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Video is changing online

Digital VideoDigital changed video, now video is changing online. Its hard to believe that not so long ago full frame video on the web was just a dream.

Originally ‘Internet Protocol Television’ looked more like a postage stamp than the High Definition experience we can achieve today. 

So what does this mean for publishers and producers? 

Internet video is now a viable communications channel. Online video platforms like YouTube mean videos can be made available to a worldwide audience at negligible cost, compared to the analogue days. 

This has been made possible by the global adoption of two convergent technologies – broadband internet and digital video production. 

So video hasn’t always been mainstream? 

Video can add a new dimension to web pagesGeneration Y’ has grown up with this stuff (the first video on YouTube, was uploaded in 2005) but when we made our first corporate the only real options for distribution were VHS, CD-Rom or DVD-Video. 

Let’s use corporate video as an example. Organisations have been using them for many years to inform, educate and even entertain. In a time before the internet this was the ultimate business to business communications tool, and in many ways still is. 

Back in 2004 a corporate video might cost a brand £39k[1] but even then the cost of production could be the the tip of the iceberg. ‘Masters’ had to be copied, printed, cased, packaged and labelled. Then there was the cost of postage – or even couriers.  

After all this time, effort and expense there was still no sure way of knowing that all those videos you sent out even got watched… 

So what’s changed…? 

  • We can now use analytics to monitor the videos as they are watched, determining their location and tracking levels of engagement, enabling clients to measure their Return on Investment. 
  • Today’s online videos can be shared using ‘social media’ meaning there is a ‘viral’ opportunity for every video. Potentially millions can see it for the cost of an internet connection.  
  • Videos can include interactive features that take the viewer beyond a passive subject to an actively engaged user. 

Video has always been a high-value medium[2] but thanks to the developments in digital technology the overall cost of production as well as distribution has fallen. 

So ‘digital’ means video is cheap now…? 

Whether you get it professionally made or ‘do it yourself’ there is still no short-cut to producing an effective video that actually achieves the desired result. But with the potentially massive savings you are making on distribution you can probably afford to put more value ‘on screen’. You can do this in obvious ways like recording better quality images and sound but also spending more time in planning and pre-production. 

What about the future of digital video? 

YouTube is owned by Google and is now the second biggest search engine.[3] Whether we like it’s monopoly or not, we only have to look west to see that online video is at least here to stay. 

Some have called video ‘the new text’ if that’s so then online video might be the next publishing revolution. 

tag means there is growing potential to watch video on the move, whether in the ghetto or the boardroom. > 

Our prediction is that Search engines will have to become more discerning. Quality and relevance will be the separators that judge whether a Britney Spears music video is the genuine article or just a karaoke slideshow.  

Until then, we suggest those with lower budgets take note and take advantage: it’s still a relatively level playing field at the moment. So if having a video on your site does become an SEO pre-requisite – do you want to be an early adopter or a latecomer? 


[1] Televisual Corporate 50 March (2011) 

[2] The Effect of Context-Based Video Instruction in Learning and Motivation in Online Courses Choi and Johnson (2005) 

[3] ComScore Search Engine Rankings Report (2008)  

This entry was originally written for OxonDigital and published on 26/4/2012. The author's views below are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of OxonDigital.