In a client meeting after introducing myself and my background in broadcast and documentary – he was pleased when I said that now I’ve moved into digital I’m unlearning a lot of what made me hireable in broadcast.
Digital video, YouTube, and social video audiences want video that is authentic, they want video that is engaging, and they want to be part of a community with the people who’ve made it. Already these three values rarely feature at all in most broadcast programme making.
When commissioning a TV programme it is guaranteed to be scheduled into a channel and have an audience. When considering online video viewing clients assuming they have an existing audience waiting for their next video is crazy. For too long agencies and production houses have created ‘an expensive video’ that the client has placed on their website and put on their YouTube ‘channel’ expecting it to be watched and if they spent a lot of money… go viral. Times have changed. Your audience is no longer captive like a TV audience during Coronation Street, you need to pay for your video to be seen by the right people at the right time.
A lot of money has been wasted because there hasn’t been sufficient understanding of what video can actually do digitally as part of your marketing mix.
Promoted vs Organic
Telling a well positioned story doesn’t come naturally to everyone but once having that cracked isn’t enough either. Keeping all your art hanging on your own walls will never provide opportunity for people to see it. So make sure you allocate enough budget to promote your content.
Authentic, what authentic is, has changed. People want to be able to see that you genuinely believe what you’re saying. The traditional interview is arguably on it’s last legs. Audience want to see the cameras and they don’t care if the video contains hard cuts or text on the screen because it feels real. In addition the videos are often part of a wider story, a never ending narrative. There is still space for a modernist well crafted story or advert but this type of content isn’t being shared in the same way.
Engaging – the meaning of this word has changed with current content. Being sent a short throwaway video on WhatsApp becomes engaging because the sender expects a response from the recipient(s) of that video. Or the inclusion of that video in a Twitter stream hopes their followers retweet or like their post. People want a conversation, to be spoken with, not spoken at.
Community – the popularity of Twitter or Reddit’s ‘Ask me anything’, the interaction fans can have with individuals on Periscope all highlight that people want access.
YouTube actively encourage collaboration between YouTubers – from a business point of view this makes absolute sense, fans who like xx are then introduced to yy view xx and watch xx and yy as a result – meaning audience spend more time on YouTube and therefore increase the value of the platform. From a users point of view, people want to be introduced to people they can relate to, or are educated or entertained by. Word of mouth becomes part of the culture of video making itself. Imagine if Eastenders included some characters from Hollyoaks… dreams can come true…
Bruce Springsteen at Wembley Stadium filled the place, but arguably the nicest parts of the concert was when he invited Londoners to sing into the mic on stage which included a primary school girl and a hipster in his thirties.
Broadcast standards are no bad thing, a little more grand, before painting abstract know how to paint fine art, but don’t be afraid to lay down some of the important tenants you lived by previously, like a sequence, matching cameras, eyeline etc.