Interview: Page (1) of 2 - 09/26/05 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook

Part 2: ViewStarts Improved Web Streaming

New techniques make Web video viewing an instant and high-quality experience By Charlie White

Missed part 1? Find it here .

As we mentioned in part 1, ViewStart is a company thats aptly named. Thats because when you see one of its videos on a Web page, it starts playing right away. Besides its quick start, the video appears at a larger size than most and looks better, too. How does this company do it? To find out its secrets, Digital Media Nets Charlie White interviewed Ole Sakkestad, ViewStarts Executive VP of Sales and Marketing and in this part two of a two-part interview, asked about the companys status as a Web video facilitator for ad agencies and the state of the on-line streaming business circa late 2005.

First, you might want to take a look at ViewStarts videos, located at

DMN: If I have some ideas for interactivity using Flash, do your people actually help implement the ideas and do any of the art work, or do you do more of the technical aspects of it?

Sakkestad: Its both. We have creative campaign management, creative developers in-house. So weve done a lot of cool things involving interactivity, video games, the creative aspects, anything to make it look sexy. We do it all. Ultimately, its based on the brief from the clients. Some clients just want us to do the transformation of the video itself and they do the rest. Other clients want us to create all the sexiness surrounding it as well.

DMN: Some of them want a full-service package where they give you the idea and then you can just put it on the Web for them and make it happen, right?

Sakkestad: Yes, we can give them the finished product and they can put it on their server to host it, or we can host it. We can do both. Regardless of who hosts it, we can work from concept to develop it all is a full-service solution, or we can just say this piece of the concept is for ViewStart, and that is the video transformation and only that, and thats what we do. So, its market- and client-driven, but we have the capabilities to do both.

DMN: You work with this technology every day, and from where I sit, this looks like it is so much better for an advertiser than buying a TV spot. Theres interactivity, theres a whole new range of ways to reach the consumer. Do you think this technology will allow Web advertising to surpass television advertising? Do you think this is the new way to advertise?

Sakkestad: I think its not about either/or, its about integration. Its about how to integrate the online with the off-line in order to get the most mileage out of both of those media combined. What the market here is ultimately looking for is to get the most efficiency out of the dollars they spend, and theyre leaving a huge untapped potential out there if theyre not able to utilize the Internet effectively. So what we do is provide a solution for a high-impact premium presence online that I dont think is ever going to be a substitute for, or replace, TV?TV is always going to be there, its more about how the two can live together and really expand the market, in a sense.

DMN: Are most of the projects that you do on the Web appearing as a page by themselves or are they sometimes included on the front page of a Web site of, for example, the New York Times or Yahoo or something like that where the video starts playing as part of another page?

Sakkestad: We can do in-page. We have no limitation as to what we can do, its more client-driven.

DMN: Are your clients more interested in doing in-page, or are they interested in developing their own Web sites using this technology?

Sakkestad: From an advertising standpoint, its in-page. We have some corporate clients, too, were they will use it on their own Web site. 

DMN: This sounds like a great service youre running here. I think theres going to be a lot of demand for it. Seems to me like advertisers are getting a little concerned that viewers have things like TiVo, where they can just skip right over the TV ads. Maybe this is a better way to reach a more targeted audience.

Sakkestad: One of the things I like about the Internet is its intimacy. Its just you and your screen, one-on-one. If you have something big and impactful and with the right quality, and if its not intrusive to the user, thats entertaining and engaging and enhancing the user experience, then it adds value to the Yahoos of the world. I think it could definitely be, and it is, growing, and you can see that in terms of the dollars going online. Over time, it will be even more so. I wouldnt see it as either/or. I think TV is always going to be there and to some extent theres going to be a lot of innovation there with TiVos and what have you. But they can live one-on-one with the Internet, because typically youre not watching TV when youre on the Internet. And, if you look at a day in the life of the consumer, and media consumption cycles, there are certain timeslots where you watch TV and certain timeslots when you dont, and my guess is if youre not watching TV and youre doing something work-related, youre probably on your computer. That is the timeslot thats open for an advertiser to grab the attention of the consumer. Why wouldnt you want the best possible way to do that? And thats our simple proposition. We have a premium way to reach those people.

DMN: Now youve piqued my curiosity by mentioning the word growth, and I was wondering if you had an estimate of how much online advertising has grown, and what sort of growth you see the future?

Sakkestad: I am basing my estimates on two things. One is what Im seeing and hearing on the market every day, where big clients are driving their agencies, challenging them to come up with online solutions. So thats a leading indicator, because the money will follow after that. And, if you look at Jupiter Research and the like, last year online was $7-$8 billion and will pass $12 billion this year and will be $18 to $19 billion by 2009 -- its growing its overall share of the marketplace. Its relatively small in terms of percentage, I think its 6 or 7% or so if you look at the total market, but thats still growing this year and its an indication of where money is shifting from one place to another. Theres a huge volume of money changing hands, and even though the online share is not that high, were still talking billions and billions of dollars. We think rich media will be the center of where most of the growth will be, and we think video will be the center of rich media. So therefore, video will drive the growth as far as the application of that. Were firmly convinced that will be the case, and therefore thats our strategy, too. We only focus on one thing, which is video, to ride the wave of the growth of the space. 

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Related Keywords:ViewStart, streaming video, Web page, quick start, larger size, Ole Sakkestad, Web video facilitator, ad agencies, on-line streaming business


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