What next for video culture?
As early as 2002, and before phone streaming, The Henley Centre publicised an emerging shift in the way people receive information – away from the written word and towards the audible-visual word or video. Having recently hit the billion-user mark, TikTok epitomises this trend. Many explanations for the rising popularity of video can be identified, like nuanced content, the ability to stream user generated content (UGC) or the evolution of video technology. What’s less clear, is how video culture will evolve.
Video culture exploded during Covid
The impact of Covid on the media landscape is omnipresent and not just in the increased use of Teams, Zoom and Webex. As vehicles for facilitating learning, exercise and community as well as providing relatability and virtual presence, social media videos became a valuable resource during lockdown. Joe Wicks became a household name after regularly uploading PE videos intended to keep children fit and football watchalongs became a popular substitute for in-person match day atmosphere.
While Covid provided an impetus, technology was the enabler. As the popularity of video explodes, consumers expect their chosen content to be accessible anytime anywhere, using the device that best suits their needs. With the ascendancy of 5G, the extra bandwidth required for video is increasingly reliable.
The appeal of amateur video
TikTok enjoyed a meteoric growth that outpaced Facebook and WhatsApp reflecting the clear preference amongst social media users for video content. Its appeal lies in its ability to communicate and entertain using short UGC videos. While anyone with a phone can upload content, it also has commercial benefits as a channel for influencer marketing.
YouTube boasts 2.3 billion users worldwide after launching in 2005. 79% of internet users, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have their own YouTube account where they control the video narrative and receive global feedback. Whether it’s the #WithMe videos creating a sense of community or the sharing of real-time experiences like birthdays, YouTube viewers are watching over a billion hours of video every day as video increasingly plays a prominent role in how we navigate our lives.
AI continues to make its mark. DALL.E 2 is an AI that can create images based on natural language. This opens up the possibility of a huge number of new images being generated. It might not be long before this type of technology can create videos as well.
The impact on the industry
Research conducted by Davies Hickman for Avaya indicates that the Media & Entertainment industry is reshaping as a result of changing trends in technology and customer behaviour. Video game usage has grown as well as subscription video on demand and advertising paid for video streaming. Disney+, rolled out in November 2019, had 86m subscribers within a year while in 2020 Amazon Prime boasted 200m members and Netflix 192m subscribers worldwide.
Immersive reality, both augmented and virtual, is already being used in diverse settings from retail to medical and is expected to grow and diversify. AI is enabling much needed video search functions. Immersive storytelling and role-playing interactive video dramas like Minecraft and Fortnite are set to grow in both popularity and their demographic reach.
With Britons spending a third of their waking time watching tv and online videos, can the video culture continue to grow? Will consumers be faced with further choice or will the current providers refine their offerings? Will digital platform companies swallow up broadcasters and content producers?
A fortune teller armed with a crystal ball at the turn of the century would have been hard pressed to predict the video landscape today. However what is clear is the need for organisations to evolve the way they communicate with their customers, given these trends in video culture.
What next for video culture?