Monday, July 18, 2011

Video Everywhere....What's Your Take?

I’m not afraid to date myself. And I’m not talking about taking myself out to dinner and movie, but I am talking about putting the incredible rate of technological change into context. So, let’s talk video.

Seriously, I remember our family’s first color TV. Granted I was barely in grade school, but the set was the size of most compact cars today, its depth equal to its diameter and the video quality…I don’t think the word quality factored into the product description.

These were the days of consoles…anyone remember those? These sprawling home entertainment systems contained a TV, turntable, radio and a pair of muffled sounding speakers as part of their complete home entertainment checklist – most consoles were large enough to span two zip codes.

FAST FORWARD: From the incredible adoption of video-enabled handsets, to tablets, streaming services, Hulu, YouTube, 4G networks, Wi-Fi, and a huge array of boxes, gaming platforms and DVRs that make video accessible and on-demand just about anywhere. A recent study by Sandvine Inc. shows that Netflix movies and TV shows account for nearly 30 per cent of bandwidth/ traffic into homes during peak evening hours, compared with less than 17 per cent for Web browsing. And The Nielsen Company released data showing the number of mobile subscribers over the age of 13 watching online video on their mobile device in Q2 2010 reached 21.9 million (up 43%) – that doesn’t count those under 13, who, if my 11-year old is any indication, represent a huge number of additional streams.

And add to this, social media’s ubiquity and the viral nature of ‘sharing’, and video has the ability to take on a life of its own, where crazy, creative kids can become mini movie moguls practically overnight. And now Facebook’s video chat announcement today makes video even more embedded into our virtual social experiences. Aside from the distribution channels, think about the barriers to entry – how many user generated content programs are there out there now anyway? TrueTV has based its entire programming schedule on the genre. Big Brother is watching you and he’s out to sell your antics to Hollywood. [Don’t get me started on reality, TV, please – I’m just waiting for a series to come out about plumbers – I can just see the Hollywood pitch now…WATCH PLUMBERS…addictive like crack.]

As each day passes, video moves farther beyond the field of entertainment. More companies use video as tools to engage, educate, assist, and convert. According to eMarketer the use of online video among the 100 leading retailers increased by 18 percentage points between Q4 2009 and Q4 2010, alone – with the recent surge in tablet and smart phone use, that number is bound to explode over this year and into the next.

Video usage online continues to grow at astronomical rates: comScore reports in is Digital Year in Review report that 179 million Americans watched online video each month during 2010 and that more than 88.6 million people watch online video on an average day in December 2010 (up 32%).

New technologies, like anything in the world of business and change are hit and miss - as of October 2010, HTML5 video penetration had reached 54% of web users…and this is expected to rise dramatically as many major web utilities such as Google’s Gmail service plan to force browser upgrades to HTML5-compatible browsers in order to use their services. While the new format challenges Flash, consumer interest and sales of 3D TVs are estimated to decline in 2011 while sales for connected televisions rise, according to SNL Kagan, a media and communication analysis business. Hit and miss…but most are stories of incredible growth.

So, what does all this mean for you? What does it mean for your business? What does it mean for human culture? Those are all loaded questions. Like anything, video’s salience in any one situation depends on context. What is certain is that we can no longer think about video as a self-contained product, viewed in a world behind darkened shades in the comfort and privacy of our home. Video is everywhere. Video is social. Video is powerful. And video will continue to capture the imagination and emotions of people everywhere as the arguably highest art form, behind only life itself.

To explore your organization’s video strategy, book your organization’s complimentary Whiteboard Wednesday with FGI today – .

Guy Borgford

VP Strategy,

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