Commentary

Businesses Embracing Online Video Will Fuel The Web's Revolution

If video killed the radio star, online video will surely kill the static Web.

Video is poised to permeate the Web in a way that goes far beyond YouTube's user-generated clips. The Web's design and flexibility make it a powerful visual medium, with moving images, Flash and animation fast becoming the lingua franca. This presents corporate America -- and private enterprise in general -- with a huge opportunity.

All Video, All the Time

Previously we took a quick look at some of the ways the video-centric Web is becoming a vital channel for driving user engagement and loyalty, as well as powerful internal tool benefitting employees. This article will demonstrate how some well-known brands are already defining the Web experience of the future. The following are a handful of ways video is impacting corporate Web strategies and business models:

Company news and information. Web video enables organizations to become their own broadcast networks. For example, rather than being greeted by the customary block of text and images on a company's home page, visitors may find a running video news feed. British Sky Broadcasting posts its top news stories as video. Organizations can populate the corporate news room with video news releases. To satisfy investors and meet compliance requirements, companies can populate on-demand libraries with shareholder meetings, annual reports and RSS videocasts on a host of topics.

Product information and how-to. Video can be a key enabler of product support and advice. Avery, the office supply company, offers a library of demos that show how to pull off that pesky mail merge, among other office tasks. Another example, Scott's Miracle-Gro Company, has turned its Web site into a consumer-centric source of advice on lawn care, gardening and related topics. Here, video serves as the primary format for "help" articles.

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Branded entertainment. Organizations can deliver original video content directly to customers. Nike.com offers sports-specific channels that, in addition to offering video-based training, feature stories about Nike athletes. A good example is the basketball documentary on Team USA's road to Beijing.

Best practices and knowledge management. If commercials and entertainment can be viral, so can internal company knowledge. A manufacturing company with plants all over the world could enable far-flung employees to record and share best practices. Along those same lines, investment in education and training can be expanded exponentially by giving distributed offices and facilities access to video-based programs, seminars and workshops. IT consulting firm Bluewolf provides an example of how businesses might accomplish this-the firm shares its case studies and testimonials with external audiences on Bluewolf TV.

Community. User-generated content (UGC) can turn customers and fans into a network of content creators who communicate through video. Cult footwear favorite Crocs, for instance, has set up a site that invites lovers and haters of the brand to upload videos about how they feel about the product. And look for more companies to build communities with video as the primary form of content.

UGC offers organizations a significant source of original content and can foster a natural community that keeps a pulse of the brand. This is where two of today's most powerful trends -- online video and the social Web -- combine to form a new capability for business: the power to create and sustain new communities, glued together by our most compelling mass medium.

Turning on the Spigot

So why should corporate America embrace the video-centric Web? Remember the lessons of a certain small appliance maker called Blendtec. This small business came out of nowhere in a crowded and competitive market segment to establish a vibrant business on the back of short, simple video segments. You never know where the best ideas or content will come from. Successful companies will be the ones that engage online communities with video that is compelling and continuous.




13 comments about "Businesses Embracing Online Video Will Fuel The Web's Revolution".
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  1. Scott Maxworthy from Max Media & Entertainment, January 21, 2009 at 3:46 p.m.

    Absolutely totally agree. Creativity, entertain and engage the customer/ viewer. For lack of a better metric we've seen CTR's of 4% in targeted C-B and much higher in B-B.

  2. Scott Broomfield from Veeple, Inc., January 21, 2009 at 4:02 p.m.

    Dave, you are right on. Video will kill, or at least materially impact the static web.

    Instead of thinking about video inside of HTML, think of HMTL inside a video. The medium is the message and in this context the message is video. Video, when done well, can tell the story in seconds.

    Now for the really good stuff. Think about anything in the video being clickable. Click on a PDF, click on another web link or another video. Click on a Social Network. Clcik on the watch or the shirt. Click on the 'pre-purchase' button for the new on-line game. Click on a Coupon with a bar code embedded.

    If 2007 and 2008 was about getting video on-line and then sitting and staring, then 2009 and 2010 will be about immersive video. The "Traveling Video Web Site." How cool is that!

  3. Peter Schankowitz from Joe Digital, Inc., January 21, 2009 at 5 p.m.

    You are correct sir. An excellent synopsis of where we are and where we are going in terms of active use of video to reach, entertain, and retain the consumer / "participant" on their terms. The cross-sector examples of successfully using video to create brand loyalty through active dialogue are very telling and, hopefully, for my business, means that what we all do is catching on in a big way. In short, how can brands across virtually any vertical afford not to use video as part of their strategic marketing initiatives?

