Dan Rayburn, Director, StreamingMedia.com
- 26th Oct 2003
your background, and that of your company?
got started with streaming media technology really
by accident. After a short time in the Air Force right
out of high school I worked for Apple Computers as
a certified system engineer. I was responsible for
going on-site to customers locations in NYC to repair
Apple based hardware that was under warranty by Appple.
At around the same time, in 1995 Apple sponsored an
event called the Macintosh Apple Music Festival which
was my first introduction to multimedia on the web.
The event consisted of about a dozen clubs in NYC
wired to archive music over a multi-day period to
the web. In 1996, with 14.4 modems prevalent and streaming
media technology from RealNetworks (then Progressive
Networks) capable of producing audio streaming in
near real time the event grew to nearly two dozen
wired clubs, broadcasting over 300 bands over a 5
day period. That was my first introduction with the
concept of delivering real-time content to users on
the web, one which we knew at the time was going to
be crucial in the way users received information.
1997, Apple bowed out as a sponsor and Intel became
the title technology sponsor and the event lasted
a few more years to where the 5 day event became a
company called Digital Club Network which took the
concept a step further and now broadcasts live music
from clubs all over the world round-the-clock.
leaving Apple, I co-founded in 1997 one of the industry's
first streaming media webcasting production companies,
Live On Line, later successfully acquired by Digital
Island for $70 million dollars in 2000. Live On Line
specialized in producing live webcasting on-site at
the concert venue. We worked with the labels, management
and entertainment portals to capture all of the audio
and video from the concert hall and deliver it to
the web. Around this time is when the music labels
were really getting into using streaming media technology
to help get awareness for artists on the web. Over
a year and a half period at Live On Line we broadcast
a few hundred bands from David Bowie to the Beastie
leaving Live On Line, I joined the Globix Corporation
forming their streaming media division and took the
services concept a step further to where we not only
did the production, but also the delivery of the content
via a global IP network. By this time we focused heavily
on enterprise based events in the US and Europe where
corporations used streaming media technology for training,
marketing and press events. Over a nearly 4 year period
at Globix, watching the company grow from 50 employees
to nearly 1,000 in under 2 years, the streaming group
broadcast events for enterprise, entertainment and
government sectors including A&E, ABC, Apple,
American Express, BMG, BP, CBS, Cisco, Elektra, Excite.com,
HBO, House Of Blues, ifilm, Indy 500, Intel, ITN,
Microsoft, MTV, Pepsi, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Qualcomm,
RealNetworks, SonicNet, Sony Music, Twentieth Century
Fox, United Nations, Viacom, VH1 and Warner Brothers
leaving Globix in 2002, I formed my own consulting
company where I advised companies in the streaming
media sector to as to their business models, strategy,
industry foresight, hardware and software products,
delivery methods and cutting edge technology solutions
in the US and abroad.
2003 I joined Streaming Media Inc. as Executive Vice
President responsible for the growth and direction
of the on-line, research and conference divisions.
Streaming Media Inc. is a diversified media company
responsible for serving and educating the streaming
media industry. Since 1998, Streaming Media Inc. has
been producing the number one website, www.streamingmedia.com
who's goal it is to educate those on the benefits
of streaming media technology. Streaming Media Inc.
also has a research division and I am the Conference
Chairman of the streaming media tradeshows we put
on twice a year in NY and CA.
in 2003, I re-entered the service provider space taking
a job with Mirror Image, (www.mirror-image.com)
a Boston based company who's streaming media services
division focuses on creating, managing, distributing
and tracking content for corporations. With the decline
of many services providers over the past 2 years,
and more demand for the services from enterprise organizations,
it was a natural time to get back into the space with
a company who packaged and delivered the services
is Streaming Media (for the "dummies")
simply, streaming media is a technology that allows
you to view audio and video in near real time over
the Internet. It is comprised of algorithims that
take huge audio and video files, compresses them,
and then transmit them over the Internet to where
the software player on your machine un-compresses
it. It is very different technology than say downloading
a media file where you would have to wait till 100%
of the file is downloaded and saved to your computer.
Streaming media allows you to begin to play the file
while the rest is being sent to you.
a video overview of how it all works and more information
for those new to the technology visit http://www.streamingmedia.com/whatisstreaming.asp
are your aims and objectives?
focus no matter who I am working with in the industry
is to educate those on the value of this technology
and help continue its adoption. I want to see streaming
media get to the point of where the technology is
not thought of when you use it. Just like the fax,
you use it because it works, it is a business tool,
you don't think about how the fax is getting from
one end to the other. Streaming media is beginning
to become seamless in that the technology is being
adopted in the enterprise, media and entertainment
verticals, for set top boxes, DVD recorders, and wireless
Media Inc. has been the go to place for all streaming
media information and my goal is to continue to provide
the resources the industry needs on adoption and growth
data and provide those who are using streaming the
business and technology knowledge to implement or
choose the right solutions. It is a never ending process.
