The problem of formats and compatibility has been part and parcel of Web video since the beginning. Video technology has continuously changed over the years, and the current rising star is HTML5 video.
While there are a lot of reasons to use HTML5 for video, the primary reason most publishers have moved toward it is mobile compatibility. I would argue that nothing has driven the industry adoption of (and investment in) HTML5 video faster than the rise of the iPad, as the iPad does not support the dominant Web video format, Flash. As the iPad makes huge strides toward becoming one of the primary content consumption devices, the need for content creators to be iPad-compatible has continued to grow.
For media companies, just getting content on the iPad isn’t enough. One of the major hurdles for adoption of new video technology is the growth of the business ecosystem around it. Content creators like local broadcasters depend on more than just video playback; being able to integrate your video with analytics, advertising partners and rich interactive websites is a fundamental part of being in the modern Web media business. HTML5 video got its first boost in 2010 with the launch of the iPad, but suffered from a lack of tools to integrate it into the video business ecosystem.
We first saw this concern in 2006 with the migration from Windows Media to Flash video. While Flash provided better-looking video that worked on more platforms, the tools and plug-ins that helped make Windows Media the dominant force in Web media and commerce were initially unavailable. Early adopters moved quickly, creating rich experiences that pushed the boundaries of the technology … but without tools to monetize or measure their video, businesses that derived revenue from their video followed more slowly, transitioning over a period of years.
While there are still some important issues to be resolved (browser compatibility, DRM capabilities and closed captioning among them), the HTML5 video ecosystem is reaching that critical mass in 2012, with dozens of vendors now supporting HTML5. Our partners at Kaltura have been an important part of this, fostering the development community at HTML5video.org.
One of IB’s 2012 goals is working with Kaltura to build great HTML5 video monetization tools for our clients, supporting mobile websites as well as app-based video viewing. As video consumption trends change, advertising revenue will follow the viewers to whatever device they choose - and it will be crucial for local media to be there, too.
Questions about HTML5 Video, let me know at email@example.com.
Technical Product Manager