Mainstream News :: Q1 2020

By January 24, 2020 No Comments

Mainstream Customer Newsletter

Q1 2020

Scott Calder

CEO Speak from Scott Calder

It has been a long time since I set and then kept a New Year’s resolution.

I don’t make resolutions because a) I am historically not very good at keeping them, and b) I discovered early in the new year that other more important priorities take precedence over what seemed so critical last year.

This year will be different—I promise.

My resolution—which I will absolutely keep in 2020—is to do a far better job of sharing with you, our good friends and customers, the exciting things that Mainstream Data is doing as a company. 

I will also share our perspectives—informed by the fact that we serve many customers in information-centric industries—on the innovations and trends that we believe are shaping our joint future.

Herewith our first quarterly Mainstream newsletter!

Mainstream will have been in business for thirty-five years this year. May 15, 1985 was the day when Mo Gardner (some of you will remember Mo) and I left our previous company to create Mainstream. Our start-up office was an unused room above my garage, and our business concept was simply to build a technology company that was exceptionally responsive in meeting the communications needs of information companies.

Information companies, of course, were all the rage in the mid-1980s, and our first customer (in 1986) was Telerate (subsequently acquired by Dow Jones & Co., which was acquired by News Corporation), headquartered at 1 World Trade Center in New York City. Telerate needed our digital broadcast radio technology for the delivery of US Government bond pricing information to financial traders in Manhattan.

Customer number two was a company in Kelseyville, California called Allied Information Networks that was in the business of providing an online auction network for heavy equipment (like Caterpillar D5 bulldozers)—before there was such a thing as an ‘online auction network’. Reuters, The Associated Press, First Call, and European Pressphoto Agency followed quickly, and our company grew rapidly and flourished along with the information industry. Many of our customers had rapidly evolving communications needs, so Mainstream became expert at wireless, terrestrial wireline, satellite, and internet technologies. Today our business reflects that diverse technology legacy, with our major customers using us for everything from internet hosting and custom software solutions to survival-dependent satellite networks and even mission-critical IT services.

Since we founded Mainstream we have tried to distinguish ourselves by listening to you, our customers, and then responding by creating technology solutions that meet your needs. Obviously, as the number of our customers has increased, listening to everyone at the same time has become more difficult, so we have focused on projecting the direction that markets and technologies are moving in order to anticipate and then provide appropriate solutions. 

I’m sending you this newsletter quarterly, focusing on providing you with a bit of perspective on the breadth and depth of the solutions Mainstream provides for its customers. Each edition will highlight one of our customers, telling you a bit about its business and how we contribute to it. In any case I don’t, however, want to ignore the all-important human side of our company, so I will also introduce you to one member of our company’s team in each issue.

Above all, I want you to know that we at Mainstream truly appreciate your friendship and your business and your potential future business, and we look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to contact me any time at scalder@mainstreamdata.com.

Best regards,
Scott

Customer Solution – The Mega Agency

We first met Kevin Smith, then CEO of Splash News, at the Visa pour l’Image trade show for professional photographers in Perpignan, France in September, 2005. At the time Splash was rapidly becoming the globally dominant force in entertainment news and images, and Kevin’s company was looking for a content distribution platform that could keep up with its compelling content. 

As a result, Splash quickly became a Mainstream Data customer, with our company responsible for making certain that Splash’s photos and video were the first (in addition to their being the best) to cross editors’ desks in countries around the world.

Mainstream’s MediasFTP(™) delivery system was able to keep up with the avalanche of content that Splash’s photographers and videographers created, flawlessly delivering hundreds of thousands of files daily and millions of files per day during the Golden Globes, Emmys, and Academy Awards.

Fast forward to 2016: Kevin had sold Splash News to Corbis (a Bill Gates enterprise) and had taken a several-year, well deserved rest from the industry.

The Mega Agency

Armed with a number of disruptive marketing and technical insights gained during his time away from the industry, Kevin and The Mega Agency–a new team that included David Leigh and Paul Tetley–were prepared to radically disrupt the entertainment news industry once again by bringing innovative, streamlined, and mobile technology to the market. The objective was to simplify and speed the process of moving compelling images and video from contributors to publications and at the same time to speed the process of moving cash to contributors. Time to market, time to cash.

