The Current State of Online Video

Talk about hitting fast-forward. In less than a decade, the online video space has morphed from a novelty enjoyed by those lucky enough to have broadband Internet connections to a major entertainment channel that influences pop culture. So much has happened that it’s worthwhile to pause, assess the current state of online video and suggest ways marketers can tap into this opportunity.

But first, let’s look at a few statistics that reinforce online video is a trend brands should not ignore.

Impact on Traditional TV?
The above stats, plus the success of streaming television services like Netflix and Hulu, have lead some to declare the death of traditional (or linear) television. Needless to say, this declaration is a bit premature. As Adweek points out, linear television and online video are mutually dependent. Specifically, online video relies on linear television for a great deal of its content. Even the NewFronts, online’s answer to the upfronts, seem to prove that television and online video are converging, not competing.

That said, professionally-produced, original content is drawing a significant audience to online video platforms. Netflix’s “House of Cards” was well-received critically. According to a recent Nielsen study, 3.75 million households have even gone off the grid. They no longer receive television programming from traditional sources. And while they still have a television set, they use it for watching entertainment, playing video games and surfing the Web.

What Should Marketers Do?
Marketers should take a cue from Netflix and Hulu and start creating original online video content. According to Say Media, “the brands that truly turn themselves into publishers are the ones that have the best chance at cost effective brand engagement and creating true brand ambassadors.” That means a 15-second pre-roll spot tacked onto a YouTube video isn’t going to cut it. Brands have to tell a compelling story that resonates with their consumers.

Some brands are getting it. Heineken’s “Dropped” campaign is a series of videos showing what happens when men are dropped outside their comfort zones. Say Media liked Oreo’s “Separator Machine” videos. They’re just two examples of brands testing and learning in the online video space.

This post is the first of our series on Web video. Stay tuned for a discussion on how to measure online video and a look at two online video sites and an app that stand out from the crowd.

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Melissa Booth
Melissa Booth

I believe good content either informs or entertains. Great content does both. As Managing Editor for Media is Power and Empower MediaMarketing, I strive to make sure everything here hits that sweet spot as closely as possible. I've spent a decade-plus in the marketing industry and like to think I've developed a taste for content of all types -- good, great and otherwise.