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Webcasting and the F..

  1. 1. 1 Webcasting and the Future of the Broadcasting Business By Louisa Ha, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Telecommunications Bowling Green State University 108 West Hall Bowling Green, Ohio 43403 Telephone: (419) 372-9103 Fax: (419) 372-9449 E-mail: louisah@bgnet.bgsu.edu An essay for publication in The Internet Encyclopedia
  2. 2. 2 Webcasting and the Future of the Broadcasting Business, Louisa Ha, Ph.D., Bowling Green State University OUTLINE 1.1 Introduction 1-1-1Definition of Webcasting 1-1-2 Why Webcasting is Used and Significance of Webcasting in the Internet and E- Commerce World 2-1 Examples of Webcasting 2-2 Types of Webcasts 2-2-1 Push 2-2-2 On-demand 2-2-3 Streaming 2-3 Technical Standards and Protocols of Webcasting 2-3-1 IETF Standards 2-3-2 ISO Standards 2-3-3 ITU Standards 2-3-4 World Wide Web Consortium Standards 2-3-5 Proprietary Protocols 2-4 State of of Radio Webcasting 2-5 State of TV Webcasting 2-6 Major players in the Webcasting Industry
  3. 3. 3 2-7 Problems and Issues in Webcasting 2-7-1 Copyright and Licence fee 2-7-2 Competition for Audience with Offline Media 2-7-3 Broadband Access and Speed in File Delivery 2-8 Regulatory Issues in Webcasting 3-1 Conclusion GLOSSARY FTP: The acronym of File Transfer Protocol. It is the Internet application of moving files across the Internet using the TCP/IP protocol. One can use FTP to upload a file to a computer server or download a file to a user’s local computer drive. Pull: The seeking out of information by the user. In webcasting, it refers to the user’s initiative to find information on the Web and pull them down to his browser or e-mail. Push: The delivery of information to the user by a company to the user’s computer on a regular basis. It ranges from simply sending the user regular e-mails to providing customized information in multi-media format based on either automatic intelligence agents to determine the users’ taste and preference or the users’ request. Real Time: The delivery of media content, data, audio or video at almost the same moment it originates on the Web. It is equivalent to a “live” broadcast on the computer screen. Repurpose: The media content management strategy of using the same text, audio, or graphics content again in other media channels by the copyright owner of the content. It is called repurpose because content created for one purpose (e.g., a TV newscast) can be used for another purpose (a webcast). The media content repurposed can be longer or
  4. 4. 4 shorter than the original content or exactly identical as the original content. The media content is still considered the same and under the protection of copyright law even though the distribution media have changed. RTP: The acronym for Real Time Transport Protocol. It is an Internet protocol that provides end-to-end transport functions suitable for applications transmitting real-time data for webcasting. Streaming: The technology of sending a continuous data signal through the Internet with special software. Streaming enables the user’s computer to decode a signal as soon as it is received and play it almost immediately in the correct order. ABSTRACT Webcasting is the delivery of media contents and any digital information in various formats such as e-mails, graphics, audio and video files on the World Wide Web to Internet users. There are three main types of webcasts: 1) Push, 2) On-Demand, 3) and Streaming. Webcasting provides services not only to general consumers but also for in-house business and business-to-business uses. Currently, several organizations are providing standards and protocols for webcasting. The major problems and issues in webcasting are the copyright and licence fee of media content in digital forms, the competition of audience with traditional offline media, the requirement of broadband access for consumers to fully enjoy the efficiency of webcasting. The U.S. is taking the lead in the webcasting market development by promoting private investment for universal Internet access. Europe is lagging behind in webcasting market development
  5. 5. 5 because of the charge per use rate structure of local phone service and the high price of leased lines and dedicated circuits. 1. INTRODUCTION 1-1 Definition of Webcasting Webcasting is the delivery of media contents and any digital information in various formats such as e-mails, graphics, audio and video files on the World Wide Web to Internet users. This definition of webcasting states the two characteristics of webcasting: 1) The recipients of webcasts must have Internet access to receive the content and the information. 2) The content of webcasts can range from simple text to rich media files with multimedia capabilities. Webcasting includes unicast which serves a multimedia file in real time to a single user and multicast which allows many users to receive the Internet data streams at the same time. Unicasting is when a file, say a presentation, is served to one user at a time. Multicasting allows the same file to be served to many different users at the same time with special software and hardware to be installed at different connections on the Internet. Cybercasting is synonymous to webcasting. Internet radio or Web radio, however, refers to one type of webcasting that uses a radio station format and provides primarily audio files.
