If you’re trying to reach someone online, video is where it’s at. Before you assume that we’re bound to say that given our company expertise, the stats back it up – Cisco found that in 2015, mobile video traffic accounted for 55% of total mobile data traffic. By 2020, it reckons it’ll hit 75%.
But video’s not without its foibles. In the first of a two-part look at the state of play in the world of video, we’re looking at the factors that are supporting this boom in video recording and sharing – but ones that could dilute the dissemination of more potent audio-visual strategies.
Brands as “video content curators”
We’re fans of the BBC’s work, as should be anyone based in the UK – its rich source of news and entertainment has only gotten better since it finally committed BBC Three to the internet alone. Nonetheless, the Beeb’s Alex Ayling, head of BBC Worldwide Digital Studios, told Econsultancy that in 2016, “we will see that the voices that resonate most with audiences (whether brands or individual personalities) will programme a mix of their own professionally created content alongside intelligently curated [user-generated content]”.
This, however, throws up a tricky situation. Companies, at least on the written side of things, have been attempting this content curation for a long time, only for many of their efforts to be committed to the graveyard. Ironically, it was also Econsultancy that published “Why the ‘brands as publishers’ trend is utter nonsense” by Mark Higginson, which details an extensive number of poor attempts at creating engaging content. Its message is simple: companies and individuals need to target a captive audience with relevant content, otherwise they’ll flat-line. Considering video’s the new trend in “reaching out”, you can guarantee a bucketful of misses.
Vine, and shrug-ageddon
One of the many reasons these misses (by the dozen) may be more of an issue in 2016 is the rise of Vine, Instagram videos, and other accessible (and imminently shareable) user-generated content platforms. Twitter, Vine and co. confounded early predictions by continuing to post incredible view totals across 2015 (in part due to, coincidentally, Twitter’s Vine support), and it seems like more than ever, you don’t really need to do that much to get followers, views, and so on.
But like Twitter, a lot of Vine is garbage, and the high-rolling “stars” of the site mask the horrors that lie within. Imagine watching 12 five-second clips of terrible pranks, nonsensical in-jokes and people doing the Harlem Shake two years too late. Stop imagining: you can experience that by pressing play on a random Vine streamer, I guarantee it. It’s like typing #IVoteDonaldTrump into Twitter and seeing why people think it’s a serious hashtag.
Brands and individuals see these successes of short video and will leverage this quick content – for good reason, too, as it plays to our low attention spans as web users. How they’ll do it is, however, something we’re still to find out, but it’ll be a veritable shrugfest – plenty of bad attempts will undoubtedly lie in wait.
Newspapers attempting to catch up with the curve (or, at least, each other)
It’s the final point, and perhaps it’s not the most potent of the three, but it’s really worth a mention. Local print is dying, but websites for local newspapers are doing pretty well for themselves. In fact, many are doing incredibly great work for their local communities. Nonetheless, with papers not selling, digital advertising certainly seems to be the new way to generate much-needed cash for the big publishing groups.
One way to get that, it seems, is through video. Visit the nearby Huddersfield Daily Examiner’s site (or any other newspaper in the Trinity Mirror group) and you’ll see them rolling out more video content – something that won them the O2 Media Award in 2015. This in part reflects the work of the money-making Daily Mail, for example, which would only do better for itself if it didn’t have a terrible user interface on its video player.
But while this is great for communities up and down the country, these newspapers (and those even further behind the curve, who are only setting their sights on just local rivals) are still transitioning from a print-first outlook, and so videos can really be quite poor. You can guarantee most are filmed on smartphones – and why wouldn’t they be? They’re filmed by reporters on the move – but production qualities rarely venture out of Windows Movie Maker in order to make the spike, despite many protestations from pioneering journos.
Without the dedicated staff and expertise, there’s a hole in most newspapers’ strategy for strong video content, and could endanger the lure of video across the web for those engaging primarily with their local press, who could come to expect a lower standard of recording for any play button offered up to them. Indeed, video could be a flash in the pan for certain newspapers who consistently get it wrong, and look at their page views to see how “video isn’t cost effective”. It could hurt all demographics of video watchers – not just the hip and groovy sectors.
In our next post, we’ll be looking at three factors that set to improve the world of video for the better in 2016 – and what you can do to support it. Have you got anything you’d add to our list of worrying trends for video in 2016? Don’t hesitate to let us know through Facebook or Twitter. Hell, record us a video giving us your thoughts.