Posted: 2012-02-17 17:41:01
It seems like YouTube and its video content is gearing up to be the future of Television, with a paid-for offering not too far away.
According to YouTube, the vast majority of people will be watching telly over the internet before long. Within a few years, they also claim, 90 percent of all internet traffic will be video.
That is of course data traffic, it does not necessarily mean eyeballs - if you pull up a page and sit reading it, the traffic has already happened. The traffic occurs when you download the page.
Not true of video, of course: as you watch, each minute consumed is a minute of internet traffic. It may be that the 90% of traffic envisaged is all telly and humorous clips of dogs and people of alternative reason, but I think the implication is also there that video will be more prevalent on sites in general.
Why have video content on a website then?
Well a bit of movement and a short clip often enhances content, but my concern would be when video replaces text entirely.
Using video only can be very tempting in some cases as it seems to cut down the time it takes to get the content across. However, that approach does not work in every case.
A classic example of video content misuse can be in user instruction.
Here it currently has a stronger hold than in other areas on the web. The misapprehension is that showing the user a video saves time and confusion and just gets to the money so much more quickly and efficiently. This, in many instances, is not the case.
For example, if you just need a small amount of information to make sense of a function, sitting through a 10 minute routine is frustrating and time taking. If you don't watch the full presentation, it can still take you 10 minutes of fast forwarding and reversing to find the bit of information you want. Not only that, there is nothing to take away.
At least with a written instruction you can print off a page and write on it. If it is text you can search through it; if it is just a bunch of videos, the titling has to be spot on. Or alternatively the meta data has to be fully comprehensive and searchable - and it rarely is.
Video is more often than not brilliant for training, but you have to offer the text / transcript as an option.
If we take this idea forward and say that a greater percentage of website 'content', not just traffic, will be video content then we may be entering a very frustrating world that may perversely undermine the very foundations of the search empire that Google (the owner of YouTube) is built upon.
Oddly enough something similar has happened before. The internet is not really that old, but back in the late '90s, when Flash started to take hold, there was a very strong philosophy abroad that basically said "because we can we should".
As a consequence a lot of money was spent on resource hungry websites that basically just ground to a halt on the dial up connections commonly used at the time. A great deal of back tracking occurred shortly afterwards with Flash rich sites being rebuilt as primarily static sites with a Flash component, or even none.
With streaming technology now well advanced and broadband availability almost (but not quite) universally available, the future will not be quite the same, but we may well find that, after a while, thoughtlessly switching to a predominantly video version of the internet starts to work against all of us and we will then have to think again.
In the not too distant future, video content will be very dominant on websites and social media alike.
Despite this, it may still not be the answer for every communication problem.
The reader / viewer should always have a choice. Before thoughtlessly adding video content to your website, think it through first to make sure that it is complementary to you message and intent.
If you would like more information, get in touch with TTMG Internet.