  6. 6. 6 1-2 Why Webcasting is Used and Significance of Webcasting to the Internet and E- Commerce World Webcasting offers many benefits to individuals and organizations who need to disseminate information and content. It allows umlimited delivery via the Internet and targeted delivery to a limited audience via an intranet or an extranet or on a subscription basis on the Internet. The Internet allows instant delivery and the cost of webcasting is generally lower than other media. The interactivity of computer allows the personalization and customization of information to consumers with great ease. As an alternative content delivery medium, Webcasting is used by both established media, businesses, and other individuals who want to have a voice on certain issues and provide electronic media content to the public. To established media such as broadcast and cable TV networks, webcasting means opening the battlefront to another new medium against competitors and increasing the value of their media content. It also means less reliance on intermediaries such as cable system operators or local broadcast TV stations. To radio stations and broadcast TV stations which are basically local operations, webcasting means the disappearance of geographic coverage barriers and open themselves to a global audience. To newspapers and other print media, their provision of webcasting transforms themselves to a multimedia content provider. To business companies, webcasting opens new doors to how training is conducted and information is shared. Instead of restricting the training to a particular time at a particular location, employees can retrieve training materials such as demonstration videos and conference sessions at their own office or home at a convenient time to them. Meetings can be scheduled without a designated location and everyone in the company
  7. 7. 7 can participate. Customers and prospects can retrieve product demonstration videos, virtual company tours, and other interactive multimedia content about a company and its products or services at their fingertips. To individuals who would like to create their media content and establish their own voice in the society, webcasting is an ideal medium. Not only does it has no licence requirement for the content provider, the cost of distribution also is much lower than any traditional mass media, making the dissemination of media content for special interest and small audiences affordable. In addition, there is no censorship of media content on the Web (with the exception of some countries such as China) and the reach of the Internet can be global. Dissidents and minorities will find the Web as the best place to broadcast their own views which are suppressed by the mainstream media. For broadcast industry players, they have four strategic business revenue sources for webcasting: 1) Subscription and pay per service model which provides on-demand access to previously aired content; 2) Broadcast advertising sponsorship broadcast model which offers companion content to supplement current on-air programming and display advertising during the webcast; 3) The e-commerce model which sells products and complimentary items on the Web; 4) Syndication model which creates and distribute original digital media content to other webcasters. To provide free webcast to audiences, the media have to offer advertisers highly target audiences and cross-media promotional packages. Their participation in the webcasting business increases the leverage of their video content and infrastructure assets. Advertisers receive more value for their promotional budgets with both mass audience appeal and highly targeted individuals that
  8. 8. 8 can lead to direct, trackable sales. Viewers and end users are enriched with local or genre-based content that they can personalize to their own needs and preferences. 2. BODY 2.1 Examples of Webcasting American Broadcasting Company (ABC), one of the big three U.S. broadcast TV networks, is webcasting part of its news content on its ABCNEWS.com site. ABCNEWS.com distributes both daily TV news content and past ABC News coverage on the Web via Virage’s Internet Video Application Platform and Syndication managers. It indexes and publishes searchable video clips from Nightline, World News Tonight and SamDaonaldson@ABCNews.com on ABCNEWS.com. Its news clips are also distributed to affiliates, news agencies, schools and any other applicable web sites (Digital TV, 2001). A webcasting model based on the broadcast advertising sponsorship model is OurMaine.com. It is a collaborative effort between WPXT-TV of Portland, and Guilds Hollowell & Associates of Falmouth, which specializes in developing online communities. Visitors to the site can open streaming video clips with the news of the day. Some streaming content is picked up from other Fox Network affiliates to supplement locally produced materials. The station sends its video via FTP to its Web host. Page views at the site exceed 500,000 per month and the station supports the webcast through sponsorship from advertisers (Digital TV, 2001). WebFN is a financial news network. Its webcasting is also based on the broadcast model but work on syndication as the primary source of revenue. It is a joint venture
