Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Web video provider Brightcove, was the keynote speaker at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Enterprise Forum's Brave New Web conference. He said the Internet is rapidly moving from a "text Web" to a "video Web," spurred by the dropping costs of producing and hosting video.
Allaire said high-quality professional video content is going online as media companies develop strategies to use the Web as distribution medium.
video quality is about to reach TV quality.
"We're right on the verge of an inflection point where the quality (of Web video) will reach TV quality and the user interface will become a TV-like immersive experience," Allaire said. "We're likely to see a flood of quality video on the Web that the rights holders have allowed to go online. Within two years, it will be a bigger category."
Unlike traditional entertainment media, however, end-user participation should be a big part of any online media strategy, Allaire said.
Brightcove is developing several "social media" additions to work with its video hosting and distribution system. The new features will allow viewers to a submit content and integrate with chat software to allow people to discuss videos online, Allaire said.
But despite the explosion of so-called user generated content made famous on video-sharing sites like YouTube, many of the business models for online media are immature, according to a panel on the media industry at the conference.
Alex Laats, CEO of audio and video search company Podzinger said that online content needs to be searchable and categorized into channels. Once that happens, online media will be more appealing to both consumers and advertisers.
"User-generated content is only important if it's an aggregated community because in the aggregate, I can build business models around it," Laats said. "If you can sort content into channels of media, you'd have more growth of online media."
In addition, the advertising industry, which spends billions of dollars per year on television advertising, is very conservative and resistant to try things that are not measured and quantifiable, said Laurie Baird, director of technology partnerships for Turner Broadcasting System.
Niche audiences are developing around the Web where people can share videos and podcasts. That has led to a fragmentation of the media industry, more accustomed to dealing with the mass market.
"Everyone is an expert on something--I really truly believe that. This is given us a whole new level distribution," said Jose Castillo, president of ThinkJose, a consultant on online media and communities.
Right now, traditional media companies are experimenting with media that combines both professional and nonprofessional material.
For example, Baird said that two weeks ago Turner Broadcasting launched a site called Super Deluxe, which is dedicated to comedy. The idea is to appeal to a niche audience of comedians and comedy fans, allowing people to submit videos and to rate videos.
"It's a cross between Comedy Central and YouTube," she said. "For Turner it's a product that ultimately will be launched on video-on-demand, mobile devices, and a bunch of platforms."