Online Video – No Pain, No Gain?

A friend of mine sent me a link the other day to an article on Pandodaily titled Online Video is a Pain in the Ass. As someone who has chosen to spend the last 7+ years working in this pain in the a#$ medium, I thought I’d tell you why.

Put simply, if a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a single minute of video — which typically packs 24 images every second – must be worth something far greater. Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research says that watching a minute of video is the equivalent of reading 1.8 million words. I think he’s close.

I promise not to extoll all the virtues of using video for your business; I think that’s a base well covered by the blogosphere. (A single search yields countless articles; this one is a favorite.)

Rather, I’d like to tackle some of the painful “problems” with video set forth by the article’s author. Before diving in, it’s important to note that the author is discussing the use of video in the context of a website’s audience monetization strategy, which — as most know, is a very specific use case. As such, I’ve pulled out the issues with broader applicability:

  • People at work and in school cannot easily watch video without being caught.
    ‘Getting caught’ watching an informative, important video that helps people learn or perform better is hardly a problem for forward-thinking organizations. So, this is a content, not a video, issue.
  • Editing video is 100 times harder than editing text.
    Yep, it sure is. As a medium, it is far more complex and far less linear, but thanks to Apple, Adobe and several start-ups, there are now many simple editing tools for the uninitiated. If my 12-year old son can cut together a school video that looks professional — yes, sixth graders actually have video assignments now — then I’m not sure I’d bet against this.
  • Studios are very expensive, and you usually need multiple of them.
    Hmmm. Not exactly. Not only can you outfit a studio for under $5k, but there are also tons of ways to create a dynamic studio. Again, you don’t need to go much further than a google search to get answers here.
  • Your existing employees will not cut it as on-screen talent.
    It’s all relative. The kind of talent you need relates to the type of video you are making. The higher the utility value, the less you need to rely on talent. Employees are great for best practices, training or even thought leadership video. They carry a lot of credibility.
  • Search does not work for video content.
    Not really true in the sense that all video carries metadata and if your video sitemap is set up correctly, your video can be searched. For a quick tutorial on what this means, check out Cliff’s post, Learn More About Video Metadata in a Minute!
  • You need innumerable expensive service providers to compress, host, play, ad-serve, and do everything else in the misery that is the video process.
    Warning: shameless self-promotion. This is where uStudio comes in. We’re a one-stop shop for businesses who need to move video fluidly through its lifecycle – from creative collaboration through distribution and tracking. Servers and CDNs are not a competitive advantage for you and we know that. It needs to be easy and just work.
  • The presence of video will make every other department (engineering, editorial, product, finance, operations) hate their lives.
    Why? Sure it’s new and different and change is hard, but it’s the future. In most organizations, people get excited about the future, especially if it brings tangible benefits like better audience engagement or reducing time and money in training, educating, selling or sharing ideas. Most will embrace the change. Video is becoming a runaway train. Hard to ignore something that’s barrelling down at you.
  • It should work seamlessly on all devices. But it never does.
    HTML5 solves this elegantly and simply. Work with a vendor and a platform that offers an extensible, well designed set of tools.
  • Auto-play.
    If auto-play is what your audience wants or needs, then auto-play is a nice feature. If your audience is turned off by auto-play, then don’t use it. It’s that easy.

Don’t let others scare you into thinking that there’s nothing to be gained from video except pain. Accessible and available technology is making it easier to manage and distribute video–from automatic multi-platform encoding to keeping up with shifting video metadata specs and non-standard stats. It’s the model of sophisticated technology simplified and empowering the (non-tech) user.

The hard part of video is actually something technology can’t replace –strategic thinking. That’s a pain everyone should embrace. Focus on answering the eternal marketing questions:  What’s right for a given audience? How much should I spend? Which sites should I post to? Who do I need on my team? How can we use new tools to do more with less? Can I sell this to the rest of my team or my partners and customers?

The value of video is getting the right story to the right audience at the right time. That’s the value real Video leaders bring.  Remember a minute is worth 1.8 million words. Take advantage of that opportunity.

"Onde Quando e Como eu Quiser"

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