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5 Questions With…Kyte CEO Daniel Graf

Get psyched, guys — we’re Five-Questions-ing with CEO Daniel Graf of Kyte today. Prior to co-founding the video platform, Graf created the world’s first “MP3 hard disk jukebox” for ReQuest Multimedia, which eventually gave birth to the iPod. Turns out he’s also a bit of a soccer nut.

1. What’s the one big issue/law/attitude/restriction that you think is holding back the industry?

Until recently, technology itself has been a real hurdle in moving the needle forward for online video, but we finally seem to have reached the tipping point for 360-degree video publishing and monetization –- tools are in place to easily publish video to online, mobile and social platforms, content can be monetized in multiple ways including advertising, pay-per-view and subscription services, and there is now critical mass that chooses to consume online and mobile content.

While TV still dominates the bulk of video-related revenues, I believe the second half of 2010 and beyond is when we’ll see the online and mobile video business really explode.

2. What industry buzzword do you never want to hear again?

I’d be happy to never hear the term “release windows” ever again — the content industry really needs to rethink their approach here. While the Web has changed the “release windows” game for good, the majority of major content creators have yet to adapt.

For example, if you want to watch the latest episodes of Mad Men in Switzerland, you have to wait until next year. Does anyone really think that Mad Men fans in Switzerland are going to wait until the series runs on live TV to see how it ends? If episodes were offered legally online, there is no doubt that fans would pay for them and broadcasters need to continue to move towards this model.

3. If someone gave you $50 million to invest in a company in this space, which one would it be? (Mentioning your own doesn’t count.)

Facebook already has plenty of money, so I doubt that $50 million would really make a significant difference there. Ruling out Facebook, I would invest in the PerformGroup. They run an impressive digital media platform business with their e-player — owning content rights, distributing and monetizing the content via major publishers, powered by Perform’s technology. Very interesting and promising model.

4. What was the last video (that you weren’t personally involved with) that you liked enough to spread to others?

I loved the NIKE World Cup commercial. Doing everything I can to build soccer fever in the U.S.!

5. WILD-CARD: In the escalating war between Flash and HTML5, what role will Kyte end up playing? And who do you think will be the victor?

We are supporting both Flash and HTML5. At the end of the day, the consumer doesn’t care about technology as long as the experience is compelling and engaging, and this is where Kyte tries to focus our efforts. There is no doubt that competing technologies like Flash and HTML5 are creating additional technical hurdles for publishers, so we need to stay focused on giving our customers the ability to deliver rich video experiences to multiplatform audiences, regardless of the devices and technologies they’re using.

For instance, to provide flexibility and reduce technical challenges regarding video delivery to the iPad, we decided to support our customers with both an SDK for developing Kyte-powered iPad apps for distribution through the Apple iTunes App Store, as well as web-based support for the iPad through the use of a universal embed code that outputs HTML5 video.

Our iPad SDK was designed specifically to reduce the time, cost and complexity of building interactive video applications and allow developers to focus on creating great user experiences instead of having to worry about media optimization, complex communication protocols or the need to build server-side components.

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