Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak with two Cisco executives about the company's latest update to its VNI research, which is one of the acknowledged indicators of what is happening on broadband networks.
Thomas Barnett, the company's senior manager of service provider marketing, and Arielle Sumits, its lead analyst for VNI Research, told me that video has unseated peer-to-peer in percentage growth and, in general, video is very hot:
Peer-to-peer still is formidable. It is now getting much greater competition from other apps, including video. Again, video is a very diverse application that is hard to pinpoint. You've got streaming video, Internet TV, video from video games, video downloads-lots of different types of video. It also is in peer-to-peer. Just to be clear, peer-to-peer is not falling off the map. It's still increasing, just not as quickly as these other application categories.
Observers, both close and casual, have the same feeling: Online video is growing. But a look at the news suggests just how constant and pervasive the movement to online video is.
Some examples: This week, Facebook and Livestream introduced a tool that enables live video on the social network's user pages. InformationWeek has the details. Suffice it to say that this potentially will lead to a tremendous upsurge in video traffic from both individual users and companies using Facebook as a marketing and sales tool.
Another bandwidth-chewing new service was announced this week by Verizon. The company said that its FiOS TV customers will be able to use the Flex View to send video programming, which to this point was sent over fiber, to mobile devices. The service will enable the download of programming-starting with 1,400 titles now and growing to 6,000 by end of next year-into devices for replay later. Whether or not the device is online when the content is used, it certainly uses bandwidth for its initial delivery.
Finally, the National Hockey League said that its NHL GameCenter Live content now will be available on Roku, Boxee and PlayStation3. The story at the Twice site describes the parameter of the arrangements.
The point is that none of these three-arguably, with the exception of the Facebook deal-is front page news. Increasingly, smart marketers are creatively harnessing the new technologies and platforms. The opportunities for them essentially are limitless. On one hand, there only are so many consumers of online video and they to some extent are robbing Peter to pay Paul, and use of one of the newer services will mean that an existing one isn't being utilized.
In the bigger picture, however, it is not a zero sum game: Each new service pushes the envelope a bit further and creates new users-who will build demand for that service. They also will seek out and use others once they find out how much they like online video.