The Streaming Media Industry Needs A “Real” Awards Program For Vendors, Based On Actual Methodology

There are a lot of award programs in the streaming media industry and while many don’t want to admit it, most of them are a joke. Awards are given out to vendors with no real methodology behind them and it’s all based on marketing dollars spent, connections with editorial departments, or stuffing ballots. At the NAB Show in Vegas, nearly a dozen media organizations gave out awards to vendors and many of them spent no time looking at the product, getting hands-on with it, and picked vendors based on what was said in a press release. I’ve seen products win awards that were still in beta, had no referenceable customers, could not scale or simply didn’t do what they claimed. (Note, the NAB Show’s do not give out any awards of their own tied to the streaming industry, news/media companies simply use the NAB Show name in their own awards program)

Of course, everyone likes to win awards, but I think they should be based on a ranking system of some kind, with some real methodology behind them. Without that, it’s hard for vendors who don’t spend a lot on marketing to win awards and many vendors get passed over. I’m also seeing vendors put a good percentage of their marketing budget towards winning awards, with the idea that it somehow helps them win new business. And yet from what I can tell, winning awards doesn’t drive new revenue for vendors at all. I have yet to talk to a customer who said they picked one vendor over another, because it won an award in the market. They are much more likely to take a recommendation from a current customer, or an expert in the field, over anything else.

If an awards program was backed by a person or an organization that was well-respected in the industry and was based on real methodology of some kind, I do think it would help vendors get new business and help them stand out. But to date, I haven’t seen an awards program of that kind, outside of very specific technical programs by a standards body like SMPTE and others, that are tied to more traditional pay TV products. And while all vendors operate in a competitive environment, I also think peers would be willing to help vote on companies they respect, products they think have merit and live events that provide a good user experience.

With all this in mind, the next logical question is, what would it take to provide a respected awards program in the market for the streaming media industry? For vendors to be highlighted properly and companies to know how they were being compared to their peers. What would you want to see included in such a program? I’m interested to hear your feedback, either in the comments section below or you can drop me an email at any time.