Rise of the Videonet

Panel Discussion

47 minutes, 21.9mb, recorded 2006-01-23
Jonathan Taplin, Robert Levitan, Jeremy Allaire, Mary Hodder, JD Lasica

The Internet as a platform for video is in its initial growth stage. In only a few years over 200 video hosting sites have come into existence. According to Mary Hodder of Dabble, the big names YouTube and MySpace currently provide for over 70% of users hosting needs, with Yahoo, MSN, AOL and a large contingent of lesser known sites making up the remaining 25-30%.

Bottom up content development and user generated submissions are responsible for this intriguing pop-phenomenon. The user generated community includes everyone from the home based DIY guy producing video for family and friends, to the chop up and re-mix guys producing parody based upon previously published content, to those with background and skills to make it in Hollywood who can now independently produce high value content - everything from small tv shows, interviews, documentaries and independent films - that can reach audiences in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people.

However, a mixture of very relevant legal, technical and business issues may temper the seemingly unlimited growth. There is tension with Hollywood and well-funded high production studios who are very content to block new initiatives and slow progress in an effort to protect their content at all cost. There is a crucial need for increased infrastructure at the national level (several panelists reference an earlier Supernova2006 session in which FCC Commissioner Michael Copps argued that as a nation we have not come near to achieving the broadband goals outlined in 2004, noting that at present the FCC still classifies 200kb as broadband bandwidth). Finally, there is a need for clearly defined business models, and funding mechanisms that target, cost efficient emerging media businesses.

The current flurry of activity in the video space may only be a precursor of what is to come. YouTube’s recent purchase by Google may be the catalyst that pushes Hollywood action. As entrepreneur and provocateur Mark Cuban predicted following the purchase,"Google Lawyers will be a busy, busy bunch" dealing with copyright violations. The real show may be about to begin.

J.D. Lasica is co-founder and president of Ourmedia, a free nonprofit global repository, learning center and community space for grassroots video and audio. His book "Darknet: Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation" explores the personal media revolution. J.D. blogs about citizens' media and digital rights at Newmediamusings.com, Darknet.com and RealPeopleNetwork.com. CNET recently named him one of the top 100 bloggers in the world. In a previous life, J.D. was an editor at the Sacramento Bee and in senior management at several startups.

Jeremy Allaire is the founder and President of Brightcove. He started Brightcove with a vision of transforming television on the Internet. Prior to Brightcove, Jeremy worked as a technologist and entrepreneur-in-residence for the venture capital firm General Catalyst, where he worked on companies and investments in broadband media, mobile content, e-commerce software and digital identity. Before General Catalyst, Jeremy was CTO of Macromedia, where he helped define and launch the Macromedia MX platform. Jeremy joined Macromedia with its merger with Allaire Corporation, where Jeremy was a co-founder and CTO. Founded in 1995, Allaire Corporation was a pioneer in using the web as an application platform, and its industry leading and award winning products power millions of websites, online services and business applications on the Internet.

Jonathan Taplin specializes in International Communication Management and digital media entertainment. Taplin began his career in 1969 with successful engagements with Bob Dylan and Martin Scorsese. Taplin went on to produce television documentaries and 12 feature films, whereupon his films were nominated for Oscar and Golden Globe awards and chosen for The Cannes Film Festival. Taplin has also been investment advisor to Bass Brothers and VP of media M&As for Merrill. Taplin was a founder of Intertainer, the pioneer video-on-demand company, and has served as its Chairman and CEO since 1996. Mr. Taplin graduated from Princeton University. He is a member of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and sits on the advisory board of the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland.

Mary Hodder is CEO of Dabble, a recently launched video remix community. Mary is an information architect and interaction designer specializing in social media sites. She works with companies in open source, photo sharing and "live web" search, was at Technorati, and recently completed a survey of the current state of research and development in academia in the area of New Media for the American Press Institute. She is a blogger at Napsterization (napsterization.org/stories/) and an original author at bIPlog (the first UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism blog, on the topic of intellectual property, security and privacy). She completed her Masters at the School of Information Management and Systems at UC Berkeley in May, 2004. She continues to research system design with values.

Robert Levitan is currently CEO of Pando Networks, a NYC-based company developing media distribution software. Pando allows consumers to bypass email attachment limits to send any size file to anyone. Prior to founding Pando Networks, Levitan co-founded iVillage, the community Web site for women recently acquired by NBC/Universal, and Flooz.com, an online gift currency and corporate rewards company. Levitan has served as a strategic advisor for many companies including for Oddpost and AOL. In addition, he has helped Pearson LLC launch a television series in China and AT&T Wireless set up its Internet operating division. Advertising Age named Levitan a "Digital Media Master." Levitan serves on the Board of Directors of Mobius Management Systems and the Executive Council of New York.


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