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History of Multimedia Online

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By dnensign
Words 2894
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Ever wonder how YouTube came about? This paper will explain how and why multimedia is what it is today. How it started and how sites like Netflix and Hulu and other sites like these are thriving because of someone that wanted to use multimedia online.
I can honestly say I do not remember the first time I used or watched multimedia on the internet. When I was in high school the internet was still relatively new and we were still learning on DOS and on Windows. That was my eighth and ninth grade years back in 1997 and 1998 respectively. Those days are long gone and it’s much easier to get videos or other forms of multimedia onto your computer and onto the internet.
The term "multimedia" was first used in 1965 to describe a performance that combined music, lights, cinema, and performance art. In the history of multimedia development, technological advances have expanded the definition, and people have argued about how exactly the term should be used. Most people agree that the term multimedia should be used to describe a product that contains several types of media. For example, a multimedia website might feature text, graphics, and clickable sound files. ( I can see how people could argue about something like this but at the same time, I think the arguments are invalid. In my opinion, multimedia is just about any video. It has picture, sound, and most can be clickable for sound. With the advent of the Internet and its growing prominence as news, entertainment, and shopping destination, people skilled in computer multimedia are in great demand. Another growing sector is broadcast design. Broadcast designers come up with ideas for sets for television news programs and create motion graphics for television stations. These graphics might be used to introduce or end shows, to advertise upcoming network shows, or to introduce different segments of one show. The graphics are usually created using computer animation