  9. 9. 9 between Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting and New York-based Bridge Information systems. Currently it streams 12 hours of live video and data each business day over the Web and also on two Midwest TV stations. Programs are produced for use simultaneously on the Web and on television. The WebFN.com web site also offers around-the-clock video on demand service. Its trademarked “Viewcaster” present a streaming video window, and below it a window with interactive charts and graphs that are updated according to the in-stream news content. It is presented in a “program wheel” format, rotating the featured segments at regular intervals during the hour plus five-program sector reports- “Markets in a Minute”, “CEO:FYI”, “Ask an Expert,” “Bull Session,” and “WebFN University.” It created a paperless newsroom as no scripts are printed out and the news are as fresh as it could be. WebFN is working on syndicating their content to other financial web sites such as Fidelity. They are also developing content partners in Eruope and Asia to soon offer a 4-hour live global webcast (Digital TV, 2001). 2-2 Types of Webcasting There are three types of webcasting based on the technology that webcasters use to deliver the content or information to the Internet audience : 1) Push, 2) On-demand, and 3) Streaming (Miles, 1998). Webcasting can be live or recorded and stored on the server for later retrieval and downloading by the users. Table 1 compares the three types of webcasting technologies. [Table 1 about here]
  10. 10. 10 2-2-1 Push Technology Push technologies are computer programs that deliver the media content or information to the audience’s computer screen automatically without specific request each time. The information may pop up as an alert on a person’s computer, a wallpaper or a screensaver on the computer screen, or as electronic program guides on TV screen, or other displays on mobile devices, or cellular phones. How the webcaster know what content to push to the computer screen of the consumers is based on some level of intelligence such as their needs, interests, and previous information requests or based on the affiliation or portal site registration such as Yahoo!. One of the earliest companies that successfully employ the push technology on the Internet for webcasting was Pointcast. Founded in 1992 to deliver news and other information over Internet connections, PointCast's flagship product PointCast Network sent customized news to users' desktops. PointCast Network was free and supported by advertising. To use it, one needed to download the PointCast client program, which was available from PointCast's web site and many other places. The user provides preferences for customized information which was delivered by Pointcast as screensavers. The company was now defunct and was acquired by EntryPoint in 1999. In late 2000 EntryPoint merged with Internet Financial Network Inc. to form InfoGate. Electronic mail software companies also widely use the push technology to disseminate information to their users. Software companies push product updates and download to the users such as the latest version of McAfee anti-virus programs, Eudora, CE software, Internet Explorer and Netscape to users. Audio, graphics, and web pages are sent automatically to the user’s e-mail boxes.
  11. 11. 11 Pull technologies use software to pull information for the consumer from the Internet. Consumers can set up their own selections, or the intelligent software agents can search out information that consumers would be interested in. Amazon.com, for example, has pull technologies that remembers the products consumers have purchased in the prior visits and pull information of similar products to the user in the next visit. The greatest benefits of using the push technologies is that consumers can download programs, receive news updates and interact with the webcaster in different formats such as audio, video, text, and graphics without actively searching for the information. It brings “intelligence and efficiency to the distribution of all kinds of information, giving webcasters more control over what users see and when.” (Miles, 1998). Push technologies provides effortless reception of materials with little consumer knowledge requirement and save consumers the time to find information on the Internet. The latest development in push technologies is to become more interactive and automatic. Webcasters increasingly provide information based on users’ past behavior and their response to previous information. Editors are seldom used to sort or filter content. Some inherent problems and questions surrounding the push technology is that how much information should be provided to the audience and the potential invasion of the Internet user’s privacy by pulling intelligence from users’ past choice and preferences without their explicit consent. 2-2-2 On-Demand On-demand webcasting refers to the webcasting of content based on the demand of the consumer at the time of use. Another term equivalent to on demand webcasting is downloading. The audience, instead of the webcaster, choose when and what to view, in
  12. 12. 12 on-demand webcasting. The webcast contents are pre-recorded and stored in a retrievable and downloadable format. The user uses a multimedia player to play the content such as Windows Media Player or Real Player. The term on-demand refers to the ability of the user to control the scheduling and appearance of the webcast. Some on- demand service that are currently available includes ExtraNetTV(http://www.extranettv.com/) which provides all sorts of video content on demand with an online store of over 3000 gift items, Spinner.com (http://www.spinner.com) which provides free downloadable music. In many on demand webcasts, additional features are provided such as instant reply; no waiting for rewind or fast forward during live events; interactive devices such as question and answer, chatrooms, product or service order forms, multiple camera angles, and zoom in and out of the picture. The greatest attraction of on demand webcasting is the convenience to the consumer and the ability to retrieve information or content that has been missed by the audience. Yahoo! (http://www.yahoo.com) and Ultimate TV (http://www.ultimatetv.com) provide listings of Internet only webcasts. 2-2-3 Streaming Streaming is the conversion of an audio or video signal from an analog format to a digital format and the compression of the digital files for transmission over the Internet. The content of webcasts using streaming technologies can either be live or on demand. In live webcasts, no only the signal is broadcast on the Internet, users can also intearact with the event as it is happening such as clicking on a car on the screen to view more details or change the color of the car. Usually we refer to the retransmission or repurposing of traditional broadcast content such as television and radio signals on the
