Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Coming of age - Online Video

Online video the world over has come of age and India (for a change) is not too far behind!
Be it broadcasters who are meeting fan’s needs by streaming live games over the Internet or posting videos of recorded programming on their sites or news channels encouraging citizen journalism with people posting videos of their experiences to share with others or people communicating their life experiences with others through vlogs (video blogs).

Take a look at some of the famous recent examples of media and consumer generated video that have generated a positive buzz in markets in India:

The Mentos Helpline website is a congregation of hilarious videos of models posing as ‘know-all’ call centre executives who have whacko answers to all readers' questions and problems. It's hysterical and successful!

Pepsi Blue Billion exclusive cricketer videos: Pepsi shot the cricketers giving candid answers to interesting questions – they had Dhoni singing his favorite song and Yuvi chanting ‘ooh aah India’. The videos were made exclusively available on the website. They also covered the entire Blue Billion Express experience and made the videos available online. They capped it up superbly with a ‘live webcast’ of the Cheer-a-thon – the send off to the Men in Blue!

The Big V concert Blogumentary: asked the audience and music fans to use phones and digital cameras to record the live performances which were then aired on a special show. Fans followed through and it's a superb example of how consumer-generated compelling content can be used in a well-planned, integrated campaign: a standout mix of marketing and social experience.
It's all just part of life: you go to a concert and record your experience; and your content informs other viewers about the event, the sponsors, the platform... the content spread virally and showcased how passionate and creative fans can be.

Sunsilk GOG TV: this ones all over the Sunsilk TVCs as well where they are calling girls to showcase their directorial capabilities by uploading videos they have directed. A perfect case of building brand relevant entertainment.
This is how ‘smart’ marketing is today, and how a successful marketing strategy will look like in the near future.

Apart from the above there have been instances of live matchcasts and live streaming of the FinMin’s budget speech. News sites like CNN IBN post videos of interesting news bytes and also invite users to participate by sending in their videos as a part of their Citizen Journalist program.
Vlogs for long have been the voice of bloggers – be it analysis, commentary, passion, observations – vlogs have thrived across the internet and now they have grown into a creative domain.

What does the proliferation of online videos augur for marketers?
Online videos for one broaden the audience base and gives the advertiser the opportunity to reach out to a dedicated fan base. Also it gives scope to content that might never be broadcast on television. Most of the content is free to view and thus has many takers.

Most video programs come with ad-supported models and sponsorship opportunities.
Alternatively ideas around user generated videos can be used as a part of a great marketing program.

It is important to keep the following in mind to get the most out of online videos.
- Better broadband penetration in markets like India is opening up the scope of using videos optimally – there are some great new technologies that create light and easily downloadable videos a reality today.
- Increase your site’s video feed capacity
- Increase the size of the video player on the site
- increase the bit rate to improve the quality of the video

So what’s new in the world of Vlogs? Episodic video. More about it in my next blog. Till then keep Viewing!
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