We tend to take most things in life on face value. The earth is round, the universe is expanding, the internet is slow, but improving. This slow progression and acceptance of our ‘realities’ also tends to stop us from seeing what’s just around the corner. An example:
Imagine if television in the 1950’s evolved the same way that the internet has. What if TV in its infancy was little more than radio with text – much like the early stages of the web. What if television started with many, many channels but they all offered slow text, perhaps a few graphics. Over time, maybe ten years or more the television broadcast networks evolved to allow some blinking graphics, then motion graphics via flash files that allowed you to see moving images accompanied with text. How powerful a medium would TV have been up to that point. Would it have consumed our lives the way it has? Would it become the focal point of our entertainment, our advertising, our news consumption?
With the Internet today we are close (but not quite there) to where television started over fifty years ago. Video is widely viewable today online around the world but the experience varies considerably. That will change over the next few years as good or great quality video will be delivered to any screen you want it on (tv, computer, mobile device). When that happens this will have a profound effect on how business communicate and evolve. Like the frog in the slowly warming pot of water, many businesses won’t even notice the change.
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Ultimately though, what makes the impact that much more significant is that all of the televisions are connected, everyone is creating their own television shows and you can watch what you want, wherever and whenever you want. Context is everything and the companies that win in this game will be the companies that can produce contextually relevant video products for their audiences. Content that has real value (not commercials), content that people want to share and content that changes how people see and do things.
No, text isn’t going away (in spite of the recent pain in the print industry) in our lifetime but we are entering a time where new visual languages, graphic interfaces and video content will change how businesses communicate.
Jimm, you’re right that the experience of video changes considerably with online video. I disagree, though, that it’s about video quality if that’s really what you’re saying…
I can be more clear by looking at TV’s history. You rightly place TV’s roots in radio, and to this day TV shows are designed so most of the storytelling’s in the audio. Yet TV was in its way a reaction to the cinema, the dominant, larger-than-life storytelling of the time. And the way people watched movies at theaters in the 50s differs categorically from how they watch them now, on laptops, HDTVs or iPhones.
I think Internet video watching’s the same. It’s not about interactivity– it is about user control. Your video’s just one option among the 15 tabs they’ve got open in Firefox. And there’s something more personal and homey about Internet video that belies production value. I agree again that a lot of businesses are getting left behind as video marketing changes, but I’m not sure we think it’s going in the same direction.
William I think we agree on the effect that video is having on business today. My point was that I believe online video will have an ever greater effect (much larger than anyone can imagine today) on how businesses communicate in the near future. It’s been so long in coming that we just don’t see it yet.
One example: Apple is going to introduce a tablet (my guess) in the next 6 months(ish) and it will be all about video. This will change how we consume video – not just entertainment video. This will, in turn, spill over into the business world (and not only with more ads).The web, your tv, your mobile phone, your tablet will all be linked to the same new content and that content (very soon) will be predominently video.
I remember the clear distinction of the ‘lean forward’ or ‘lean back’ types of content consumption we all thought we understood only 10 years ago. Watch a 13 year old on a computer – they lean both ways at the same time… and mobile video consumption is another thing altogether.
Businesses will have to create really valuable content – most of it video, to stay in the game. Ultimately quality will be critical – not in the sense of slick production but quality in the sense of content that communicates effectively, is trusted, is well done (we might bicker over what’well done’ means…) and that provides real value.
Jimm, you have hit upon a concept that I’ve been pondering for some time when you write: “we are entering a time where new visual languages, graphic interfaces and video content will change how businesses communicate.”
Writing became a useful activity (say, back in the days of the Egyptians) because it was both relatively PORTABLE and PERMANENT, meaning you could write something down — (like the number of stacks of wheat you just harvested) and it would be there a year later (like when you took your records to Pharaoh’s tax collectors.)
Now with text, audio, video, and still images so readily available to us, we are no longer tied to text as a portable and permanent means of expressing our thoughts. An iPhone is easily as portable as a piece of papyrus, and I foresee this webisphere-based culture manipulating the strengths of each mode of communication and weaving them together to create a hybrid language — a language that right now we can barely imagine.
Whatever form this new communication ultimately takes — it is changing so quickly that I’m sure I’ll be able to watch the evolution occur before my eyes — and I am delighted to be here at this time to watch the show. As, I’m sure, are you.
Thanks for that Jim – I’ve been doing this (video, marketing, interactivity communications) for the last 20 years and this is by far, the most exciting time to be working in the industry. Visual communications, touch screens, gesture support, smart video, mobile devices, social media, etc… it’s all here. Sure, it’s all been around for a while but like the promise of video over the internet – its all coming together, very quickly.
Yes I agree, that is an interesting time. Never before we have been so close to communicate video over the internet.