Statistics regarding the web’s transformation of video distribution boggle the mind—over 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute; video is over 66% of all traffic today (on a path to 80% 2018); over 50 billion online video views in the December 2013 in the US; and so on.
But despite the web’s upheaval of video distribution, video presentation has changed remarkably little over time. True, the YouTube video “store” has orders-of-magnitude more videos than its 1990s Blockbuster counterpart, but the way we select and interface with video content remains largely the same: all we can do is just scan title-level information (i.e., name, description, picture, duration), and play, pause, fast-forward and rewind the linear content.
Meanwhile the web has transformed not only the distribution, but also the production and presentation of the once print-only media of text, graphics, images—from desktop publishing to a screen into finely-tune instruments of audience targeting and interaction. How? In large part by loosely coupling content, presentation and analytics—enabling a highly dynamic ecosystem of localization, personalization, profiling and commerce driven by big data.
It’s about time for web video to stop working like VCR and start working in concert with other web media. When it does, the medium of video, and the web itself, will never be the same again.
To work like—and with—the rest of the web, video needs to become more:
- Discoverable: the contents within a video need to be presented in a way that humans and search engines, alike, can understand and consume.
- Browsable: viewers need to be empowered to choose what parts of videos to watch—in any order they choose—just as they do with web pages.
- Interactive: consuming video needs to be an active process of engagement, not just a passive viewing experience.
- Dynamic: video needs to be responsive to the context and device within which it’s presented—and, ultimately, personalized and localized.
- Trackable: publishers (i.e., anyone with a web page) need to know not just that a video was viewed, but also how, by whom, for what reasons and with what results.
To be clear, we’re not talking about video produced for entertainment or art. The web won’t personalize Gone with the Wind any more than it did Hamlet. But when it comes to information-oriented content—whether it’s public or private, or B2B or B2C—the medium of video must, and will, change.
Vinja was founded on the premise that video is the cusp of transformation; and our mission is to accelerate and shape that transformation on behalf of our business customer. We’ve recently taken our first steps on this journey by releasing the public Beta of our cloud-based software, open to all. We’ve started with the simple notion that adding chapters and tags to videos will make them easier to find, browse, view, share and track. Over time, we’ll be layering on more functions and value that make video a true, first-class citizen of the web.
Please join us on our journey—and help guide us with feedback and suggestions early and often!