Streaming Media Part 1


Statistics tell us that there are 5,000 new websites coming on-line everyday! Sadly, they all have one thing in common…they are all starting to look the same. Our company, pursuing its own marketing efforts, has the need to look at thousands of small business websites, and they seem to have the same ingredients: a few pictures, lots of text, and maybe an animated gif. With the web surfer becoming much more “web savvy” than he was a year ago, and with the baseline computer system being a 250mhz multi-media capable Pentium, users today are expecting not only information but an entertaining web experience as well.

RealNetworks, the pioneers of streaming audio and video over the web, tell us that 86% of web site visitors will stay to listen or to watch a streaming media presentation! They have had 65,000,000 downloads of their G2 player, and Media Metrixs reports that 15,000,000 people experience a streaming presentation every week. With these statistics, the time is now for small business to take the initiative and leap into these new web-marketing techniques.

Streaming Media is the current breakaway technology of the Internet. As the broadband technologies of cable, satellite, and fibre optics evolve, the full media experience on the Internet is not far away. The capability of sending audio, video, and other forms of multimedia 365/24/7 is revolutionizing the way people communicate with each other and is sending the advertising industry into a tizzy. A business can now put a half-hour audio presentation on its’ web site for one full year for less than the cost of an ad in their local Sunday newspaper!

Putting a streaming audio presentation on your web site is simple. Record your presentation on a high quality cassette tape and send it to an encoding company. (And who can better talk about your product or service than you can?) They will digitize your recording and optimize it for smooth and effective streaming performance. They will then send you back, usually via E-mail, web-ready files to be put on your web site. (Some companies will also offer you hosting services on their G2 servers; then it’s a simple process of adding one link to your site!) If you’re uncomfortable with doing your own recording, you can send your script; most encoding companies offer professional voice talent. This can add to the cost of your presentation, but some people prefer this to doing the recording themselves.

Utilizing streaming audio adds far more than just a personal touch to your web site – it sets you apart and gives your site a leg-up over your web based competition. With audio, you can highlight the uniqueness of your product or service and offer a more detailed explanation of features that could not be adequately described with text. This is also a welcome and appreciated service for the visually handicapped web surfer.

For those businesses that have content that they would like to keep private, such as inter-company announcements or bulletins, your encoding company should be able to password protect your presentation. If you have audio content for sale, such as motivational materials or training tools, your streaming audio provider can arrange to provide subscription services. It is even possible to make your audio presentation so that it cannot be copied or reproduced in any way.

For a long time, museums and other exhibitors have known that audio is a presentation tool that leaves a lasting impression. Now you can put the impact and power of audio on your web site for a very reasonable cost.

(As this article was being completed, it was announced that “…Microsoft’s WebTV will support RealNetworks newest streaming audio format, RealAudio G2.” WBC Imaging has adopted G2 technology for developing interactive streaming audio and video for the Internet. G2 technology utilizes RealAudio, RealVideo, RealPix, and RealText to achieve its’ high quality of sound and images.)

Author: Gina Hutchings
Copyright Lunar Media Inc
Chicago Web Design