One Step Above Standard: Dmitry Shapiro

Jul 17, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The player: Dmitry Shapiro, founder and chief innovation officer of Veoh Networks.
The play: Mr. Shapiro in 2004 founded the video-sharing site, whose investors include Time Warner, Intel and Michael Eisner’s Tornante Co. With content agreements with TV networks such as CBS and MTV and movie studios such as Lionsgate, the company boosted its audience sevenfold last year to about 22 million monthly unique visitors. While none of Veoh’s video content is in true high definition, many of the videos, as with competitor Hulu, can be downloaded in what Mr. Shapiro called a “quasi-HD” format that’s somewhere between standard and high definition.
The pitch: Veoh has attempted to establish itself as a Web destination largely based on its content inventory from agreements such as the ones signed last month with ABC and Warner Bros. Television Group while giving users an opportunity to transfer the content to their TVs from their computers through the VeohTV application it launched last June. Last month, users downloaded 1.2 million VeohTV applications, said Mr. Shapiro, who declined to estimate what percentage of Veoh content is viewed on televisions.

The challenges
: The typical high-speed Internet connection in the U.S. is slower than those in countries such as Japan and South Korea and lacks the bandwidth to transfer true HD content in a timely fashion, limiting video-content providers to video quality that may be short of high definition. “We simply don’t deliver to the home what you’d get on TV, but compression has gotten so good now that you don’t need it” for computer viewing, Mr. Shapiro said. He added that television viewers would “still be able to tell the difference” if the quasi-HD video was followed by a show in true HD.
Backstory: Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Mr. Shapiro moved to the U.S. at age 10, growing up in Atlanta and attending Georgia Tech. The 39-year-old ran peer-to-peer security provider Akonix Systems for about four years before founding Veoh.


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