This isn't surprising. Weaned on words, some publishing people, especially editorial types like me, are having a hard time embracing the new, multimedia reality. In fairness to my colleagues, there's a tactical problem, too. Thinly staffed editorial departments are overstretched already handling the demands of their Internet properties, which have taken on an increasingly central role for readers and advertisers alike. Editors and reporters already—makes them nostalgic for the days when all they needed to worry about was having a fresh notebook and a working pen.
But like it or not, video is a reality. Publishers and advertisers that don't get with the program will miss out on a key way of communicating with their audiences (readers, customers and prospects). This is particularly true of younger audiences, whose consumption habits on the Web are fundamentally different than those of their older siblings and parents.
Consider these stats, courtesy of eMarketer:
2006 will be the banner year for online video ad spending growth, posting a 71.1% increase over 2005. Year-to-year growth in 2007 and 2008 will be 68.8% and 69.2%, respectively.
YouTube.com has grown from 58,000 users in August 2005 to more than 12 million in May 2006, according to comScore Media Metrix. Nielsen//NetRatings said YouTube's visitor rate is even higher; it reported that the site got 20 million unique visitors in May, more than half of whom were between the ages of 35 and 64.
News videos were by far the most downloaded online video type (72%), outpacing short clips from movies or TV programs (59%), according to an Associated Press and America Online report released in September.
Online video advertising as a percent of U.S. total online advertising spending will grow from 2.3% this year to 3.2% in 2007, 4.7% in 2008, 6.2% in 2009 and 8.0% in 2010.
One final thought: Raw feeds. There's been a clear shift among marketers and publishers away from treating the Web as an afterthought (repurposing broadcast advertisements on Web sites) to producing video specifically for Web consumption. An interesting next phase, I believe, will be video that captivates the audience with the same seemingly unedited "reality" of reality TV programs. Consider two possibilities for a CEO interview on a Web site. In one, a corporate leader drones on about his or her vision for the future. In the other, the CEO is shown walking through one of the company's factories, talking off-the-cuff with employees about their jobs, the marketplace and the company's future. Which would you rather watch?
Ellis Booker is editor of BtoB and Media Business and can be reached at email@example.com.