As a storytelling medium video is pretty unbeatable. It can be emotive, humourous or informative or any combination of the above.
The format varies hugely — from seven-second pre-roll to 30-second TVC, web series or feature film.
And as a format, when it comes to video, you can do a little with a lot. Viral videos, high profile advertising campaigns and guerilla marketing content made using consumer-grade shooting methods are showing that, as ever, it’s the good idea that’s the thing, not necessarily the tools of the trade.
But how is the changing landscape affecting those do make such content for a crust? iPhone ubiquity has increased the volume of content out there; has it lowered the perceived value of it too?
“The way people are consuming media has definitely changed,” says Sam Stuchbury, founder of creative agency Motion Sickness.
“There are so many platforms now — social media, YouTube, streaming services — it’s all opened up more room for distribution of video and people are really hungry for it.”
“But it has become so saturated that you actually have to work harder to capture people’s attention — that's becoming the hardest part, making people actually want to watch your video in the first place.”
“But video can communicate information, or a feeling or a brand in ways that many other mediums just can’t. It’s the classic ‘if a picture is worth 1000 words, then a video is worth a million’.”
The stats back Stuchbury up here: 100 million hours of video watched every day on Facebook. 10 billion Snapchat videos watched per day. 80 percent of all global internet traffic? Video.
And it’s a format made for commerce.
“Visual content has become a go-to for marketers to engage consumers,” says Glen Real, executive producer at animation and production outfit Yukfoo.
“It can explain a business’s offering, communicate a brand or be used to help people conceptualise nuanced ideas easily and without pages and pages of written text.”
“For us, the rise of visual content has seen us draw on all our skills as creators, and this, coupled with advances in technology has meant that we can do these things more easily than ever before.”
Marketers are beginning to understand both that opportunity and the challenge that goes along with it. According to Hubspot, 88 percent of marketers using video are preparing to increase their spend over the next twelve months. 90 percent of professional marketers say they feel that the level of “competition and noise” for video has increased over the past year.
“The standard brief has changed,” says Kate Roydhouse, managing director and executive producer with production company Curious Film.
“In truth, there is no ‘standard brief’ anymore.”
“Globally speaking the market has been going through big, tough changes over the last few years,” says Roydhouse.
“Yes, ‘streamline’ is definitely a buzzword at the moment, but this is not specific to production companies,” says Roydhouse. “Clients and agencies are needing to do the same. It’s just part of the industry change we’re going through.”
Always on, video is changing the 'how' and 'when' we consume content. Viewers have screens big and small vying for their attention 24/7, and different platforms allow for entirely different types of storytelling and engagement, so for producers, it’s rapidly becoming about getting as much as possible out of each and every shoot.
“Not every brand needs a 30’ TVC, not every brand needs a 16:9 spot, not every shoot needs the same type of crew. We are — and everyone else needs to be — agile, nimble, and constantly adapting.”
“The biggest change is the approach — every job is completely different and needs a completely different, out-of-the-box solution.”
“So bespoke solutions are the way of the future,” explains Roydhouse.
It’s disruption baby, and all that flux is creating a moment of unique pressure in the industry as creatives, producers and clients alike rush to embrace the possibilities of the format du jour.