Big changes in the eddie.com world. After freelancing as a videographer, producer & consultant for the last few years, I’ve settled down as the Head of Production Services for a little outfit called Ustream. Maybe you’ve heard of them. They’re one of the big players in the live video streaming space (what was once called webcasting back in 1.0 days). Rappers love ‘em. So do tech conferences. I just finished up streaming the LeWeb conference in Paris, my first trip as an employee. I’ve worked with Ustream a bunch over the past year in a consulting capacity, which has been a lot of fun.
So what does a Head of Production Services do? I’m still trying to figure that out. What I do know is that it’ll involve servicing the many requests we get for help from our customers. Ustream is super easy to use and free for anyone, though many people need or want a bit of extra help. Production Services will be that. You’ll be able to hire Ustream “certified” professionals to come out and make sure your event goes off without a hitch. You’ll hear more about that over the coming months as we get things figured out.
For me, this seems like a natural progression of things I’ve been doing over the past 10 years. Back in the early 2000’s, I worked for a small startup called Fast Forward Networks that had created an innovative platform for scaling live broadcasts across the Internet. Think multicast at the application layer. It worked pretty well and we had some early successes selling to CDNs, broadcasting the Super Bowl and a Madonna concert. That startup was acquired by Inktomi right before the dot-com crash. This meant a 1000+ person company was soon reduced to less than 100 and firesaled off to Yahoo! in 2003.
On the cusp of 2010, live Internet broadcasting is doing damn fine. It’s become disruptive and the major old-school TV broadcasters have a lot to fear. Some of the fundamental technologies have changed, such as Flash video being the ubiquitous way of viewing Internet video. Back in 1.0 days it was all about RealNetworks, Quicktime and Windows Media. Codec and platform compatibility problems were the norm and end-user bandwidth simply wasn’t there to provide the YouTube & Hulu like experience we have today. We’ve come a long way in 10 years and I have no doubt the next 10 years will be exponentially more interesting. I predict by 2020 all TV media consumption will be Internet based, cable will be dead, DVDs will be a relic and satellite will just be another avenue for delivering Internet. From where I’m sitting, that looks pretty good.