software. Multimedia is also used in education. Multimedia designers create interactive computer software that adapts itself to students' needs. ( For these types of jobs you need to be creative. To design things that really catch an audience’s eye has to be pretty difficult.
YouTube is the most popular website online to upload and share videos. According to, people watch six billion hours of YouTube per month. ( That is almost an hour per person on Earth, that is amazing. I know myself and people I know watch around three to five hours of YouTube a month. YouTube was founded by three former PayPal employees, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. The idea was born at a dinner party in san Francisco about a year before the official launch. ( The first video that was uploaded was from one of the co-founders and was named “Me at the Zoo.” It was nineteen seconds long and of Jawed Karim standing in front of elephants talking about their trunks. ( By November of 2005, YouTube users were sending 8 terabytes of data flickering across the Internet everyday- the equivalent, Hurley noted, of the entire contents of a Blockbuster store. ( Then in the fall of 2006, Google bought $1.65 billion dollars in stock for the company. ( That right there is where I believe that the site really started to take off. If you have someone like Google behind you then you are doing well and are going to do well in the future. YouTube has had a little bit of legal trouble, in 2006 NBC asked YouTube to pull a clip from Saturday Night Live called "Lazy Sunday," which ended up attracting a lot of attention to the video-sharing site. YouTube complied and in October 2007, it launched its Content Verification Program to help content owners like NBC locate and remove video that infringes on their copyrights. ( Today, YouTube is doing pretty good for itself. They have tons of traffic on their site, ads that pop up during a video and even have pre ads, which play before the video that you want to watch. People have even started making money off of YouTube. All you need is a good idea for a “show” and keep posting and if people keep flocking to your videos then you get paid from the ads that are “on” your video or around it. This would be whole other research paper.
Another online video watching site is Netflix. Although the videos you watch on Netflix are movies and TV shows, its still videos and therefore multimedia. Netflix was founded in Scotts Valley, California, in August of 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, both veteran "new technology" entrepreneurs, to rent and sell DVDs over the Internet. Randolph had previously helped found a computer mail order company called MicroWarehouse and then served as vice-president of marketing for Borland International, while one-time math teacher Hastings had founded Pure Software, which he had recently sold for $700 million. Hastings, who supplied the firm's startup cash of $2.5 million, had reportedly hit upon the idea for rental-by-mail when he was forced to pay $40 in fines after returning an overdue videotape of the film Apollo 13. ( These two gentlemen were already very successful but one ridiculous late fee on a movie rental became Netflix. It’s one of those ideas that make you think about all the times you had to pay a late fee on a movie rental and think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” I know I’ve paid my fair share of late fees and now I really wish I could have thought of something this simple. Although in 1997, I was only thirteen but there are a bunch of teenagers that start companies and become successful. In late September of 1999, Netflix introduced a new service, the Marquee Program, which allowed members who paid $15.95 per month to pre-select four DVDs, with no late fees or due dates. Customers could also rent new discs each time they returned one and put themselves in a queue for checked-out titles in which they were interested, much as a library had an advance reservation system for popular books. CEO Hastings commented that the new program was possible because the company had achieved the economics of scale, with 10,000 orders processed each day by its own proprietary software system. Despite its growing popularity, for fiscal 1999 the company reported losses of $29.8 million on revenues of only $5 million. Like many Internet startups, Netflix was still spending heavily to entice customers to its Web site, betting that it would become profitable after the brand was better established. ( People were still in between abut DVDs and VHSs. I remember how expensive it was to get a new DVD player and my parents were all for sticking with the VHSs. Looking back, I understand why we didn’t because of money issues but now everyone can get a DVD player for $20. I didn’t really know much about Netflix until after 2003 when they had different subscription plans. They had one DVD, two DVDs, three DVDs, and four DVDs out at a time with unlimited DVDs a month. My wife at the time and I watched movies all the time and watched even more when our oldest son was old enough to watch movies as well. By 2005, Netflix was shipping 1,000,000 DVDs by mail per day and had over 35,000 titles to choose from. During the year, Netflix began developing recommendations to viewers based on their viewing habits and ratings. ( I can definitely say that I was a part of those one million DVDs per day. Watching movies has always been one of my favorite things to do and when I started using Netflix, I was in heaven because all I had to do was stop at the mailbox on the way home and grab my DVDs, watch them then put them back in the mail and do it all over again. The quick turnaround for getting new DVDs, I believe, is one of the many reasons why Netflix took off. In 2007, Netflix saw the future of the entertainment to be on demand content. As a result, they began offering streaming on demand videos for viewing from a PC or web-enabled device. Originally, Netflix did not charge extra for the service. The hope was to not only meet a new and growing market demand, but also to reduce its costs and reliance upon physical DVDs, warehouses, and postage. Several independent film producers made their content available for streaming on Netflix's website, enabling the independent studios to obtain wider distribution than ever before. According to an internet traffic report by Sandvine, Netflix's streaming service accounts for 28.8% to 33% of all web traffic. ( Smartest move of any company in the history of the industry, in my opinion. I use this on a daily basis and I know a lot of people that watch Netflix streaming on a daily basis. With a lot of the newer TV shows and some of the more recent movies coming to the streaming portion of Netflix is awesome for the people that only want to pay $8 a month instead of paying $50 plus for cable or satellite TV.