  13. 13. 13 Web as streaming. But streaming is not limited to retransmission, it can also be original content transmission with an intent to reach the public. Webcasting using streaming technology can pick up viewers or listeners from areas around the world. Even very specialized interest programs can collect a sizeable audience in this way. The ability to squeeze the audio and video into a stream is the basis of streaming technologies. These technologies use software to compress the signals for transmission and decompress the signals for display on viewer’s screen in the correct order continuously so that viewers can view the content almost instantly. It is very important that the signals are reassembled in the correct order during the decompression process. Any gaps in between will make speech and video incomprehensible. For successful webcasting using streaming technology, the webcaster need to secure a powerful high speed server to deliver the signal and enough bandwidth to enable multiple users to view the program. Multicasting can be a method to save on bandwidth costs for webcasters. Multicasting is the ability to take one signal and send it to lots of people through a network or over the Internet. The one signal locates a device (e.g., a router) that sends the signal to a number of computers or television sets. It is much cheaper than unicasting, which assigns one stream to each viewer or listener. When multiple users log on to the site, the unicasting webcaster will need to send multiple streams that take up lots of bandwidth. Webcasting can also be differentiated into three levels based on the degree of sophistication webcasting technologies are being used during the webcast. An example of the use of low-end webcasting is pushing information by e-mails. E-mail campaigns
  14. 14. 14 are targeted at customers, suppliers, and business associates that have actually requested information is a proper use of the low-end webcasting to market products and build customer relations. The e-mails can include web page links, audio and video files. The unsolicited mass mailings via e-mails, usually called spams, are those that do not discriminate who the recipients are and are sent from an unknown source to the audience. The mid-range webcasting is the placing of video or audio content on a web site and providing customers and associates with 24 hours access to current event and information about the company’s products or services. The webcasting can be accompanied with features that enhance the video and audio experience. These features range from search engines or directories that help visitors to find specific information, to captioned and cued slides or diagrams that can be displayed along with the audio or video. High-end webcasting applications may be either push or streaming, or a combination of the two. High-end webcasting is similar to traditional broadcasting because of its expected large audience. Nonetheless, it differs from traditional broadcasting with its video library that is accessible on demand, 24 hours a day. Businesses use high-end webcasting to disseminate information to remote office locations or to reach prospective customers or investors. The entertainment industry is also using high-end webcasting to enhance the viewing experience with the so-called “enhanced TV” and also to generate additional revenue source with file downloading services and purchase of video content online. Webcasters will need to lease high speed telephone lines, satellite delivery or other ways to transmit the live webcast signal to the Internet connection. They also need to purchase sufficient bandwidth.
  15. 15. 15 Among the three types of webcasting, streaming and push are enjoying highest growth in business applications. On demand is still struggling for revenue. Not too many companies have a large enough library to provide a very attractive on demand webcasting service. Many on demand companies have been bought out by bigger companies or closed. The cable TV industry is putting high hopes on video on demand services and on demand webcast may have a tough time in competing with cable TV’s videos-on-demand which is shown on the regular TV screen. 2-3 Technical Standards and Protocols of Webcasting The Internet is a collection of computer networks that are interconnected and communicate with each other based on a common protocol called TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). Protocols define the way how one hardware or software component interacts with another with respect to specific functionality. Protocols become standards when every one uses them to enable communication across networks. The way that Internet standards are defined and agreed upon has been through agencies specialized in setting standards. The governing standards agency for the Internet is IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). Other organizations such as ITU (International Telecommunication Union), MPEG (Motion Pictures Expert Group) and W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) also create standards and their importance have become more important for the industry.
