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Save money to make money.

Sometimes, the best way to make money is to save money. This timeworn sentiment may be boring into the go-go world of digital media. But savvy investors may want to keep this idea of thriftiness in mind even as Streaming Media devotes this entire issue to the topic of monetizing online video.

Sure, it's great to see a creative market developing new digital media products that encourage companies to spend advertising budgets and convince consumers to open their wallets to watch the content they want online. After all, the dream of creating huge new markets fueled the entire internet boom that dominated the second half of the 1990s.

I'm not suggesting that anyone overlook the potentially transformative impact that online video can have on the media landscape. There's huge money-making potential there.

But even more lucrative opportunities may await those who look beyond the idea of treating online video as a medium and, instead, think about it as an element of the online experience that can enhance a range of potential applications.

Integrating online video into web conferences, for instance, enhances business communications. Creating marketing content, such as customer seminars and product launch events, can help companies deliver key promotional messages to wider audiences. And employee training can be handled more effectively than ever before with the implementation of online video.

The common thread to all these applications is that they help companies save money. Reduced travel expenses, more efficient marketing, and improved employee productivity all translate into bottom-line savings for business.

Many corporate executives have already made the mental link between the implementation of web technologies and enhanced operating efficiencies. In a survey of 1,212 executives conducted by Interactive Media Strategies in 2Q 2008, respondents were asked to agree or disagree with the statement that "expanded use of web communications technology can help my organization improve productivity and operate more efficiently."

Twenty-nine percent of overall respondents say they strongly agree with the idea that web technologies enhance business efficiency. Another 55% say they "somewhat agree" with the statement. Essentially, more than 80% of the survey respondents agree to some extent that web applications can enhance efficiency.

And those positive perceptions of internet technology are only enhanced among organizations that deploy online multimedia on a frequent basis. At companies that deploy more than 100 online events per year that integrate online multimedia, 52% of respondents say they strongly agree with the idea that expanded use of web technologies can enhance business efficiencies. Another 42% "somewhat agree" with the thought that expanded internet technology implementation enhances productivity.

In contrast, at companies that do not deploy online multimedia, only 13% of respondents "strongly agree" with the efficiency statement with another 47% responding that they "somewhat agree" that web technologies can enhance efficiency.

The bottom line is that executives who use a lot of online video view it as a venue for increasing productivity. For years, vendors of business webcasting technology have worked to highlight the benefits of online video that extend beyond the basic cost savings associated with implementing the technology. Much to their chagrin, would-be buyers typically would break out their spreadsheets and measure the financial impact that online video deployment would have on their organizations before making that final purchase commitment.

Online video allows more employees to communicate in meetings with far-flung colleagues in a more engaging manner than is possible with traditional teleconferences. Marketers can convey promotional messages with greater impact to more targeted prospects than they can in distributing traditional marketing documents. And corporate trainers can reach more employees and provide more hours of instruction at lower costs than possible in traditional training environments.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

More power to you if you want to focus on the media side of online video, squeezing out a few pennies of extra advertising or subscription revenue from each stream that is served. While you're doing that, the companies that sell business webcasting technology will continue plucking dollars out of the air by crafting online video solutions that create true value in the market.

Call me a fool. But, for my money, that sounds like a pretty solid recipe for riding out a global recession.

Steve Vonder Haar (svonder@interactivemediastrategies.com) is research director of market research firm Interactive Media Strategies.

Comments? Email us at letters@streamingmedia.com, or check the masthead for other ways to contact us.
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Title Annotation:Eyes on the Enterprise
Author:Haar, Steve Vonder
Publication:Streaming Media
Date:Apr 1, 2009
Words:727
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