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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mediasite Use Beyond the Classroom; Expect More from the "Engine"

We won't always plug our companies on this blog, but wanted to relay several notable events for Sonic Foundry's (SOFO, $0.71) Mediasite solution beyond the classroom:
  • Anyone watching the news last weekend (May 16-17th) couldn't help but hear about First Lady Michelle Obama's commencement speech at University of California Merced. The event was carried on television and streamed live via Webcast to more than 3,000 computers. The engine behind the Webcast was none other than Mediasite (link here).
  • We learned of another non-traditional event through Sonic Foundry's World of Webcast blog (link here): OfficeMax launched a new product line using the blog of a star from The Learning Channel's (TLC) show "Clean Sweep" (Peter Walsh). Rather than the usual video plus slides Mediasite format, they used an embedded video Mediasite player which looks quite slick (link here).
  • Public swine flu updates from a number of universities/organizations that use Mediasite - links available at World of Webcast.
In addition to these recent events, one of Sonic Foundry's largest event services customers, Autodesk (ADSK, $18.84) is leveraging a variety of Mediasite formats to position/share/sell content captured for Autodesk University (link here). Autodesk has three years of content captured with Mediasite (December 2008 Sonic press release with details here).

Many companies host user group and/or customer conferences each year. Most still use audio only Webcast formats (slightly lower cost), although some use Windows Media Player video plus separate, non-integrated, non-synchronized PDF/PPT files (example: Qualcomm's BREW conference - 2008 link here , QCOM $41.43). While we're biased, we've not only evaluated the competitive landscape, but also watched hundreds of Webcasts in recent years. Nothing we've seen holds a candle to Mediasite (*please let us know if you see or think otherwise). We believe any organization or business wishing to connect with interested parties would be remiss to not consider using Mediasite to capture sessions and make content available live and on-demand (free or fee-based).

We expect to see more and more embedded Mediasite players on the Web going forward as the Mediasite franchise grows. While the technology landscape can change quickly -- which keeps many investors out of tech altogether -- we view Mediasite as a utility that becomes part of the way organizations operate and entrenched in their hardware/software infrastructure.

A less-than-perfect but still relevant analogy might be the following: Mediasite is to Webcasting as a jet engine is to flying. Many companies no doubt tried to make jet engines through the decades, but only a handful emerged as market leaders (e.g. General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce). For Webcasting, Mediasite is increasingly the go-to platform with quality and reliability both immensely important since many customers (e.g. schools) use the system daily to capture and archive hundreds of hours of content.

Happy investing,

Jeffrey Walkenhorst

Disclosure: long SOFO.

© 2009 Jeffrey Walkenhorst
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