Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Big (Show) Business

I ran across this article today. While I think the price point on this is a bit high, it's definitely a step in the right direction regarding the use of video in the workplace. Rich and I have long said that video is a key ingredient for corporate communications. This is a perfect example of a technology provider stepping up to bridge the gap between creating the message and disseminating it. (Cisco is currently known mostly for their networking hardware and software: routers, security products, switches, bridges, etc.)

Someone asked me a couple of weeks ago if the explosion of D.I.Y. video hurts our business at all. In fact, products like the one Cisco is developing are actually good for businesses like Tube, because the more prevalent and necessary video becomes, the more opportunities it will create for us. Investing a quarter of a million dollars in the new Cisco technology is probably not practical for most of us (I'm factoring $133K for the equipment and another $100,000+ to hire people to do the actual production work), but the concept is one-size-fits-all.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Short Is The New Long

In our blog entry on September 5th, we mentioned that, in most cases, "shorter is better" when creating your video message. To underscore that point, I'd like to share this site. Brilliant. Funny. And short. I marvel at how much they could jam into thirty seconds or less.

Caution: this is a time-waster! You'll end up watching all the clips on this site; most are safe for work.

Thanks to my friend Dan for sharing this with me. Not to imply, of course, that Dan is watching cartoons instead of working...


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Got Clips?

In the upper corner of my web browser, I have a drop-down menu for RSS feeds. It's mostly news from different sources: CNN, the New York Times, CNet, and others. In the past few weeks alone, I've seen many stories relating to video. Among them:

MySpace plans to use their video service to rival YouTube

Microsoft plans to launch a video service to rival YouTube

NewsCorp plans to launch a video service to rival YouTube (are you picking up on a theme here?)

• Taking the more direct route, CBS has announced they are looking to purchase "the next YouTube"

Apple launched their new iPods and a new movie download service

If I can offer you any practical business advice from all of this it's:

a) don't build a business plan around launching a video service to rival YouTube and b) if you're not already doing it, work some video into your marketing and communications efforts.

Video is no longer a luxury or a high-end-only component. Even if the stuff posted on YouTube or MySpace is goofy, it's made video as a form of expression ubiquitous. Now it's expected, and if you're not including it in your plans, you're missing out on a vital element of communication with your customers, your employees, your colleagues and your vendors.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Post with Somewhat More Value

While not strictly "video" (it's Flash), Breathing Earth illustrates a simple, effective use of visuals to convey information.

It's also one of the coolest sites I've ever seen.


Monday, September 11, 2006

A Post of No Particular Value

I can't really tie these clips together in any meaningful way, except to say that if you are planning to produce or appear in a video:

1) Keep it simple. Simple can still be interesting.

2) If you're not comfortable on-camera, consider hiring an actor, although there are no guarantees.

3) Always maintain your professionalism, no matter what.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Short is Sweet

When meeting with a new client, one of the first questions we'll usually ask during the fact-finding process is "Have you thought about duration?" Or, conversely, the client will open the conversation with, "I'm looking for a 30-minute video." It's funny, for some reason "30 minutes" seems to be standard lingo for "longer than a commercial."

Truth is, 30 minutes can be a very long time. Lots of folks don't realize that - even an average half-hour sitcom is only 22 minutes long. Shorter is better. Most viewers have an attention span of approximately eight minutes. Anything longer, and unless your content is truly compelling, chances are you'll lose them. With the increased presence of web-based, online video, the need to keep things brief is more crucial than ever

You may or may not be a member of your own target audience, but when you're planning your next video project, it can't hurt to think about what you'd be willing to watch in order to gain information or look at a new product.

Here's a trick: when you think you've given up all the information you have to give, pull back and start cutting. Always keep your viewers wanting more, and you'll almost guarantee yourself an audience.