In August 2007, this question ricocheted through the blogosphere to a chorus of derisive laughter. Fox and NBC were going to make the Internet safe for television! They were building a "YouTube killer"! And they were calling it Hulu! It was almost too perfect—an absurdist topper to the idea that two major broadcast networks could devise an Internet video service people would actually use. ( I will say that when I started reading about Hulu that I wasn’t giving the site much of a chance. Especially when Netflix announced they were offering streaming videos as well. When I used it back a few years ago, I didn’t like it at all. Some of the shows on there, I never even heard of. I haven’t looked into it much recently but it must have gotten better if it’s still around six years later. I still don’t think I’ll look into it again because I do have Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.
The service debuted on September 7, 2006, as Amazon Unbox. On September 4, 2008, the service was rebranded as "Amazon Video on Demand." The Unbox name still refers to the locally installed player (available for Microsoft Windows systems), which is now optional. On February 22, 2011, Amazon added access to 5,000 movies and TV shows for Amazon Prime members. On September 4, 2012, Amazon signed a deal with pay-TV channel Epix to feature movies on their streaming service, in a move to rival their competition Netflix. ( I think the fact that is such a big name in online shopping that this is a good move for them to offer a service like this. As a big name, they can pull in the “big dogs” in the entertainment industry. As a Prime Member of, you get this service for free. They have a lot of the same shows and movies as Netflix. Amazon's Prime Instant Video streaming service is continuing to fill out its selection with today's announcement that subscribers will be able to watch episodes from prior seasons of many A&E, History, Lifetime, and Bio shows. The company doesn't specify which shows will be included, but it says that "popular series" like Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, and Dance Moms will be. The content licensing deal comes only a few months after Netflix’s negotiations with A&E fell through, meaning the Amazon Prime Instant Video, for now, is the only place you can get many of these shows as part of a streaming subscription. ( To me this is the only area that Amazon surpasses Netflix, however, I don’t know if those three shows alone can bring in a whole lot of new customers. I know, in my opinion, I cannot stand shows like Dance Moms. They irritate me and it just shows to me that it doesn’t matter what you do in this country, you can always make money. The fact that people are getting the instant video with their Prime Membership is what is really helping Amazon thrive still. My mom is a Prime Member and she only watches it at work on her lunch breaks. Where she lives she doesn’t get the high speed Internet like a lot of us do, so this service is the only one that she has access to but if she had to pay extra for it, I don’t think she would even purchase it.
Experiencing all three of these services, I think that all are good and I personally think Netflix is the best. For only $8 a month I think it’s the best bang for your buck. I think I’m a little biased though because I’ve had Netflix for so long. All three have their fair share of great qualities. If you’re going for price then Amazon would be your best bet. Based on price point alone, a subscription to Amazon Prime at $79.99 per year is slightly cheaper than the $96 per year that’s spent on a Netflix or Hulu Plus subscription. At approximately $6.67 per month, Amazon Prime subscribers get access to all the streaming titles on Amazon Instant Video in addition to free two-day shipping on all products sold by Amazon and one free book a month from the Amazon Lending Library to use on a Kindle device. ( I personally order a lot of stuff that I don’t necessarily need from Amazon each month so being a Prime Member is ideal for me. I also have a Kindle so Amazon is almost a necessity in my house. Definitely the most value for your dollar when looking specifically at content alone, Netflix Instant offers the largest content library of the three services. While Netflix lost content from Starz a couple years ago, the company has aggressively continued to build out the library of television shows in addition to popular films from the past thirty years. ( I love that Netflix has a lot of the old school cartoons that I watched when I was a kid. I like showing my kids that this is what daddy used to watch when he was a kid. To me, a lot of the cartoons today are garbage. The new Looney Tunes on Cartoon Network is not the Looney Tunes I remember at all. Sponge Bob Squarepants was pretty good when it first came out but now, not good at all. So the Woody Woodpecker, Johnny Bravo, and other cartoons that I watched back in my day are going to continue to be on my TV with Netflix and its plethora of streaming videos to watch.

I think that YouTube has really launched everything that has happened with all of the Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, and all the other sites that are out there. The fact that most of these sites are very reasonably priced is always an attractive feature. As long as the prices are right and the demand is out there, these multimedia sites will thrive in the future. The demand is the key; I know I will always demand these services because of my kids and the awesome prices they are offering their services for.

Work Cited
Amazon Instant Video (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from
Dickey, M. R. (2013, February 15). The 22 Key Turning Points In The History Of YouTube. In Business Insider. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from
D'Orazio, D. (2013, January 4). Amazon Prime Instant Video adds A&E, History, and Lifetime after Netflix's deal falls through. In The Verge. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from
Fitzpatrick, L. (2010, May 31). Brief History YouTube. In Time Magazine. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from,9171,1990787,00.html
Flacy, M. (2013, March 9). Netflix Instant vs. Hulu Plus vs. Amazon Instant Video. In Digital Trends. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from
History of Multimedia Development (n.d.). In Education Center Online. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from
History of Netflix, Inc. (n.d.). In Funding Universe. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from
Rose, F. (2008, September 22). Free, Legal and Online: Why Hulu Is the New Way to Watch TV. In Wired. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from
Wei, W. (2010, August 19). Rich YouTube Stars. In Business Insider. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from

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