From Company Websites to Corporate Web TV Stations

How long will it be before corporations and media change their current websites into Web TV stations? This is a question I’ve been thinking about for quite a while now, and the more I analyze what is happening in Internet communications the more I believe that this is going to happen – and sooner rather than later.

The key driver behind this trend is of course the growing pervasiveness of web video, particularly the “two-minute video snack” that has been popularized by sites such as YouTube. As a result, we are already seeing companies such as ourselves and Intel and traditional newspapers like the Daily Telegraph add an increasing amount of video clips to their websites.

These, however, are still primarily driven by images and text with the video content as a peripheral component. In my opinion, the next logical step will be to make video the centerpiece of the website, just as it is in a TV station, with the text and images supporting it.

There are a number of reasons why this transition is taking place;

here are three key reasons why I think it won’t be too long before corporate websites are transformed into corporate web TV stations:

News & Information are Becoming Entertainment: It doesn’t matter whether you are launching a next-generation processor architecture or a new shampoo, you have to present information about your product in an entertaining manner in order to rise above the noise level and capture the attention of today’s increasingly demanding consumers. Video is the most effective way of doing this, particularly if you keep it short and snappy – preferably within a YouTube-friendly two minutes.

Consumers want to see the Real Face (or Faces) Behind the Company: Thanks to the rise of the multimedia and social networking applications (and perhaps the growing unpopularity of call centers), consumers and other stakeholders are increasingly asking to see the faces of the people that are working in the companies they engage with. Again, video is the most effective way for corporate executives and staff to show their face and communicate what they are doing.

Video Production, Editing, and Broadcasting Costs are rapidly Decreasing: We equipped our studio for well below $5,000, giving us the capability to shoot and render our videos in HD format. The only other major cost is staff time, but even that is being reduced as everyone becomes more familiar with the software and equipment. Broadcast costs are effectively zero as we utilize YouTube; there are plenty of other services to choose from. As more and more companies realize that the cost of producing video is no higher (and probably less) than for a printed newsletter, they will quickly move to the video format.

These are just three of the reasons why the corporate web TV trend is set to take off.

Christoph Derndorfer of epiacenter.com has written an interesting response on his personal  blog to my post yesterday summarizing three reasons why corporate web TV stations are set to take off. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to respond to the points Christoph raises in his article right now, but will try to do so at a later date.

While I am talking about video, Lee Gomes had some interesting comments in his latest Portals column in the Wall Street Journal yesterday (unfortunately the full article is available to WSJ subscribers only) on how even Hollywood film makers are using notebooks to do the final editing of movies:

“Video files are so demanding, editing computers used to cost tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of dollars. But …. even relatively low-end personal computers, laptops included, are now so powerful that Hollywood pros have joined student filmmakers and indies in taking advantage of them.

It’s one more example — along with music recording and graphic design — of the way cheap computers are blurring the distinction between professional and amateur tools.”

And the benefits of using PCs are not confined to simply reducing costs; they also made it possible for Angus Wall, editor of a recently released film called “Zodiac”, to “rethink and streamline the process. Right on the set, the digitized film went into a computer; after that, just a handful of people were involved. While the skills were different, coordinating the work of these editors and others wasn’t much more difficult than what happens in an average office with a typical PowerPoint presentation.”

So there you have it: digital video is becoming nearly as easy to do as PowerPoint. Having sat through more than my fair share of lifeless presentations over the years, I do have to wonder whether that’s such a good thing…..

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