The Mega Agency

In order to implement his bold new vision, Kevin approached us at Mainstream Data, his technology partner more than ten years prior at Splash News. Mega and Mainstream quickly reached agreement, and the two companies started the process of completely reinventing and redeveloping the technology that underlies moving content from shuttersnap to cash register, implementing an entirely new generation of technology in less than nine months. Major disruptive elements of Mega’s current system include a mobile application for submitting contributor images and video, a custom content upload and keywording technology, an editorial suite, an easily modifiable, fetching website, an accounting application with its own integrated electronic payments suite, real-time metrics and analytics, and a contributor dashboard–all in a mobile-responsive platform that is as simple to use as it is robust.

As expected, Kevin and the Mega team have seen exceptional success in the marketplace in the two and one-half years since they launched. But The Mega Agency’s solution is anything but static; Mainstream and Mega are currently collaborating on more than a dozen new projects that will make Mega’s platform even more exciting, more efficient, and more market-disruptive. 

For further information about Mega contact Paul Tetley at paul.tetley@mega.global.

Gary Howard

Meet Gary Howard, Mainstream Data V.P. of Technology

Gary Howard’s day job is making sure that Mainstream Data builds innovative, robust, and reliable software applications that help information-rich companies build their businesses. Weekends, on the other hand, are a different matter. On Saturdays and Sundays, while snow blankets Utah’s Wasatch Mountains from November through May, you can reliably find Gary racing down Park City’s ski slopes at speeds approaching his age (in kilometers per hour, of course).

And when Gary is not skiing he is likely playing squash, as a former Utah state champion schooling the unsuspecting challenger…

Gary was born, educated, and began his career in computer programming in England (which those of you who know him will agree is clearly evident when you meet with him), spending his first professional years following graduation from the University of Hertfordshire working for Oxford Medical, ITCOM, and HSBC in various programming roles. Mainstream first met Gary while he was working as a principal consultant/technical architect for Reuters in 1997 as Mainstream was implementing a content delivery and digital asset management platform for the large international press agency. At that first meeting in London, several things about Gary quickly became apparent to Mainstream: 1) he was an exceptionally talented programmer and architect with an extraordinarily strategic view of information technology, 2) his knowledge of the technology (including error-free transmission protocols, metadata standards, content manipulation, and underlying news content delivery) was extensive, and 3) he was a genuinely great person who loved to ski and was not averse to moving to “the colonies” at some future point in his career.

A year later, in 1998, Gary had made the move across the ‘pond’ and was working at Mainstream in Salt Lake City with principal responsibility for the ingestion, normalization, and assimilation of all customer content into Mainstream’s content management and delivery platforms. Gary is absolutely an authority on the varied and subtly diverse (and often confusing!) formats that news providers, photo agencies, and video content companies employ to encode and manage their information. Gary also recently oversaw and managed Mainstream’s development of Wispeo, a new product that facilitates the lossless delivery of high resolution video files from the explosion of mobile phones and tablets around the globe. 

Gary was promoted to Vice President of Technology at Mainstream Data two years ago and now has general responsibility for all technology development at the company, including the company’s MediasNet(™), MediasFTP(™), MediaHAL(™), MediaShowroom(™), MediaSphere(™), and Wispeo(™), product lines. He supervises all of Mainstream’s programming staff including those in the company’s Salt Lake City, USA and Crawley, UK offices.

I have charged Gary with the following objectives for 2020, consistent with our annual plan:

  • Continually improve the performance, stability, reliability, and redundancy of the company’s product lines with special emphasis on MediaSphere(™)
  • Add the unique content management/manipulation and usability features of MediaShowroom(™) to MediaSphere(™) to leverage MediaSphere’s innovative architecture and unlimited scalability
  • Extend MediaSphere’s functionality by
    • Integrating photo infringement tracking
    • Social media usage tracking
    • Employing machine learning to enhance user experience
    • Providing a powerful, user-friendly dashboard for administrators and users
    • Adding guest checkout and eCommerce functionality as an option for all customers
  • Successfully relaunch Newscom on the MediaSphere(™) platform
  • Add next-generation custom features for Mainstream customers

If you would like to contact Gary, you can reach him at ghoward@mainstreamdata.com.