, buy, deploy, manage and track the ROI associated with them will always beat out the newest and greatest technology. Some say we need more “adoption” of online video, but we don’t. The adoption is here and has been for some time. Now we need consumer-facing services with a proven business model and the technology behind those services to work seamlessly. The growth of this industry is NOT due to a lack of adoption or needed growth of the consumption of video or 4K etc. it’s making all the back-end pieces of these platforms work with one another. The ability to track, measure and analyze the entire video ecosystem, along with the quality of the experience is crucial.

My personal thanks to all the content owners, distributors, and vendors who shared so much information, data, and real-world use cases with me in 2016. The only reason I can act as the focal point for disseminating a lot of industry information is because vendors and others share it with me. That data, those uses cases, it allows me to have an insight into the bigger picture of the industry. It allows me to do my job, which I see it is one simple thing; Inform, Educate and Empower others.

I also appreciate all of the vendors (over 35 of them) who sponsored my blog throughout the year. I’m still amazed that for someone who has no training in writing, has no background in journalism and still struggles with grammar at times in my posts – that people still have an interest in what I have to say, and what I report on. I’ve never looked at my blog as being “mine”. As far as I am concerned, it’s a blog for the industry, by the industry, as the information on it comes from those who build, sell and deliver these videos services for a living.

There are many in this industry who have been and will continue be working each day to help this market continue to grow. Passion breeds success. True success equals profitability. And profitability guarantees a stable, realistic and prosperous future. We’ve only just scratched the surface of what this industry is going to evolve into down the road. So keep up the fight. There are more good things to come.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and healthy holiday season.