Flaunting the toys of high-tech video

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A factor other than content is drawing people to view online programming and that is the technology. Offerings include broadband connections, video streaming software, servers and satellites. As a result, technology companies are flaunting their wares in the New Media Pavilion at the National Association of Television Program Executives convention in New Orleans next week.


According to NATPE, there will be more than 60 new media exhibitors at the convention, compared to 30 last year. Of this, 29 companies will comprise the New Media Pavilion, filling its 7,000 sq. ft. space.

Communities.com will show how its rich media chat service, thepalace.com, is building virtual communities for CBS, World Wrestling Federation, A&E and shows such as Comedy Central's "South Park."

"We'll build it, host it, monetize it, and then share the revenue, not just advertising but in-world commerce placements," says VP-business development Bobby Napiltonia, adding that users spend more than three hours on average at thepalace sites.


The technology companies are hoping to reach a host of ad agencies by attending the show, says NATPE President-CEO Bruce Johansen. "It's a big opportunity for the advertising and interactive communities to better understand each other," he says.

Buyers, sellers and advertisers will have a host of technologies to sort through at NATPE.

Technology company e-Media adds commerce to broadband networks, and now handles more than 90,000 purchases per day, says CEO John Engel. Within a year, he predicts, broadband servers, which can connect at up to 30 times the speed available on analog modems, will be able to serve the same show to 5 million homes at once. "And that's what the WWF TV show scores on a Monday night," he says.


Applied Information Management plans to update its Harpoon application, which handles licensing and distribution of TV products for use on the Internet, says President David Isacowitz.

Although several different Internet video players are downloaded, only 25% of them are used with any regularity, says Peter Zaballos, director of systems marketing at RealNetworks. RealNetworks is trying to make finding Internet shows easier with its Take 5 and Real.com services, and is aiming to become the TV Guide and Yahoo!, respectively, of the broadband world, says Mr. Zaballos.

Sandra Kresch, strategy partner for PricewaterhouseCoopers, predicts that Internet video will not approach broadcast reach until 2003.

Part of the reason Internet video will not quickly take off despite the expansion of broadband capability, explains Gary Arlen, president of market research firm Arlen Communications, is because most Internet users will keep their analog modems for years. And who really wants to watch their favorite prime time shows at 56 kilobytes per second?

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