  16. 16. 16 2-3-1 IETF The IETF is an international association of network designers, operators, vendors and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet. Four webcasting standards have been adopted by IETF: 1) IP Multicast 2) ReSerVation Protocol (RSVP) 3) Real Time Transport Protocol (RTP) and Real-Time Control Protocol (RTCP) 4) Reliable Multicast Protocols IP Multicast IETF identified three ways to transmit from a source to multiple recipients on the Internet: 1) unicasting – point to point transmission, 2) broadcasting – one-to-all transmission, 3) IP multicasting – one copy is sent to a group address. Unlike unicasting, IP multicasting allows small or large amounts of digital information to be sent to large audiences. Only group members that should receive the webcasts will actually receive the programs and only one copy of the information is need to first reach a group address, then route to individual recipients to allow efficient delivery of digital information. ReSerVation Protocol (RSVP)
  17. 17. 17 To ensure the quality of the webcast which includes integrity, end-to-end predictability, and efficient bandwidth utilization of data transmission, it is necessary to to specify the minimum quality standard. RSVAP, The ReSerVation Protocol, is such kind of quality standards that enhances the current Internet architecture with support requests for a specific quality of service from the network for particular data streams or flows. It is designed to allocate network resources appropriately for the requirements of the data being sent. To optimize transmission for particular types of data such as audio and video, RSVP defines the network traffic class and is used to control both quality of service and resource management for unicast and multicast sessions. Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) and Real Time Control Protocol (RTCP) Because audio and video webcasts transmitted over the Internet can be lost or experience variable delays, RTP is a protocol intended to enable synchronization and recovery from loss or delays. RTP also defines a format for different audio and video encodings to promote interoperability among different computer platforms, operating systems, and application software products. By having specific data fields that contain time stamp and sequence information, the receiving computer can use these fields to reconstruct the time-specific properties of the RTP data streams. A related protocol is RTCP, which check the status of a webcast from time to time. Using the RTCP, sender and receiver reports are transmitted from time to time so that applications uing RTP can get RTCP reports on how well RTP data are being delivered. Reliable Multicast Protocols
  18. 18. 18 Reliable Multicast Protocols aim to offer 100 percent data integrity over a network when needed. Sometimes we don’t need complete data integrity such as watching a movie because human eyes and ears can tolerate and compensate minor loss or interference in sound and pictures. But for transmitting databases or software, no loss can be allowed and it is necessary to use software that is built in with a reliable multicast protocol. 2-3-2 ISO (The International Standards Organization) The ISO is a worldwide organization of national standards bodies from over 10 countries to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world. Its goals are to facilitate exchange of goods and services, and to develop international cooperation in intellectual, scientific, technological, and economic activities. MPEG (Motion Pictures Experts Group) is a group of people who met at ISO to generate standards for digital video and audio compression. MPEG audio compression standards comprise of three coding techniques: Layer-1 (MP1), Layer-2 (MP2), and Layer-3 (MP3). Each layer level is a higher compression ratio at equal audio quality. To reproduce CD quality audio, Layer-1 requires 384 Kbps, while Layer-3 only requires 112 Kbps. MP3 has now become the most popular standard for digital encoding and transmission of audio and video. 2-3-3 ITU (International Telecommunications Union) ITU (International Telecommunications Union) is an international organization where government and the private sector work together to coordinate global telecommunications network and services. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The ITU has played an important role in standardizing the video conference industry with
  19. 19. 19 the H.320 suite of audio/video compression standards. The ITU has also provided the standards for multipoint document conference with its H.323 standards which standardizes conferencing over packet-switched networks such as the Ethernet. It is also currently working on standards for electronic program guides (EPG) that will affect webcasting and the listing of webcast events on the Internet and television. The T120 standard contains a series of communication and application protocols that provide support for real-time, multi-point data communications. Over 100 webcast and streaming media suppliers such as Microsoft and Cisco Systems have already committed to implementing T120-based products. 2-3-4 World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Standards The W3C is an international industry consortium founded in 1994 to develop common protocols for the evolution of the Web. The current efforts of the consortium on synchronized multimedia and Extensible Markup Language (XML) are the most significant to the webcasting industry. The synchronized multimedia project is to establish standards that enable synchronization of different media (text, graphics, audio, video) so that the presentation can be shown in a coordinated way. As a result of the project, W3C proposed a new markup language for use on the Web called Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL). That language was designed to allow the easy mixing of simple media objects in different formats. The coding would use simple tags to designate elements on a web page. It will make people easier to design and add webcasting elements to their Web pages.
