More Than 10 Billion Served

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The Revolution Will Be Televised….

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.

8 responses to “More Than 10 Billion Served

  1. 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…

    This is what I think is one of the key issues I agree with Michael. What one shooter considers meager payment another considers a decent wage. This is what I think is one of the gnawing issues with the detractors. They are used to being paid a certain level of wage for a certain way of shooting. There’s nothing wrong with that. As you have eluded many times (and I agree with it), the way video is shot – and is paid for – is changing and there will be much more content being produced for a lower cost. Those costs will be reflected in the overall billings a shooter is able to charge (and be paid).

    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, nimble 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.

    I’m seeing more and more of this coming to light for certain types of video content creation (specifically news type video’s online). I understand the position the detractors feel they have a right to take. As the new paradigm finds its footing, the kinds of content, the niche web broadcasting channels, the overall way content is delivered won’t resemble the old way of creating compelling content. In addition, since the overall cost of entry is reduced, the avenues by which content is created and delivered will be reflected in more content being produced and paid for – this will equate to not working a few days a month, but on a more regular basis. That few hundred dollars will translate to several thousand dollar per month – if the content is good, is shot in a way that is solid story telling and can be delivered on time and on budget.

    The people I interact with practice “Living Simply So Others May Simply Live” – myself included. That few hundred dollars you referred to becomes alot more in value due to a philosophical perspective of what is important. If you have a grandiose house, huge credit card debt, lots of gear, huge overhead, etc, then yes, it could appear being paid a few hundred dollars for your video work as not being much. Instead, I believe if you practice the less is more perspective, the agile nimbleness of the Solo VJ paradigm, using less to create more, including not complicating your life with excess material possessions, racking up huge personal/business debt, etc – then it becomes a worthwhile endeavor to make a living as a Solo Video Journalist.

  2. “… if you practice … not complicating your life with excess material possessions, racking up huge personal/business debt, etc – then it becomes a worthwhile endeavor to make a living as a Solo Video Journalist.”
    How un-American to suggest such a thing! Seriously, solo VJ’s may change the face of the internet, and Television, but are you actually suggesting that one has to limit one’s apetite for the good life in order to become a VJ? Then you really are looking for revolutionaries.
    More likely, if there is a way to capitalise on the new paradigm, then someone will find it and “Carpe Dollar”.
    Which brings to mind another dynamic: net neutrality. Can it continue? The powers that be have never been content to let the serfs have an equal voice.

  3. 250m x 4.5 = > 1billion

    so US consumes over 1 billion hours of TV daily – 30 billion hours monthly

    assuming avg web video is 3 minutes duration

    US consumes 10b/20 = .5 billion hours of web video monthly

    this represents an increase in consumption of under 2%.

    But it gets worse – a report published by the NEA 11/07 shows that 15-24 year olds in the US watch 2-2.5 hours of TV a day.

    Assuming your 2006 figure is correct seems like we are experiencing a massive decline in TV watching.

    oh dear…

  4. John Hatch said:

    …are you actually suggesting that one has to limit one’s apetite for the good life in order to become a VJ?

    You must be joking – right? What I’m eluding to is that it may very well require living within one’s means if one wants to work as part of the new VJ paradigm. Large budgets aren’t going to be as plentiful as they once were, it’s already happened with still shooters and it is beginning the same process with video content creators. This is going to require a new paradigm of creating video content in a fashion that falls in line with those budgetary constraints. Maybe that means practicing a little self control and living within ones means. From what I’ve seen of todays American society – that may not be such a bad thing.

    My question in return is – What constitutes living the “Good Life” as you call it? One persons “Good Life” is another’s gross excess.

    Peter – interesting statistics that seems to support the notion that Internet broadcasting and distribution is the new media outlet. Those who fall into the over 50 generation are the ones keeping newspapers and the pablum of mainstream television programming alive. It seems that anyone under that age group is realizing what the Internet is bringing to the table for choice – something that Michael has espoused on more than one occasion. From what responses I have read to date indicates those of the detractor persuasion seem to think that television is the pinnacle of the craft. I think that perspective is about to receive a major wakeup call within the next couple of years – as long as net neutrality is shored up and made permanent.

    YouTube is now providing better image quality and with such applications as Miro and Adobe Media Player, the ability to watch what you want when you want is going to create for the entrenched media moguls many a sleepless night trying to figure out how to play catch up. No longer will viewers be tied to someone else’s schedule for viewing the content they want to watch. Advertising is trying to figure out the best solution for this change in viewing habits – they have yet to determine the best course of action. Niche programming will bring small ad budgets and small production budgets – something Michael has said will happen and the research I’m finding so far supports that position.

  5. hmmm…

    In 2007 the top-10 websites received 99% of gross ad spending on the net.

    http://www.stateofthenewsmedia.org/2008/narrative_online_economics.php?cat=3&media=5

  6. Peter – I eluded to the topic of online advertising and how it’s restraining the development of Internet broadcasting. The original link used in my blog posting comes from Podcasting News, but I do think it does apply to online video content distribution as well.

  7. As a passing comment and a gentle nod to inevitability–
    · I was quite receptive to and in agreement with Etzel’s ideas on the future of video journalism and reality check on pay structures…pithy and sound
    · then bigotry got in the way…yes the Internet is a key media outlet which we all enjoy…all of us see its future value…and ‘what [it] is bringing to the table’…many of us work with pragmatism as our beacon on the way to possible success in video communication
    · aging is insidious and happens to the best of us, as it will you…know your over-50 demo before making sweeping statements that are not only hurtful but may cloud your journalism
    · a subjective bit of arrogance mars what you strive to report…your overall view seems on its way to prudent, objective analysis of media
    · ageism is something you will eventually feel (inevitability), and it won’t be fun…consider an open approach and let the best journalist communicate…the viewers ultimately choose which of us to watch.
    Quote Etzel: …Those who fall into the over 50 generation are the ones keeping newspapers and the pablum of mainstream television programming alive. It seems that anyone under that age group is realizing what the Internet is bringing to the table…
    Good luck in your journalism…stay youthful in your thoughts…
    c

  8. Carol – thanks for your insightful analysis. I’m prone to stagger and fall in my postings – when one has been on the other side of the fence – especially living in denial of the inevitable, one tends to become more subjective and vocal in their world view due to having lived what could be construed as “a lie”.

    Not sure what the bigotry comment eludes to but I’m open to hearing where I made a misstep so that I can learn from my mistakes and hopefully not repeat it😉

    I try to stay youthful in my thoughts as needed🙂

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