Mirror Image, my goal is to provide corporations with
a valuable and tangible benefit to using streaming
media services on an out-sourced model. Keep the service
simple, package it well and provide them with all
the education they need for it to help them grow their
business, reduce their costs and communicate more
efficiently and effectively.
did you get your break?
never touched a computer till after high school I
give Apple a lot of the credit for designing products
way before anyone else that allowed you to do multimedia
type applications. With QuickTime, Apple was way ahead
of the industry back then. Also being in the right
place at the right time helped. And probably most
important was being able to work with such a talented
group of people who were just as excited waking up
and working with this technology each day as I was.
Having the vision is crucial but the people who put
it all together for you was the key in pulling it
advantages has streaming media given the Internet,
and particularly Internet broadcasters and publishers,
such as myself?
has allowed them to reach an audience that they could
never reach otherwise through terrestrial radio. The
technology now allows anyone to easily produce, manage
and distribute their own show and programming online.
Additionally, you can market to specific verticals
and niches to deliver content to specific users.
is the process involved when I potential client of
yours says, "I want to stream media"? -
just an example - like brainstorm, what are your aims
and objectives, budget, existing technologies, ideal
for starters why do they want to use it? What is the
business communication problem they have that they
are looking to solve. No money is worth spending on
anything if you do not have a way to justify your
ROI. Also, it depends what you are looking to do as
solutions like VOD and webcasting have completely
different requirements. For webcasting, you can read
my article entitled "Broadcasting Live Events:
What You Need To Know - Understanding The Basics"
websites and publications do you
lot. but the main ones are:
Google News on Digital and Streaming Media
Internet Acceleration Newsletter
StreamingMedia.com Discussion Lists
What form of streaming media
do you prefer, and why? eg - audio, video, real, wmp
people never believe me when I tell them, I don't
have a preference. Each one has it's own advantage/disadvantage
and as a general rule I like what works, is easy to
upgrade and troubleshoot, and provides support for
the most end users as possible. The format you choose
to put your content into, it not as big a factor as
it use to be.
are the "big 5" recording labels doing to
try to combat the power going back to the consumer,
via file sharing etc?
could rant on this all day but I'll only make a few
points. First, it's all about greed, it always has
been and always will be. Secondly, and most important,
the record labels need to remember one KEY point,
"THE CONSUMERS ARE YOUR CUSTOMER!". Listen
to them! You exist only because they give you their
money. If they want their music digitally, then figure
out a way to deliver it to them where both sides are
happy. Instead, you take the approach of trying to
shut down new distribution methods and technology
and then sue your customers at a time when you are
starving for new sales outlets. Also, the record labels
need to stop playing dumb and pretend like they are
all surprised by the digital music trend. Prices of
CD's have risen 16% since 1997 and new CD releases
have fallen 14% since 1999. (source WIRED
magazine October 2003) So labels as a whole are
putting out fewer selections of music, at higher costs.
And remember when they paid those fines for getting
together and price fixing CD's? You treat the customer
like they are idiots and in return you are losing
the battle. Case in point, how many artists have left
their labels completely to be able to distribute their
music on the Internet. Your losing artists and the
consumers so your approach is lets go out and try
to scare people and bring on a lot of lawsuits. How
about you take the millions of dollars you are spending
to sue people and use it to develop a legal digital
music distribution system. Ever hear of Apple
iTunes music store?
were the major milestones in the streaming media business?
have been so many. Looking at it from the bigger picture,
the technology went from delivering AM quality audio
to VHS quality in under 5 years. The technology has
and continues to grow faster then the business models
and adoption rates. The major milestones were Apple,
making a commitment to this technology for the long
run and investing all the dollars needed to put us
where we are now. Competition between those 3 have
led to the best technology advances within this industry.
have, and still are, the industry issues? - eg ROI,
who you talk to. Right now the buzz word is "enterprise."
