SXSW – Day 1: The power of video

· Trends, Tricks of the trade · , , , , , ,

Day 1 felt a little bit like the first day of school. Everyone arrived looking fresh, eager and buttoned up. There was a funny sense of anticipation in the air.

A recurring theme was the growing dominance of video in the content mix. While in some ways this may seem like stating the obvious given how big TV has been for years, there’s a number of converging factors that are making video an increasing powerful communications tool:

Snackable content: People have always liked to skim read and now they like to ‘snack’ on interesting, entertaining or informative content. Video is a quick and easy way for a viewer to get bite-size, entertaining chunks.

How we learn: Apparently the majority of people (65%) take in information better by seeing, watching and touching over reading. Let’s face it, we’re surrounded by content so want it served up as easy as possible.

The millennial effect: We call millennials Gen Ys and they are a big focus as they’re group that can deliver the greatest lifetime value for a brand. Millennials love video. When they go online they first thing they do is look for the ‘play’ button.

Less appointment viewing: For news media in particular, less people are tuning into scheduled programs and getting their news either from YouTube or catch up with TV online. They would also prefer to see footage of what happened than hear a journalist do a piece to camera. While a viewer might only watch 15 seconds of a traditional news report they’ll watch 3 minutes of a building burning down.  Sightly depressing but true.

Better connectivity: A few years ago, it was hard to watch video on your phone because of the buffering issues, but things have improved. Better connectivity means easier access to content. And more people are viewing content generally on their phones, which is now regarded as the ‘first screen’. BuzzFeed produce all their content for mobile these days.

Changes at Facebook: This is a big one. Facebook‘s next revenue stream will be pre-roll advertising so the Facebook algorithm favours video. One speaker from sports network NBC spoke about having to rewrite their Facebook strategy totally ahead of the Super Bowl on account of this. Video vignettes formed a major part of their content mix in the week leading up to the big game.

While video might be the preferred way for a lot of people to consumer their news and information – in particular millennials – engagement levels are lower than other forms of content and there is still the cost issues to overcome.

But not everything has to be top quality. In fact, some of the best performing footage is out-takes and bloopers. A few people I’ve been speaking to have talked about segregating your content mix in A, B, C, D or high, medium and low effort. There’s an art and science to this. Stay tuned for more on this tomorrow…

Written by Caroline Catterall · · Trends, Tricks of the trade · , , , , , ,
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