The Wall Street Journal reports on Wednesday, March 5th that:
“in December, Internet users watched more than 10 billion videos online, according to comScore Inc. – one of the single heaviest months for online video consumption since comScore began tracking it in 2006.
As that is such an astonishing number, let me run that past you one more time, in bold:
“In December, Interent users watched more than 10 billion videos online.”
Clearly, the appetite for this stuff is limitless, and we are just at the very start of video online.
We are a video-driven society. While the average American watched more than 4.5 hours of TV a day (a day) in 2006, the average American household bought only 1 book per year. We are a video driven culture, and as video migrates faster and faster to the web, we are going to spend even more time watching video.
This raises two question:
First, who is going to make all of this stuff?
That is, who is going to provide this massive, almost incomprehensible volume of content to the web?
and second: who is going to make all of this stuff?
The second question raises far more interesting implications in terms of information, journalism and politics.
The first question is easy enough to answer. There will clearly be a growing market for video content, and it will be made by those who can manage to deliver both quality and meet a market cost point that is commensurate with the realities of a 10 billion+ videos a month universe. This is a demand that is not going to be filled by conventional production companies, nor by production crews repleat with expensive gear, vans, teams of soundmen and grips and folks who take a full day (at several thousand dollars per day) to elicit 2-3 soundbites. It will be filled by folks who are talented, nible and equipped with a small camera and a laptop edit system – who can crank out a video, finished in an hour or three, and who consider getting a few hundred bucks for their time well worth it.
This the market will drive, and it is inevitable.
The more interesting question is one of content.
Until now, this most powerful engine for political discussion, public discourse and debate has been in the hands of about a dozen people – from Matt Lauer to Viacom to GE.
For a democracy, this is an act of insanity, if not suicide. We would certainly never accede to placing our free press in the hands of GE and Matt Lauer – but we do it without a second thought in the far more pervasive (and persuasive) world of video.
As video democratizes, both through the web and through increasingly inexpensive gear, it is critical that people rise up, so to speak, and Carpe Medium – that is, seize the medium, take control of the content, and vastly expand who gets to say what, both online and on air.