Before the Internet bubble burst so many companies
were focused on selling into the media and entertainment
verticals and when those folks stopped buying services
and hardware because they had yet to create a successful
on-line model, streaming companies realized that they
needed to sell into the enterprise space where they
spend money for services that are valuable to their
business. Cost is also a factor as the prices for
these services is still all over the map. Bandwidth
is a dead issue, bandwidth and shipping bits is a
commodity. The Internet is overbuilt right now.
are the biggest misconceptions about streaming media
and web casting?
do not understand, including people in the industry,
that they are not "selling" streaming media.
Streaming media is a technology, and you build applications
and services on top of it.
people still talk about this technology as "new"
or "cutting-dege" which it isn't. Come 2004,
streaming media technology has been around for 10
biggest problem with any technology I feel is hype.
The biggest problem was that people were selling streaming
media services talking about the "technology"
and not the value. I don't care how good a technology
is, if you do not show the client the value it provides,
it is useless. Because so many streaming companies
were selling it based on technology alone, we still
have to get many corporations out of the thinking
that streaming media technology is just a "nice
to have", and not a "must have". We've
made a lot of progress but we still have to educate
more. EDUCATION IS THE KEY.
has kept you going from strength to strength, when
so many other folks fell over in the dot commer
many of those who fell over simply were trying to
make a quick grab at market share and were never really
building anything. Their business plan was to be bought
in 2 years and that's it. If you don't build something,
and add value, you may make it in the short-term if
market conditions are good, but if they aren't, you
die quickly. Greed ruined so many companies and still
continues to. Having a focused plan and sticking to
it even when others are not successful at it is the
key to building something. Studying what others did
wrong with their business models and service offerings
is key to realize how it can be improved to make it
successful. A down time is one of the best times to
be able to capitalize in a market because there are
usually fewer choices for the service or product you
are offering. Enjoying what you do and being in a
business because you love to do it I think is all
it takes. Being a smart, honest and focused business
CNN got the right idea with the Real One paid business
model? - are they cutting out too many
potential customers, or is it now a luxury service?
some regards yes. I think over time, people will pay
for content via the web, wireless, etc...that is important
to them or effects their life. But right now, so many
of those offerings focus on the technology and not
the content and service/value being offered. Also,
keep in mind for all the people who say how successful
they are with a subscription offering, they usually
don't release more than how many users they have,
and neglect to tell us what their 'costs" are.
Subscription models and the such on the Internet are
successful now but only in a limited form which will
change over time.
do you, and your clients, judge the success of a streaming
media conference, like an "internet world",
where you have 100's of exhibitors, but not much business
gets signed on the event day?
we don't judge any of the events we produce based
on the volume of exhibitors or exhibitors. Yes, we
want as many possible of both, but the majority of
what we focus on its the "quality" of the
attendees and exhibitors. Because if you focus on
the "quality" the quantity will come with
time. Additionally, we judge them based on the feedback
we get, the type of qualified leads exhibitors receive
and the quality of the conference and workshops we
produce. No show in any Internet vertical is like
it use to be two or three years ago, but those that
are focused and provide a valuable opportunity to
educate attendees on the technology and business issues
are your current projects?
lecturing and teaching:
motivates me more than anything is being able to work
with people who got into this for the same reason
I did back then, because you loved it. It was not
about money. There was no money in it when we started
but we did it because we saw the value and enjoyed
it. And I still wake up every day excited as to where
this is all going. I am motivated by knowing that
each person I educate and take the time to talk to
helps us all in the long run. Speaking motivates me
as there is no better feeling than having people come
to hear you speak and ask questions because they want
to know more, where as five years ago we had to go
bang on their door. Now they are banging on ours and
I feel we have the tremendous responsibility and ability
to educate them and take this to the next level.
is the best piece of advice you ever received on a
business and personal level?
question. Business wise: "no matter what industry
you are in, your reputation is all you have."
Personal level, "you cannot put business before
the things that are really important in life. It must
be the important things first and then business, or
at least both hand in hand."
dealings have you had with Australia?
little. I've dealt with some radio clients based there
and I take quite a lot of calls from Australia from
users of the streamingmedia.com website. But other
than that not too much. However I would love to get
involved with some companies there and am always reachable
do you do to relax?
as far away from the computer as possible. I live
for snowboarding and try to take as many trips as
possible to ride in places like Chile and Alaska.
I put in a lot of long hours but I make sure to remind
myself all the time that this is only a job, that's
all. I am always hearing from the older generation
how spoiled my generation is wanting everything now
and having anything on-demand and I agree.
technology will ever take the place of a good handshake.
note: This guys knows streaming media! If you want
to know more about it, ask him! Media Man Australia
looks forward to learning more about this technology
from Dan and his team.
Man Australia: Technology News
Man Australia: Multimedia