EMI Music Canada amps up online video transmissions

EMI Music Canada newsletter subscribers can now view music videos almost two times faster than before, thanks to streaming technology the record label is using from a California-based company.

Itiva Digital Media’s Qmesh network provides a much higher Internet quality service at one-third of the cost of traditional video streaming services, the companies said.

“It’s like the difference between radio and TV in HD,” said Rob Brooks, vice-president of marketing at EMI Music Canada. “It’s raising the bar on the way you stream the video on the Internet.”

EMI Music Canada has been offering music videos for free on its newsletter and Web site EMIssion-online.com for a few years. Up until a couple of months ago, its 30,000 subscribers could only view videos in Flash format, which screens at 300 kbps. Now they can view videos at speeds between 500 and 700 kbps.

To boost the video performance, Itiva developed a universal Adobe Flash Player in .Net, which is delivered to the end user via its client called Quantum Transport. Subscribers can download Quantum Transport for free on Itiva’s Web site so they can view the videos at 500 Kbps. Itiva’s software breaks down the video data into small pieces that can be classified as cacheable Web objects. When the viewer clicks on the video, the objects are sent over the viewer’s computer and reassembled by Quantum Transport as the original file.

“The beauty of doing this is because those Web objects are cacheable, they are redistributed throughout the Internet by proxy servers,” said Michel Billard, CEO of Itiva. “That’s how we get the multi-cast effect, which allows customers to reach larger audiences.”

Itiva is currently working on converting the client to a native format that will be compatible with Mac OS X.

Billard said the ability to offer this type of service, “opens up new doors in the use of the Internet,” and, “enables a shift in customer behaviour,” allowing people to watch what they want, when they want.

Brooks said the fact that EMI Music Canada is offering a high-speed video streaming service has nothing to do with popular social networking sites that have exploded on the Internet in the past year.

“This has nothing to do with YouTube,” he said. “We’ve been doing it for a few years. This is a service to offer better quality.”

But Billard said sites like YouTube are creating demand for this type of service. While he believes Itiva’s technology is more suited for popular content, he’s got his eye on YouTube and other video sharing sites like it.

“I don’t know what the spread is for video sharing such as YouTube,” he said. “But I have to believe that some of the videos are very popular.”

Billard, however, said Itiva is in discussions with major TV broadcast networks in New York.

“Big broadcasters would like to promote more content on the Internet,” he said, adding that it’s a bit of a challenge right now because not many people, excluding EMI Music Canada, are using Itiva’s technology. “People can see it working and its lower risk to jump on the bandwagon.”

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