  20. 20. 20 XML is an advancement from HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) that has been the basis to build web pages. It is a much more flexible language than HTML and allows designers to define their own customized markup langugage, enabling the use of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) on the Web, which can define, identify and use the structure and content of documents. 2-3-5 Proprietary Protocols Apart from the standards-setting agencies, several webcasting protocols are proprietary to a software vendor but they are eventually submitted to the standards-setting agencies for consideration to become a common standard for the entire industry. Two such protocols are Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) and Advanced Streaming Format (ASF). Real-Time Streaming Protocol is developed jointly by Real Networks, Netscape Communications, and Columbia University. It is an application-level protocol for control over the delivery of data with real-time properties. It is designed so that delivery of both live data feeds and stored content can be brought under the control of the webcaster. RTSP has been submitted to the IETF for standards consideration. Advanced Streaming Format (ASF) is introduced by Microsoft to define the storage format for streaming media. ASF is an open standard file format in which multimedia content will be stored, streamed and presented by the tools, servers, and clients of multimedia vendors in the same file, instead of separate audio, text, graphic and video files. Microsoft has submitted ASF for standards consideration with the ISO and IETF.
  21. 21. 21 2-4 State of the Radio Webcasting Industry The radio stations are currently dominating the webcasting industry. A recent Arbitron/Edison study shows that nearly 57 million people in the U.S. have listened to online radio stations in 2000, tripling the audience size two years ago (Mcarsky, 2000). According to BRS Media’s study in April 2000, there were 9321 radio stations which have a web site, of which 5945 are U.S./Canadian radio stations. The top 10 features of radio web sites, according to Arbitron/Edison Media Research, are DJ info/pictures, community events, links to advertisers, cool links, station information, contest entry forms, program schedules, concert information , e-mail contact and station listening link (Gunzerath, 2000). According to Levi’s (2000) white paper presented to the NAB radio show, 37% of all radio stations offer streamed audio, and there are a growing number of Internet radio stations that only operate exclusively on the Web for Internet audiences. Because most web radio originates from terrestrial broadcast radio stations, the resulting web radio stations base their content much from their terrestrial broadcast with traditional radio program content. Lind and Medoff (1999)’s analysis of radio web sites’ content show that radio webcasters largely failed to utilize information and design features capable of attracting Internet users and their webcast content are primarily local in nature. Many sites were poorly maintained and show a lack of goals for their webcasts. 2-5 State of the Television Webcasting Industry Compared to the radio webcasting industry, the TV webcasting received much less attention from the press. Nitschke (1999) conducted a survey regarding TV stations’ Internet operations. About 70% maintain their own Internet operations with in-house
  22. 22. 22 staff. Among those 37 stations who answered the survey, about 30 percent have streaming media services providing audio and video files. Only 14% have chat rooms and 27% have listserver for e-mail broadcast. The revenue stream that most broadcast stations expect from their webcast is advertising (76%), barter (24%)and e-commerce (19%) are a distant second and third. Chan-Olmsted and Ha’s (2002) most recent survey of TV station managers show that customer relations management and collection of audience intelligence are the main goals for TV stations to establish their online presence. Advertising is viewed as the primary source of revenue for the webcast. Transferring their domination on television, the major national TV networks’ webcasts are the most popular among TV webcasts. CNN, MSNBC and CBS News are the forerunners in TV webcasts, according to the DFC Intelligence Research Study (Miles and Sakai, 2001). With the high demand of bandwidth for video streaming, it is no surprise that TV is lagging behind in webcasting than radio. 2-6 Major Players in the Webcasting Industry The Seattle-based software companies such as Microsoft and Real Networks are important players in the Webcasting industry. Microsoft’s Windows Media Player and Real Network’s Realplayer are the most frequently downloaded streaming video player. Microsoft has distributed more than 100 million copies of its Windows Media Player and Real Nerworks’ Real Player has more than 95 million unique users requesting the software. Real Networks shows its commitment to the webcasting business with its Real Broadcast Network service. Its all-digital Internet Broadcast Operations Center utilizes full bandwidth serial digital video for signal acquisition and distribution, allowing for the
