While it's easy to fixate on how broadband video delivery is opening up new distribution opportunities for films and TV programming, there is also a ton of innovation happening well outside the professional video space.
I'm always keen to learn about entrepreneurs who are recognizing that broadband video can have a revolutionizing influence on sectors in which they're deeply familiar. A recent example to hit my radar is PlatformQ, which is harnessing broadband to create powerful virtual events in the higher education, energy and health care sectors.
PlatformQ sees itself as a digital media company in the sense that revenues will be derived from sponsorships; another way of thinking about them is as a next-generation, broadband-powered trade show company. I recently caught up with Robert Rosenbloom, CEO/Co-Founder (former VP Biz Dev/Co-Founder of iCongo) and Chris Charron, VP Product Management (former Group VP at Forrester Research) to learn more.
PlatformQ's first event, CollegeWeek Live, was held in November '07 and drew 15,000+ registrations and 100+ participating colleges. More than an aggregation of text/graphic info, CWL featured live, streamed keynotes from 8 admissions experts (originating from studios around the U.S.), 50 hours of live video chat sessions between actual students and prospective applicants, and thousands of hours of chat sessions. For this event, PlatformQ used Unisfair as the key underlying events technology, but it believes there a number of other alternatives for future shows depending on specific requirements.
The key to CWL is that it creates an informative and intimate user experience using broadband video to augment the traditional college search process. It's not just a win for prospective applicants. Bringing this appealing audience together is a magnet for all kinds of marketers, and thus CWL creates tons of sponsorship opportunities, many of which can be video-based as well.
In addition, all user behavior in CWL is tracked, so it is a great lead-gen source for the participating colleges and an opportunity for them to shoot their own video to showcase their school in new and innovative ways. Since CWL will be held at least semi-annually, schools can showcase timely events (e.g. football victories, winter scenes, etc.). Taken together, CWL opens up a whole new window for applicants into the overwhelming college selection process by using technologies (video, chat, social networking, etc.) that are already very familiar to them.
Next up for PlatformQ are virtual events in the energy and health care sectors, which the company believes are ripe for broadband video to also add new value. This seems like a great business model to me as it delivers strong value to all the target constituencies. It is also another terrific example of how broadband is stimulating new innovation in areas that traditionally had little or nothing to do with video. PlatformQ is based in Needham, MA and has done one angel round.