A few days ago, I was asked about the different age groups and whether they were watching online video. I suppose another ways of putting it is who’s your target market and what’s the best way of reaching them? It’s almost embarrassing to find that my own generation is probably the least computer literate – people from about 35 to 60! When we were working with one client in Edinburgh, the CEO admitted that he was a technophobe. He had to use it but hated the idea. With this generation, the only solution is to use the KISS principle. If you want them to watch a video, you have to send an email with the link embedded in the text. All they have to do is point and click. Don’t ask them to find your video on YouTube – they won’t even try. Tell them about the wonderful new technology on your website and they’ll go blank. In this case, KISS means “Keep It Simple, they’re Scared!!!” Tomorrow, the “Silver Surfers”
There’s no doubt in my mind that people and firms should be encouraged to make their own videos — where appropriate. And that’s the key point. There are times where it is definitely not appropriate to do it yourself. Think of what your clients or customers would think if they agreed to let you make a feature on them as a case study — and you turn up with a handycam palmcorder!!! Think of what might be involved in making a video news release! That kind of material is increasingly going to be needed as the media, especially ITV in the UK, keeping cutting back. And while the head of an SME is likely to be happy being videod by another member of the team (it keeps the cost down), will the same be true of a Footsie 100 or Fortune 500 company? It’s all a question of horses for courses and chosing your runner carefully.
Making your own video is easy if all you want to do is get your message across straight to the webcam. But what if you want to do something a little more difficult. Here’s a video about how to make an online screen-based tutorial. By the way, the “ScreenToaster” software I mention is free. It works online and saves your video into a cloud instead of to your hard-drive.
This video was made in response to questions asked of me several times recently. Should we make videos ourselves to post on our own websites or on YouTube? That set me wondering what tools you would actually need…and came to the conclusion that just about everyone who owns a computer actually already has them. So don’t expect this short piece to look as though it meets broadcast standards. That’s not the object of the exercise. It’s here to show what can be done with the simplest tools available — and maybe to answer that question at the same time.
Until a few days ago, I’ve tended to upload video to YouTube and then point to them from my Facebook page. There were restrictions on Facebook over file size and length — you couldn’t post anything longer than 2 minutes, for instance. But over the weekend, I decided up upload a short piece about the dozens of sparrows that live in our garden…well, feed here anyway. And lo and behold, the rules have changed. They’re now even more flexible than YouTube. The file size is limited to just over 1Gb and each video can be no longer than 20 minutes long. IMHO, anyone who uploads a video that long is either being self-indulgent or lacks any editing skills. No-one apart from very close family is going to watch it. But it does offer much greater flexibility which could also make Facebook just as much a “video for business” tool as YouTube. Now that’s certainly worth discussing in greater depth.
I’m afraid this is going to be something of a rant…but why is it that so much “plug and play” just doesn’t? It’s expecially frustrating when you put a lot of time and effort into a presentation, turn up at the venue where you’re assured that “everything will work fine — we’re doing these all the time!!!” only to find that PC connection at the main stage is knackered and the only other one (at the back of the hall which means someone else has to hit the buttons) won’t let you play any sound…and since all of my presentations have to do with online video, sound is kind of important! The IT person clucks his or her tongue and says something like “it should be fine” (or something like that) but doesn’t actually have the knowledge to solve it. I can see I’m just going to have to buy all the kit and turn up with a completely self-contained package. However, it just should not be necessary. Rant over.
Now here are links to a couple of entertaining videos. The first’s been seen about 2m times on various outlets: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SmgLtg1Izw
The second has just made it into the Guardian’s Viral Video Charts. Looks like about 750k views in about two weeks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndYxBQXhNjI&feature=PlayList&p=613F6D2953609BFC&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=2
That’s all for the moment
What kind of videos should you think of making? Lord Reith, the first Director General of the BBC, had a maxim – that everything the BBC made had to inform, educate or entertain. That’s what you need to do with online videos as well. So should you make them yourselves? The answer to that is “it depends”. I know of companies that have been tempted to make their own with mixed success, the ones in the US adopting the technology much more successfully than their UK counterparts. One of the early success stories was a simple campaign that didn’t even start out as a campaign. Blendtec makes blenders for the commercial market in the US. They wanted to increase their sales. This is what they did http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qg1ckCkm8YI That’s an example of how a simple idea “Does it Blend?” – the first video hardly cost them anything to make – turned into a something viral.
Is YouTube a good business tool? OK there are lots of ways to waste time there but many of the companies who’re out there making their own videos at the moment are finding it very useful indeed. But why YouTube when there are other video sharing sites available. It’s simple. Look at the figures. Put YouTube and Google Video together and their market share is over 60% (you put the two together because they both part of the same company). A long way back, there’s the BBC iPlayer with something like 30% – but then you can’t post your own videos there. Yahoo video and MSN video have about 3% each. There are over 20 other video sharing sites. That means that companies like Daily Motion, Metacafe and the rest are fighting over the remaining 3-4%. QED!!!
Slightly worrying that the Scottish Government may be considering a tax on cycling. Look at pg 53 http://ping.fm/wuZk2