Sam Thielman of AdWeek writes: December 1995-January 1999
After seeing Trey Parker and Matt Stone's short Spirit of Christmas, TV exec Brian Graden commissions a second video he distributes to friends on VHS. The video—and Graden—help Parker and Stone land a development deal at Comedy Central that gives rise to South Park. Soon the video starts turning up in unexpected places, notably as an AVI file on the PlayStation game Tiger Woods ’99. From there, it’s a hop, skip and a jump to bulletin boards and burnable CDs.
Macromedia acquires Jonathan Gay’s startup FutureSplash and shortens the name to Flash. It becomes the standard for Web video, though Microsoft and Apple continue to use proprietary formats. Competitor RealNetworks suffers. Adobe buys Macromedia in 2005.