Looking For “How To” Technical Presenters At Streaming West Conference

sm-west-arowsThe general call for speakers is open for the Streaming Media West show, taking place Nov. 1-2 in Huntington Beach CA, and in particular, I’m working now on who the “how to” presenters will be and what topics they will focus on. How to presentations are usually done by a single presenter, are technical in nature, and shows the audience how to do something in a 45-60 minute slot. In the past we have had how to sessions on things like building a player; encoding tips and tricks; building a channel for streaming devices; encoding live video; etc.

I’m looking to add more in-depth, technical presentations to the conference program this year and am currently accepting all suggestions, ideas and submissions – from everyone. If there is a technical topic you think you can present, that is instructional in nature, and isn’t a pitch for a product/service, now is the time to contact me. Send me an email with your ideas ASAP.

Streaming Video Alliance Hires Jason Thibeault As Executive Director

SVA2As a board member of The Streaming Video Alliance (SVA), an industry forum composed of leading companies from the online video ecosystem, I’m excited to announce that we have hired Jason Thibeault as our first Executive Director. Jason joins the Streaming Video Alliance from Limelight Networks, where he held a number of marketing leadership roles.

The SVA has made some great progress over the past 18 months and now has 42 member companies involved, but the lack of an Executive Director was really keeping us from finalizing a lot of deliverables and executing on some of our plans. With Jason now dedicated to the new role, the SVA is poised to bring greater collaboration into an industry that has been fraught with extremely fast growth and little guidance.

Jason’s ultimate objectives in his new role are three fold. First, Jason will help the SVA produce materials (best practices, functional requirements, guidelines, standards, etc.) that will benefit the industry. Second, he plans to grow the SVA into a true cross-sectional representation of the industry, by engaging with everyone, from the biggest names in streaming to up-and-coming startups, and getting them all involved in the discussions that are driving development of the SVA’s products. Finally, Jason will act as an evangelist, working with analysts, press, conference organizers, and other industry forums to tell the SVA story. At the end of the day, Jason’s goal it to have people see the SVA as the lightning rod for the online video industry and that can only be accomplished through tangible output, growth, and awareness.

The association is hard at work on multiple working groups including QoE, Ad Insertion and Audience Measurement, Client Dev Framework, Encryption/Privacy, Geo Caching, Accessibility and Scaling amongst others. One of Jason’s first tasks will be to documenting for the industry all of the working groups the SVA has going, which new ones will be added, and how companies can get involved. If you have any questions on joining the alliance, please reach out to me at any time or contact Jason directly at jt@streamingvideoalliance.org

In addition to Jason’s new role, the SVA also announced the appointment of two new board members, Yves Boudreau, who is in the CTO group for TV and media technology strategy at Ericsson and Keith Zubchevich, Chief Strategy Officer at Conviva.

How I Pick Stories For My Blog, How Your Company Can Get More Exposure

I’m often asked by companies how I pick and choose what news I write about on the blog, which topics I am most interested in covering and how they can get more exposure within my editorial. That’s a great question to ask and while I have detailed this in a blog post before, it’s been a few years, so it’s a good time for me to answer the question again.

For starters, unlike many media folks and analysts who are annoyed by pitches, I’m not. You can contact me at any time via email or phone (917-523-4562) as I reply to every pitch I get. The topic you are pitching may not be a fit for what I cover, or I may not have enough expertise to write about it, but I will always reply. I know many others in the industry feel “annoyed” by all the pitches, or press releases they are sent, but I’m not. Any real analyst understands that is part of the job and they should welcome the pitches.

When it comes to covering news and stories, the sad fact is that I simply don’t have enough time in the day/week to cover all the news I want to. Unlike those whose only job is blogging, my blog is just one of the many full-time jobs I have. I still have to plan shows for StreamingMedia.com, do work as an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, answer all the inbound calls and email from content owners and vendors looking for help, make introductions to others, speak to other members of the media for their stories as work with VCs and those on Wall Street. So much news I see, or stories I want to write about, I simply never have the time to get to. I’m also not interested in doing a “me too” story. If you can read about it on another blog or news site, and I don’t have a different/unique angle to bring to it, simply re-hashing what others have said isn’t valuable. So I’m also always trying to cover topics that aren’t as mainstream, or things others may not have provided any business insight into.

So just because I didn’t cover your news, that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Case in point, I thought the news by Brightcove in April about their new OTT offering was very interesting, especially since they listed the cost for the service, which most never do. I planned to do a blog post about it, and yet two months later, it’s still on my to do list. Another one would be a story I need to do on IBM and just how big of a player they are going to be in this space, and I haven’t gotten to that one yet either. I also need to get posts up about Fastly, Netflix’s spend with AWS, Ooyala, CDN Pricing, NPAW, and highlights from a report on HEVC. There are many more like this, great stories that want to write, but I simply can get to all of them. I only have so many hours in the day/week that I can dedicate to writing. So if I don’t do a story about your news, don’t take it personal.

But what makes it easier for me to get a post online, it to send me some background in an email. I need more than just a press release, that’s a good start, but think of all the questions I am going to ask you about, that the press release does not answer. That’s the info I am looking for. Questions, comments, want to bounce ideas off me for stories, contact me anytime.