  4. Jeff Bach from Quietwater Media, January 21, 2009 at 5:29 p.m.

    There's no doubt the technology is here. Many of the pieces to complete the workflow are falling into place. I think we are just about through the early adopter stage and are starting into the fat part of the curve where the SMBs all live. Now if we could only get a few more articles like this out into that SMB space so those businesses could start learning about video and begin to grow their interest in it, things would be perfect. We all know video is great stuff, it's just a matter of getting Jane and John BusinessOwner to buy into it now.
    Jeff Bach
    Quietwater Films

  5. Lorraine Grula from Video Production Tips, January 21, 2009 at 5:41 p.m.

    Speaking as someone who began her video production career when that "new fangled" invention called cable TV consisted of about 20 channels worth of color bars and I Love Lucy re-runs, online video makes me feel like I am living next door to George Jetson.

    The possibilities are absolutely unlimited.

    I appreciate Mr. Dutch and all the commentators putting forth suggestions.

    Soon, websites without video might seem as quaint as Ricky Riccardo wailing Babaloooooooo! Or my favorite, "Lucy, you got some splaining to do."

    My website, video production tips.com has tons of free information about all aspects of video production if that would help any of you out. All kinds of info on cameras and how to shoot, how to edit etc., etc.

  6. Gordon Vasquez from RealTVfilms.com, January 21, 2009 at 5:43 p.m.

    We just got back from Sundance and celebrating our 1 Year Anniversary (first video we posted a Year ago as a result of Sundance 08) --- Last year our "1" man show only had a press pass and nothing else -- not one Celeb Party List and could not even get on a step of one of the hot Schwag Suites--- this year -- 1,000 Videos later -- the Red Carpet was rolled out for RealTVfilms and our Hosts rocked the Best Schwag Lounges--and extreme access for our 2 HD Crews & Producers while our publicist in LA made it happen ------- Video is ON -- make sure you are on our Facebook and see the magic - -

  7. Chris Stinson from Non-Given, January 21, 2009 at 5:57 p.m.

    I think, that many companies will go and just put video up, any video, trying to attract a audience. Grab what ever they can (legally) and add it to their "Video Gallery".

    If it work's for You-tube, it should work for me.

  8. adriana kaegi, January 21, 2009 at 10:06 p.m.

    been doing on-line video since 1998 and i am soooo happy to see it finally take off, though i am still having to educate new clients about the benefits. http://dearaddy.com

  9. V Kutty from Neo @ Ogilvy, January 22, 2009 at 3:03 a.m.

    I do not agree with the basic premise itself.
    No media has ever died because of another - the threatened media has gone back and re invented itself.
    I do agree however that online video will give a huge impetus to the overall 'Online' category - however it will be a platform and not a medium of its own. Therefore media planners will now have another platform to choose from, (from among banners, email, paid search, social media, mobile, digital bill boards etc.) when they consider what platforms to use in the overall Online context.

  10. Tyler Lecompte from MeHype.com, January 23, 2009 at 11:57 a.m.

    Excellent breakdown of the major ways that online video will influence and grow in 2009. Thanks for that. Having recently launched a new video advertising website that combines product information, how-to's, branded entertainment and UGC all in a new monetization model, information like this continues to fuel my passion for success this year. Thanks again.

  11. Richard Toker from Howclip Video Manuals, January 26, 2009 at 9:37 p.m.

    Thanks for the great summary, especially on 'product information and how-to." Nobody has ever had a good user manual experience, so I started Howclip Video Manuals. We turn user manuals and instruction guides into video...because video is easier to read ;-)

    www.howclip.com

  12. Richard Toker from Howclip Video Manuals, January 26, 2009 at 9:38 p.m.

    Thanks for the great summary, especially on 'product information and how-to." Nobody has ever had a good user manual experience, so I started Howclip Video Manuals. We turn user manuals and instruction guides into video...because video is easier to read ;-)

    www.howclip.com

  13. Tyler Willis from Involver, February 6, 2009 at 2:13 p.m.

    Video is a more efficient way to communicate ideas. I loved the article in the NY Times about the 9 year old who searches youtube instead of google when he wants to learn something (here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/18/business/media/18ping.html?_r=1 )

    However, barriers to creation mean this will have it's place. It won't replace the static web, it will simply enhance it.

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