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March 2019 - Streaming Media Sourcebook
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2019 Online Video Industry Executive Predictions
Beware of fool's gold

As online video matures past the gold rush, there’s a notable difference in the tone of the vendors in the industry. As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.” We’ve learned enough lessons to say with confidence that successful companies in our space understand that market share in 2019 is not necessarily about staking a claim on the industry’s next shiny nugget, it’s about service—being goldsmiths, not prospectors. My predictions for the year boil down to just two key mindsets that that I believe will set the stage for the industry in 2019..

Service Will Outweigh Innovation

Over the past two decades we’ve seen so many companies come and go, it’s not surprising that the boomtown of the online video landscape is littered with broken products and ecosystems. Many publishers’ current online video strategies echo the story of the Little Dutch Boy who saved Haarlem from flood by putting his finger in the dike. Sadly, holes seem to keep springing up as we move forward with experimentation, new standards, and new technology—the online video industry has set a dizzying pace, one that can barely keep up with itself. Winners will be fixing what’s already in place rather than looking for the next El Dorado.

Decision-Making and Purchasing Will Be Pragmatic

It would be hard to argue that innovation promises stem from a CMO job title. However, in 2019, I believe that the CIO (internally) and CTO (externally) will be once again the ones leading this highly technical industry and most heavily involved purchasing decisions, as they know the difference between fool’s gold and the real thing. They always have, but so many companies in our space have bet on marketing gimmicks to attain funding and capture market share. Let’s face it, everyone is using online video now. We don’t necessarily need more prospectors, we need good goldsmiths. An indicator of this has most certainly been the increasing surge of technical recruitment from the big companies at Streaming Media shows. 

Companies that can maintain a customer base and win customers from the competition will inevitably succeed in 2019. The way to do that is with service and subscription models. Look for companies who can fix problems and create real solutions. In any industry, if you can’t keep a customer, simply getting new ones is not the answer, because you’ll inevitably lose them, and eventually your business.

That said, of course our industry will innovate; there’s no reason not to. Better gear, better workflow, better analytics, delivery, AI, and of course, better encoding. And with that, it’s my pleasure to introduce those leaders who’ve not just struck gold, but are building real treasure.

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