  23. 23. 23 digital capture of video directly into RealVideo 8, without converting to an analog signal before the encoding process. Apple Quicktime, as a latecomer to the webcasting industry, is now the most popular multimedia player among people under 21 and 40 million copies have been downloaded in less than a year (Miles and Sakai, 2001). The International Webcasting Association (IWA) is the largest worldwide non- profit trade organization representing companies, organization and individuals active or interested in the delivery of multimedia (http://www.webcasters.org). The IWA is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and serve members throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia. 2-7 Problems and Issues 2-7-1 Cost of Digital Content and Copyright Issues The cost of digital content and copyright protection are currently the bigger issue concerning webcasters especially web radio that broadcast music on the Internet for their listeners. The report of the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) recognizes the sound recording and musical work performance rights of the sound recording industry and recommends that webcasters pay the high royalties charged by the sound recording companies. Specifically, webcasters have to pay for each performance by the number of listeners. The fees are $0.07 cents for simultaneous Internet retransmissions of over-the- air AM or FM radio broadcasts and $0.14 cents for each song title for all other Internet transmission. This rate is nearly 10 times higher than the rate suggested by webcasters and approximately 35 percent of the royalty fee requested by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Webcasting companies without an offline radio station will pay twice the rates of those who have offline radio stations. At the time of writing
  24. 24. 24 (May 13, 2002), the formal royalty rate set forth by CARP would be effective June 19, 2002. If the current rate recommendations hold, many webcasters, in particular the smaller independent Internet radio companies, will be unable to pay the royalties retroactive to the fall of 1998 and will likely file for bankruptcy or close. In a survey of readers of Streaming Magazine readers who mostly are webcasters and streaming technology suppliers, 80% of them think that the CARP suggested royalty rates will kill the Internet radio business (Jeffrey, 2002). Both the National Association of Broadcasters and the International Webcasting Association protest against the CARP recommendations and suggest the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to review relevant digital music issues and related proposals to amend the Copyright Act (International Webcasting Association, 2002). The International Webcasting Association has filed a request with the Copyright Office, Library of Congress, to participate in the Public Roundtable discussion concerning issues raised in the ongoing rulemaking to adopt requirements for record keeping held on May 10, 2002. Because of the ease to duplicate in identical quality as the original and to retrieve and store digital content on the Web, webcasters have to protect their own copyright for original content. The U.S. Congress enacted the the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995. This act only applies to digital audio retransmission and requires webcasters to obtain a performance licence from the owners of the sound recording rights. In addition, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), written in 1998 under the treaties by the United Nation’s agency World Intellectual Property Organization, provides for a simplified but statutory licensing system for digital performance of sound recordings on the Internet and via satellite. Its provisions include a
  25. 25. 25 programming restriction called the “Sound Recording Performance Complement.” (SRPC). The restriction includes no more than three songs from a particular album, no more than four songs by a particular artist and no more than three consecutively in a three-hour period and no advance song or artist playlist announcement may be published. The current controversy over the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel’s report and recommendation is a result of that Act. 2-7-2 Competition for Audience with Offline Media Although some have argued that webcasting serves a totally different type of audience from other traditional or offline media such as television and radio with its interactivity capabilities and niche programming, it is still a medium that competes for both advertising dollars and audiences to traditional media. The growth of webcasting will result in more audience fragmentation as thousands and thousands of webcasts are available on the Internet. Nevertheless, webcasting also brings in new audiences – audiences at work and audiences who are not served by niche programming or limited by local programming in the past. In order to win the competition for audience, both webcast media and other offline media have to work even harder to understand and discover unmet audience’s needs and provides the service that meets those needs. 2-7-3 Broadband Access and Speed of File Delivery Currently, about one-fifth of Internet users in the U.S. are broadband users (i.e., 21 million) during the month of November, 2001 according to Nielsen/Netratings. The increase in broadband use results in an increase in webcasting usage. Nielsen estimated that about 12.7 million broadband Internet surfers consumed streaming media content at
