Online Video’s Decades-Long Journey Encapsulated in a Few Short Months
Paradoxically, many humans embrace the actions of cultural change even as we resist the idea of those changes. Case in point, the idea of a TV show as something you have to watch at a certain date and a certain time on a certain channel. Clearly, these restrictions have become obsolete in an era where some of the biggest shows on TV come exclusively through streaming services. Yet, we still tend to think of TV show successes in terms of advertiser ratings, premieres, and seasons.
So, to digest the idea of how much video content and the internet have changed in the past few years, perhaps it would help to put a few incidents from the past few months under the microscope. Doing so can help reveal how intrinsically streaming video and its increasing contribution to the online landscape have become entwined in our modern lives.
Crowdsourced Video as News
Possibly the most powerful indicator of video’s growth is amateur video’s increasing role in breaking news. News cameras often arrive about an hour after the story has already broken. Professional considerations generally bar them from entering into restricted areas or placing themselves in extreme danger, even though there are exceptions. For these reasons, there used to be a gap in between news coverage and breaking stories we had become accustomed to.
Except that’s not the case anymore. During the attempted military coup in Turkey, for instance, many studios like CNN were left wanting for footage. Time and time again, they cut to an empty studio desk. Much of the footage they were able to obtain consisted of amateur smartphone video. Additionally, when Turkish president Erdogan realized that the coup was orchestrated only by a portion of the military, he urged via the iPhone FaceTime app for people to take to the streets to reclaim their country.
Trying to get in on the feeling of immediacy, CNN also launched a drone video newsgathering service named CNN Air in August 2016. Twitter also encouraged live broadcasting to find its home online after signing deals with the MLB, NFL, and NHL professional sports leagues.
In the past few months, several streaming shows have dominated entertainment discussions. Netflix’s Stranger Things and their fourth season of Orange is the New Black emerge as some of the most-mentioned during the summer. Even more recently, comedian Donald Glover’s new show Atlanta premiered its first episode on YouTube for free alongside cable TV and Amazon Prime streaming.
Outside of studio-made content, content creators on platforms like YouTube have quickly risen to the top of the mainstream. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki asserted earlier this year that the platform reaches more 18 to 49 year-olds during prime time hours than the top 10 TV shows aired during that time combined.
More Key Take-Home Trends for Online Video
Looking at the shifting nature of online video through the past several months, a few other trends emerge:
- Content consumers are becoming platform agnostic—they have no preferences on where to watch—but they recognize when creators play to the strengths of their chosen medium and channel.
- VR and AR have yet to imprint a “name brand,” leaving the field wide open to pioneers.
- Personalization has usurped linear consumption schedules; every viewer receives unique recommendations for what to watch next in light of their past views.
- Authenticity remains the most important factor; viewers want to feel close to real people, and they have increasingly come to define the “brand” of content creators more than the creators themselves.
- Broadcast TV is irrefutably on is way out.
As online video swells in cultural importance, brands that wish to be heard must take advantage of any and all video platforms that can further their marketing goals. Take a look at Optimum’s video production services for help with any point during the video creation process, including end-to-end bespoke content creation based on your own marketing goals. Take charge of the new era of online video and become a part of the conversation with Optimum Productions.