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Video is no longer a spectator sport

When it comes to video consumption, our habits have profoundly changed in the last four decades. The quality and type of content have changed. Where once we watched movies on large screens in local theater venues, today we can consume them on devices that fit into our pocket. But if we put aside the type of content and where we watch it for the moment, it is our approach to video consumption that has changed more than anything else.

Traditional media used to impose rigid limits in terms of time and space. To see The Blues Brothers at the movies, or The A-Team on our TVs, we were asked to commit ourselves to a certain amount of time, at a specific time. Today, we view movies and TV shows when we want, where we want, and enjoy the luxury of starting, stopping and replaying as desired. Furthermore, with today’s new technologies, not only can the content shown be directed to a target audience, but even more powerful the content within the video can be made relevant for every viewer. And with the growth of digital video rising at 8.2% for a viewing population of 2.15 billion in 2017, the meteoric growth in video viewing will continue to drive as much individualization as possible.

The passive spectator

From the viewer’s behavioral point of view, watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation or Twin Peaks was a passive experience, equal for everyone. It was regulated by broadcast transmission rhythms with one linear stream followed by another, and regularly intermixed with commercials.

While watching, we could get distracted by friends and family, what we might have called “multi-tasking” in those days. But, overall, both the cinema and the home television experiences were linear activities, in which the audience’s behavior in front of the screen was largely predictable.


Flash forward

2017. A millennial is on his lunch break and receives a link on Whatsapp from a friend. He opens it, and finds himself watching an episode of Orange is the New Black on Youtube. He likes the episode with a click. At the end of the video, Youtube’s autoplay suggests that he view a Game of Thrones deleted scene but, before it begins, a pre-roll advertisement shows that the fourth season of House of Cards is now available on Netflix.

5 pm. On the train, our digital native starts to watch the new Frank Underwood’s adventures on his tablet. Right after a cliffhanger, he tweets using the hashtag #houseofcards. He stops the episode half way through, as an Instagram notification pops up on his screen – he’s been tagged by a friend in an Ice Bucket Challenge. He resumes the episode once home, on his sofa (that, at least, hasn’t changed much), where he splits his attention between the White House adventures and his friends’ comments on his Facebook news feed.

The active spectator

Maybe House of Cards’ conspiracy plot won’t seem completely new to the X-files’ fans. Just like the no-holds-barred violence, treason and fights in the narrative of Game of Thrones won’t sound particularly innovative to those who watched war movies back in the days. What really fascinates people apparently hasn’t changed. But what has changed is the behavior associated with video consumption, a process that has undergone a sudden, and dramatic evolution.

The new modalities with which we approach video content are both active and selective. They are active inasmuch communication, thanks to digital media, has become bidirectional, allowing the user (not a mere “spectator” any longer) to join a collective conversation (see the aforementioned millennial’s tweet), able to communicate on multiple channels at the same time – true multi-tasking. And it is selective because, in the time of information overload and “always-on” connectivity, the user expects to have specific content whenever and wherever he wants, splitting his time and attention – which are limited – between a potentially infinite series of content, accessible via a plethora of different devices.

Video marketing

Clearly, this transformation offered both new possibilities and challenges not only to producers and directors in the entertainment industry, but also to marketing and communication professionals, who had to re-think their strategies for proper interaction with their target audience.

The real challenge for marketers today is, above all, to grab the users’ intermittent attention. Not an easy task, if we take into account the information overload to which we are subjected on a daily basis.

If the cathode tube was like an orator speaking in front of a quiet and alert audience, today’s videos uploaded on platforms such as Youtube or Facebook are just a holler in a distracted, confused and hyperactive crowd, whose attention is the Holy Grail of all communication strategies.

For this very reason, many companies have rethought their communication approach. The easy-accessible high-speed internet connectivity, rampant mobility, and innovative platforms gave a jolt of new life to video content, which is getting a lot of attention not only in the entertainment industry, but in business as well.

Video content in the digital age

The digital age has finally freed the video format from the television’s clutches, allowing companies to exploit storytelling as an engagement tool to pursue various goals and replace older and inefficient forms of communication.

Therefore, we are now seeing videos having increasing importance in contexts normally dominated by traditional communications, such as promotions of new offers, welcome and educational messages for new clients, and customer service.

An effective solution

To grab the attention of today’s digital consumers – who are active, selective, and “always-on” – high-quality content becomes pivotal. But it’s not enough. A video, although well crafted, will be able to achieve its goals only if the message is properly adapted to the final user.

For this reason, Doxee introduced an innovative solution, Personalized Videos, for which a video can be created ad hoc for each specific user, revitalizing traditional forms of communication, which are the weakest links in the company-client relationship.

Doxee Personalized Videos are specifically designed to engage and retain customers within the contemporary digital ecosystem. Through the use of text-to-speech and an interactive, mobile-supported interface, you can speak directly to customers engaging them through clear, concise, easily-accessible messages. Through user-directed storytelling, you can empower customers to decide what content to view based on their interests. And within the video itself, you can continue the conversation through embedded links to deeper web content and direct contact.

The video landscape has drastically changed over the last few years and reached a point where consumers can control what content they see, when they see it, and how they interact with it. The change opens up new opportunities for companies seeking break though communication strategies that capture interest, evoke action and make a measurable difference in the bottom line.

Find out here how the Doxee Difference can drive new business opportunities for your company.

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