Online video: The long and short of it

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Are you ready for your close-up? There’s a new online video kid in town.

The latest addition to social media video jungle is IGTV, Instagram’s new function that aims to turn its one billion active monthly users into budding movie makers and broadcasters.

Instagram is on the rise, with a third of those users getting involved on its network every single day, so it’s no surprise that they’ve joined the online video rodeo.

In keeping with the tone of Instagram in general, IGTV is all about a fun, pulpy, light experience attracting big brands and key influencers keen to get in on the latest-thing buzz.

It offers long-form video, but the emphasis is on keeping it light with simple production values: point, shoot, grab some attention.

Netflix, for instance, posted an hour-long clip on IGTV of teen actor Cole Sprouse eating a burger. Nearly a million people tuned in. Shallow? Maybe. Irreverent? Without doubt. Perfectly targeted? Definitely.

It’s another example of the personalisation of media consumption, the latest wave in the Great Connection.

IGTV is, of course, the latest in a long line of online video platforms that have caught the zeitgeist for a time.

The much-missed Vine probably started the ball rolling with its short-form snap shots of life, before Periscope surfaced and sank it.

News organisations across the world are still engaging with Facebook Live. YouTube remains the daddy.

What is surprising about IGTV is the decision to go for a longer-form of video. After all, this is a network where stories vanish after 24 hours.

In general, long form video seems to be on the wain when it comes to social media and news platforms.

Quality productions will always have their place in the corporate world and new technologies will ensure that video firms keep pace with the changing landscape.

Events, internal comms and explainer pieces will continue to provide a market for high-end video.

One firm keeping up with the increasing personalisation of media consumption is Sutton Coldfield’s Ark Media.

They are offering a video advertising concept that addresses the viewer personally, by name, as well as drawing in personal data such as pictures and websites.

The growth in 360 video also offers an immersive, personal experience to showcase products and services.

But when it comes to mass media, shorter videos rule the roost, and in a world ruled by smart phones quality is no longer an issue.

Everyone is a videographer. Audiences are willing to accept phone footage regardless of how flaky it is – as long as the content grabs them.

Big news brands want video, as it is becoming a major source of revenue as print and traditional TV shrinks.

The reason is simple – they can pre-roll premium advertising slots before their own videos start to play.

It’s predicted that in the US, by 2020 TV’s share of ad revenue will fall below one third of the market, as online advertising grows.

In the UK, all of the major news outlets build pre-roll advertising on their web offering. Every news story needs an accompanying clip.

So, they need videos. They are less concerned about length and not too fussy about quality.

The PR secret is to create engaging content that complements the story. Hard to digest?

In a world where an hour-long clip of an actor eating a burger can attract hundreds of thousands of viewers, that may actually be easier to swallow than it sounds.