Streaming Media 100: The One Hundred Companies that Matter Most in Online Video
It's the first annual Streaming Media 100, Streaming Media magazine's editors' picks for the 100 companies that have the greatest impact on the streaming media industry.
When we set out to select the inaugural Streaming Media 100, our goal was simple: create a list of the most important companies in online video. Actually creating that list was, of course, anything but simple.
We began with a list of nearly 200 companies, from all points in the online video ecosystem — from the record button on a video camera to the play button on the viewing device, and everything in between. Still, as you might expect from a publication that is at least in part a trade magazine, the list is heaviest on companies in the middle of that continuum and lightest on the companies on either end.
We considered developing a list of empirically verifiable criteria against which to evaluate each company, but then we realized that was a fool’s errand. While it might ensure against criticism, it wouldn’t in and of itself give the list any more value than what we ended up doing, which was to ask 10 industry experts — all regular contributors to Streaming Media — to provide us with a list of nominees to which we would all assign a value of 0 to 5; 0 being “doesn’t belong on the list at all” and 5 being “the list would be suspect without it.” Then we averaged all the judges’ scores for our final ranking. (In case you’re wondering, only one company — YouTube — scored a perfect 5.)
We wanted to create a list that would be both representative and thought-provoking, which means that hopefully you’ll respond to entries with “huh?” at least as often as you respond with "duh.” That doesn’t mean we included all the left-field suggestions from our judges. For instance, TED.com’s successful video offering—the pricey, some even say elitist, conference puts videos of every one of its inspiring talks online, for free — could teach a few of the larger social video sharing sites a few things about how to lay out content, says Streaming Media contributing editor Jose Castillo. In the end, though, TED didn’t make the cut, simply because its impact on online video hasn’t been felt as deeply as perhaps it should have been.
Does that mean we only included companies that have had an undeniable impact on the industry? Not necessarily. At least one small company made the final cut simply because it has not only survived but thrived for 13 years, through not one but two tech bubbles, growing slowly but surely, not via venture capital but internal reinvestment, based not in Silicon Valley, New York, or Hollywood but in Detroit. PowerStream may not have the most customers, and it didn’t invent any groundbreaking technology, but it deserves recognition nonetheless.
So if any of the companies in the first annual Streaming Media 100 have you scratching your head, take the time to do a little research and find out what they’re all about. You just might be surprised.