After the last month's "twitter-ization" of journalism, I think we can put to rest any doubts that mobile multimedia is the contemporary counterpart of the printing press. Just as Martin Luther's “95 Theses” revealed the power of Gutenberg's new invention to medieval Europeans, an army of Iranian citizen-journalists have demonstrated the power of IP communications to the entire 21st century world.
Impressive as the grass-roots journalism has been, imagine what could have been done with "virtual" mobile TV stations that could be created instantly, at will, and operated from a Web browser anywhere. Imagine if those citizen-journalists could broadcast live from their mobile phones, instead of loading videos to YouTube after the fact.
That's what Vidiator's Xazzy service is all about. The on-demand service offers an end-to-end video streaming solution for small to midsized mobile video and TV services. That includes content providers, marketing agencies, online publishers, regional TV and radio broadcasters, local governments and non-profits, and professionals the company describes as "pro-sumers." Subscriptions start at $100/month for 10,000 minutes of video.
Built on Vidiator's Xenon multimedia encoding and streaming platform, Xazzy includes mobile video transcoding, on-demand and live streaming, mobile site hosting, handset detection, user authentication, quality optimization, SMS campaigns, ad insertion, content protection, subscriber management and reporting.
Later this year, Vidiator will roll out phone-casting — live broadcasting from a mobile phone with two-way interaction via integrated SMS. The company is in talks with news producers who want to deploy phone-casting for their professional reporters. Vidiator also offers a personal broadcasting service, XeeMe, tailored for user-generated content.
Vidiator Technology got its start in 2003. "The UK was giving out 3G licenses, and we saw an opportunity to stream video over a 3G network," says Vidiator CEO Connie Wong. "While there were companies with [platforms for] streaming IP; mobile is very different from IP. So we designed our platform with mobile in mind and designed an engine for playing video on the handset, which is moving and has much lower power than the TV set in your house."
Broadcasting-as-a-service is a huge opportunity, according to Wong. "We are enabling people that don't have the technical resources — education, local governments and TV stations, content creators — to build services, affordably, that stream to mobile and the Internet. They can broadcast live video channels over the video network or narrowcast to family, friends and local communities. Everything is already configured and integrated, so users can develop new services easily in a few days or weeks."
Wong doesn't see this as competition for carriers and broadcasters. "Mobile operators are dealing with mass-media channels," she explains. "They're not going to carry the high school baseball game so I can watch it on the road. This is niche content, not mass media, and Xazzy opens up opportunities for monetizing this content."