The Big Web Video Battle that Was

A small point here on the title of this article “Adobe & Microsoft: The Big Web Video Battle to Come”, which has been hanging in the aggregators over the weekend, and which doesn’t offer open comments.

Back in September 2007, the New York Times reported that “Microsoft’s share of total streaming video use is 85 percent… In the United States, video sent using Adobe’s Flash format accounted for 22 percent of all streaming video traffic in 2006.” I’m sure there are other stats to quote, but Windows Media workflow, from encoders to servers to CDNs to runtimes, was clearly the big dog.

And in September 2007 Microsoft released a new browser plugin for Windows Media video, named “Silverlight”, which brought back support for the most modern Apple computers, and which promised to increase video share even further.

Today, the New York Times and others generally agree that about 80% of web video comes from Flash. We’ve seen significant realtime video providers retool their entire backend to use Flash video workflows. And we’re on the brink of new innovations with interactivity, metadata support, cross-device support, and captured/generated integration (“Augmented Reality”, eg).

Just a few years ago, 80% of web video was in WMV. Today, 80% of web video is in SWF. Looks like something happened in the meantime…. ;-)

It’s always possible for changes to be reversed. But to really make a pitch on “The Big Web Video Battle to Come”, it seems like you’d first need to understand “The Big Web Video Battle that Was”. No blood, no gore… just a lot of consumers and publishers shifting their support to something which works better, for them.