Verizon & Time Warner Cable Can’t Get 93 Year Old Grandmother’s Phone Working, No Way For Her To Get Help

[Updated June 15 6:13pm ET: Someone from Verizon’s Executive Relations Team called me 43 minutes after I published the post and has offered to find out the problem and get it solved.]

[Updated June 16 10:52am ET: Someone from Time Warner Cable called me to say they are looking into the problem.]

[Updated June 16 11:51am ET: Thanks to Charter’s CTO for calling me to make sure someone from TWC is following up.]

[Updated June 16 12:06pm ET: TWC has ported the number and it is now working.]

[Updated June 17 10:04am ET: Someone from the NY State Department of Public Service called and offered to step in and help if I needed it. If you have problems yourself, you can reach them at 800-342-3377.]

It’s a sad state of affairs when I have to write a public blog post in the hope that some negative backlash on Verizon and Time Warner Cable will make them fix a problem they should have properly taken care of weeks ago. Verizon turned off the phone to a 93-year-old woman before the number was ported to Time Warner Cable. Four weeks later, Time Warner Cable is saying that Verizon still has not re-activated the number so that Time Warner Cable can make the number work. Verizon says the number is active, but that Time Warner Cable isn’t putting in the order request properly to port the number. So you have a 93-year-old woman who has no phone, and no way for anyone to reach her or check in on her.

Making matters worse, for the past week Time Warner Cable has been telling me they are working to port the number, promising to have it working by Monday at 7pm, than Tuesday by 12pm, only to now say that they can’t port it at all, as the number is not active. So for a whole week, they have been telling me they are porting it, and now have changed their answer. So what have they been working on for a week? On top of Time Warner Cable setting wrong expectations, they also disconnected the temporary number they had set up, so there has been no working number in the house for over a week now. And if the number is active like Verizon says it is, why doesn’t it work? Well apparently, when Verizon says a number is “active” that doesn’t actually mean the number works and you can use it. To actually turn it back on, you have to speak to someone in repair, after it has been made “active”, but after speaking to repair, they couldn’t get the number turned back on either.

Of course I can’t see what is going on between the two companies to know what the actual problem is and both companies have told me they can’t call or speak to the other to resolve it. Verizon told me they have had these porting issues before, but they don’t have any responsibility to make it work since the number is being ported to another company. And Time Warner Cable said they don’t own the number, so they have no responsibility to make it work either, since they haven’t yet taken control of the number. Unfortunately, I am no stranger to porting issues and I know the two main reasons why numbers don’t get ported properly is because the account is not active or there is a block on the account. Verizon says neither is the case. Over the course of 10 hours now, I’ve spoken to more than six people at Verizon and Time Warner Cable, including supervisors, with no resolution in sight.

For all the talk by MSOs of the bells and whistles they are adding to their set top boxes, their mobile apps, or to their TVE services, the number one complaint as a whole by consumers is service and billing. Do any companies take pride in their work or service anymore? How can you leave the office for the day, knowing you haven’t fixed the problem, promising the customer a resolution, only to have the problem drag on week after week. Someone needs to hold companies accountable, this is completely unacceptable service. If the person in this house needed help, and it didn’t come because they had a non-working phone, and no way to call for help, can you imagine the trouble these companies would be in?

I’ll add one more MAJOR problem to the list. In all my calls with Time Warner Cable and Verizon, neither company once asked me to verify any account details other than the name and address on the account. Is that all it takes to be able to make changes to someone’s phone service? And since I was calling from a number other than the one listed on the account, you would think they would make me verify a lot more details. Since I am doing this on behalf of someone else, I have their birthdate, SSN and other info, so I could have verified I was authorized to make changes on the account. And yet at no time, by either company, was I asked to verify more than my name and address, when I wasn’t even calling from the home number. That’s scary. That shows you just how little some companies care about protecting our privacy.

Verizon, Time Warner Cable, fix this! I don’t care what time of day you have to call me (917-523-4562), this needs to be resolved.

Next NYC Streaming Media Meetup – Drinks & Networking, June 22nd

The next streaming media industry meetup will take place on Wednesday, June 22nd at Tavern 29 in NYC. Start time 6pm. www.tavern29.com – Network and drink for free. Thanks to PacTV and Kaltura for agreeing to help cover some of the bar tab.

If any other company is interested in sponsoring and picking up some of the bar tab, please let me know. Last time we had a great mix of execs from AOL, NFL, Showtime, NBC, NBA, Time, HBO, Viacom, CBS, Twitter, Google, Nielsen, Facebook, Brightcove, Elemental, Kaltura, NPAW, Ooyala, investors, wall street money managers…..and others.

We will be on the second floor, or on the roof. Just look for anyone with a gold wristband, they are with the group. Or call/text me at 917-523-4562 and I’ll find you. Last time, we were there until about 10pm.

There is no list at the door, you don’t have to RSVP to get in, I just ask for them in advance so I know how many might show up. This is open to everyone, so please share the invite. Pass it on!