  26. 26. 26 home. The bandwidth requirement for large number of audiences in webcasting is also a big hurdle for many webcasters when the public Internet system is used. For example, when Madonna’s live concert in London was webcast in November 2000, nine million streams have been served to the Internet audience. MSN was the producer of the show and used the event to generate publicity. It did not pay Madonna the concert rights. Webcasting to a large audience is a high cost proposition even without the royalties. To webcasters, the more streams (web audience) they serve, the higher the cost to them because they have to pay for the bandwidth (Digital TV, 2001). To users without broadband access, viewing video is not only inefficient but a frustrated experience because the gaps between streaming data transmission created garbled and incomprehensive images and audio sounds. High broadband market penetration is a prerequisite for the growth in the use of webcasting. 2-8 Regulatory Issues Apart from copyright protection, there are several regulatory issues pertinent to webcasting include extension of the right of publicity online (state laws prohibiting the unauthorized taking of an individual’s name, likeness, voice or other elements and using them for commercial purposes). Invasion of privacy by the Internet’s ability to collect data and customize information. Libels in Bulletin boards and chat rooms. Freedom of speech on the Internet and censorship issues – The Communication Decency Act of 1996 was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and establish that the Internet enjoy the same First Amendment rights as other print media. Essentially, the access and cost to Internet service determines how many will be able to access webcasts. The U.S. is taking the lead in the webcasting market development by promoting private investment for
  27. 27. 27 universal Internet access. Europe is lagging behind in webcasting market development because of the charge per use rate structure of local phone service and the high price of leased lines and dedicated circuits. 3.1 CONCLUSION Webcasting is still an infant industry with many small entrepreneurs and big enterprises experimenting their way. A liberal regulatory climate and broadband Internet access adoption are key environmental factors to foster the growth of this industry. Either willingly or unwillingly, traditional broadcast media such as radio and television have participated in the brave new world of webcasting. Does webcasting pose a threat to traditional broadcast media or will its presence further strengthen the value of the traditional media? Media history repeatedly show that each medium will find its own niche and survive the threat of new media. Just as television was unable to displace radio, and radio was unable to displace newspapers, the Web will not replace the television or radio. Instead, audiences are given more choices with webcasting. Delivering of multimedia content is much easier with the different webcasting technologies and advancement in webcasting protocols. By integrating the latest technology on the Web and the traditional media content, broadcasters may find higher value in their media content and a much larger audience that they could not achieve without the Web. The interactive capability of the Web open the door for a variety of revenue streams for the most creative broadcasters/webcasters who best serve the needs of the consumers and know how to maximize the value of their content. CROSS-REFERENCES (BY EDITOR-IN-CHIEF)
  28. 28. 28 Table 1 Comparison of Three Types of Webcasting Technologies Push On-Demand Streaming Consumers’ Effort None/ High (must locate Moderate Automatic where the content is (must know the available and know webcast schedule) what content to ask for Business Model Advertising E-commerce , Advertising, pay per service/ Syndication subscription
  29. 29. 29 BIBLIOGRAPHY Chan-Olmsted, S. & Ha, L (2002). Internet business models of broadcasters. Paper presented to the Broadcast Education Association Conference in Las Vegas, NV, April 6, 2002. Digital TV (2001). Webcasting, February, 45-50. Electronic Media (2001). 2001-2002 Streaming media resource guide: Web entertainment networks. Available at http://www.emonline.com/special/entertain.htm (Date of access: August 16, 2001). Gunzerath, D. (2000). Radio and the Internet. Available at: http://www.nab.org/Research/topic.asp#INTERNET (Date of access: May 13, 2002). International Webcasting Association. Available at: http://www.webcasters.org/ (Date of access: April 17, 2002). Jeffrey, J. O. (2002). Will CARP kill Internet radio? Streaming Magazine, April 25-6. Levi, T. (2000, September 20). The adaptation of streaming media: Update 2000. Radio 2020: A sound vision of radio’s future. White paper presented at the annual NAB Radio Show, San Francisco, CA. Lind, R. A. & Medoff, N. (1999). Radio stations and the World Wide Web. Journal of Radio Studies, 6(2), 203-221. Mcarsky, T. (2000, September 21). Abritron/Edison media Internet study shows that consumers are ready for Webcast advertising. Available online: http://www.kcsa.com/newswire/-09j.asp/pr-num=44 (Date of access: March 10, 2002).
  30. 30. 30 Miles, P. (1998) Internet World Guide to webcasting: The complete guide to broadcasting on the Web. NY: John Wiley & Sons. Miles, P. & Sakai, D. (2001). Internet age broadcaster. Second Edition. Washington, D.C.: National Association of Broadcasters. Nitschke, A. (1999). Station Internet activities report. Available at: http://www.nab.org/ Research/Reports/TvstationInternetActivity.asp. (Date of access: May 10, 2002). Webopedia (2002). Webcasting. Available at: http://webopedia.com/TERM/w/webcasting.html (Date of access: November 9, 2001).