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How the Rise of Videos on Social Media is Changing Content Consumption Forever

January 23, 2017

If content is king, then video is the most powerful contender for the crown. Do you remember what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in September 2015,  when he streamed a public Q&A? He said he expects the society to enter the “golden age of video” over the next 5 years. Well, it’s happening. This, right now, is the future that he was referring to.


Anybody from the media and entertainment industry can tell you how content consumption has changed over the years. Back in the day when sportsmen retired, media outlets held press conferences, but now they just announce their retirement on Twitter. It’s because social media has the widest reach possible for their audiences.

There is a whole slew of new content offerings — from portability to living room convergence, from rental to ownership, from free to paid-for content. And yet, to our knowledge, we’re just hitting the tip of the iceberg.

Traditional print may not have suffered a complete knockout, but digital media has definitely given it a painful hit. While some old-hat editors may bemoan the imminent death of print journalism and smirk at this bold new form of content, there are some savvy media companies who are busy preparing for a digital transformation strategy to unlock new revenue sources. And let’s not forget the disruptive startups who are angling to ride the video wave so that they can grow and monetize user-generated video content.

The Social Business

You can see the effects video is having everywhere. The linear, programmed, broadcast model is taking a backseat with the rise of VOD (on-demand) distribution apps. No wonder CBS decided to revive Star Trek on CBS All Access, its VOD service.

It’s not just the media industry which finds its content delivery paradigm changing; it can be seen across the entire business landscape. Just take a look at how businesses use video marketing on social media to reach out to prospective clients.

Videos that were once synonymous with YouTube are now exploding on all other social media apps, so much so that videos have become a cornerstone of their strategies. To give you an idea about the video appetite of our generation, consider these facts:

– Youtube has over a billion users;
– Snapchat users watch 10 billion videos every day;
– Facebook reports that video posts have 135% more organic reach compared to photo posts; and
– Instagram saw 5 million videos being uploaded in the first 24 hours of introducing videos

With so many videos being consumed daily, the time is ripe for companies in the media and entertainment industry to produce differentiated content. According to PwC, videos generated about $420 billion globally in subscriptions and advertising in 2015. Studios should take a cue and realize the revenue potential of video and live streaming services.

Besides the entertainment value, videos are also becoming popular marketing tools that facilitate discussion and bring about collaboration. This opens up a new channel for advertisers, viewers and independent distributors to create and consume content and directly engage with consumers. Since fans are the force that drive the media industry, advertisers can treat it as a unique opportunity to cut through the content overload and create meaningful videos to better engage fanbases and earn their loyalty.

Mobile is Pushing the Frontiers of Engagement

And the number one driver of this change in content consumption? Obviously, the smartphone. It has made everyone a video producer and a distributor. Using the phone’s camera to shoot videos and share with friends on social media has empowered the average user. Live streaming (all thanks to 3G/4G networks and the ubiquitous public Wi-Fi) has become a phenomenon on social media and has led to what is being called a rising class of citizen journalists.

The confluence of cloud computing, the app ecosystem, tablets and social media are already fuelling the demand for video content. And it will only accelerate further with the increase of open-source software, interoperable platforms and non-proprietary tools. According to Cisco’s report The Zettabyte Era – Trends and Analysis, mobile data traffic will increase eightfold between 2015 and 2020. That is almost three times as fast as fixed IP traffic. With consumer video-on-demand (VOD) traffic also predicted to nearly double by 2020, there is no better time than now to start leveraging the power of video.

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