Monday, March 16, 2015

Make Videos Or Die



With SXSW here again, it's an appropriate time for us to take a moment and ponder what the future of our business might be.

Okay, stop. The answer is so obvious I'm surprised it even took you that long.

The future of our business is video.

When people use the word 'Content', what do they mean? Videos.

What are consumers doing on Facebook nowadays? Watching videos (hey, it helps that they just play without me even having to click on them!)

What's the world's Number 3 website, after Google and Facebook? YouTube. Where people go to watch videos.

And guess what? People are still watching a hell of a lot of TV, aka moving pictures, aka videos.

Please note, I'm not decrying the innovative/tech stuff that comes out of SXSW. Like this Tinder idea where a woman who may or may not be a robot starts talking to you, and it's actually a promotion for a new sci-fi movie. I'm just placing my own bet on which tech trend is going to have the most profound effect on our industry. And I'm betting screen-agnostic video.

So far so good - agencies have a long history of producing moving pictures. But the problem is, our expertise is in making expensive videos, infrequently, whereas the big demand from brands today is to make inexpensive videos, more frequently.

We need to grow this expertise and we need to grow it quickly.

BBH is often ahead of the game - they've just set up Black Sheep Studios to do this.

I see more and more agencies doing something similar. Good. I do believe, as I wrote in the title of this piece, that we need to start making videos or die. Well, 'die' is a strong word. But we'll definitely wither, if we lose this huge slice of work to other providers.

The effect on us Creatives could be massively positive - it's an opportunity to start doing a new job, that will genuinely be super-fun.

Here's what I mean - these videos need to be cheaper, so we need to mash some of the existing roles together. The two basic skill-sets are 'being creative' and 'getting shit done'. So I see one role that is a combined Creative/Director/Editor and another role that is a combined Producer/Account Handler. Two roles.

So your new work day could involve thinking up ideas, shooting them yourself, and then editing them.

If that became my job, I think I'd quite like it.

Would you?

18 comments:

Adam Wells said...

Allelujah. Not hard is it? The apt part of this affirmation is that video CAN be shot without compromising the idea or production value for so much less. Can agencies embrace this though? It's a mindset change. 'No you don't have 300k', you have $50k, now make it'.' If you wish to know how it can be done without compromise, gimme a bell. We'll have lots to talk about.

Adam

Marrianne Little said...

Love this Simon!
Marrianne

Ben said...


I agree everyone's watching videos - but they're not on YouTube or Facebook to watch ads.

To me, 'we need a video' is today's 'we need a Facebook page' - do we really?

Damien Whitney said...

Simon, I couldn't agree more and not just because it's my business. 'Inexpensive' videos will only become more and more important to all concerned parties. Clients need them and creative people do too as they are tired of being told their idea is too expensive. The trick is to be able to make videos in the lower price bracket and make them well. As we all know, whatever the price tag, the content of the video needs to be great in order to engage people. One thing is for certain, we're all going to be busier!
Damien.

No Frills Prod Co said...


Pick TWO:

Good, Fast, Cheap

Pete Montgomery said...

Simon, I run a fundraisng agency and with the tight budgets we deal with everyday I have to agree with you wholeheartedly. At HEARtFELT we're currently doing a campaign for Uber's new flying doctor service where we've sprayed (harmless ink) their logo under the wings of real park pigeons. Cost us a loaf of bread, a landing net and a can of water- based dye. Problem is if we pay a production company to get involved - Ka ching! So intern tapped an old gopro onto a pigdeon and away we went. Don't ya love digital natives!

Cheap and Cheerful said...


I can't believe what I just read.

Why don't we all just get out our iPhones and start shooting commercials on them. I think the latest iPhone even allows you to shoot slow-motion. Fancy!!

the fonz said...


Correctamondo. What makes me laugh is the fact that we can't even use the word "TV' anymore. So instead everyone is making 'online video content'. Thing is, it looks just like a tvc, often ( but not always) with the same size budget. Go figure.

who cares about quality said...

I love the cheap and cheerful attitude to film & video craft. I mean why would you ever want to ensure that clients find the money to pay for quality work, especially when you can just strap a go pro to a cat's head! Won't this just be wonderful when they take the same attitude and approach to strategy and creative!

@ who cares about quality said...

I think it's already happening.

Scamp said...

To all those lamenting loss of quality. I don't want to either agree or disagree with you.

I just think we need to be careful that we're not under-appreciating the forces of change.

It was arguably a higher-quality bus ride when there was both a driver and a conductor. Today, there is no conductor. Soon, there may be no driver.

The world changes and we need to figure out what to do.

Just to be clear, let me repeat that I'm neither agreeing or disagreeing with your argument about quality.

GOUT-LEGS said...

you're right in so many ways.

but the fundamental fact is that brands need to keep their sales and stock prices high.

that's why we (expensive) and the cheap video makers exist.

but you can only do the cheap videos if all your expensive ducks are in a row.

you shouldn't do either on their own.

which would you prefer? making lots of cheap medium quality products or a few high quality costly products? apple? or one of the dozens of others?

Anonymous said...

Wearable printers are the future.

Anonymous said...

Who's going to go on to YouTube and choose to watch an ad?

just a thought said...

Video is undoubtedly a growing area and one which all brands should consider as a viable format, however, its one of many. To say that content is video is a generalised statement. I don't mean to be picky here or disagree for the sake of it but I think it needs a more objective view. The format a piece of content takes. Whether that be static or AV should surely depend on the business objectives or comms objectives of a brand. On average, 12% of time online is spent viewing video content (from a recent Global Web Index Survey). That's a big chunk of time that people are online and not watching video but reading, listening, talking etc.

VC said...

"When people use the word 'Content', what do they mean? Videos."

My production company used to sell "video"- RED, 4k, raw, blah blah blah. But we've transitioned to not sell quality production but to separate ourselves with content instead.

Your intern might be able to strap a gopro on a cat and shoot some garbage but few and far between can actually come up with an original idea that makes an emotional, contextual connection with an audience.

Bentos said...

People watch ads on YouTube all the time

Jeremy Abbett said...

The shift for agencies appears at hand but it's not so easy. As long as everything is framed as a campaign the relationship among the stakeholders will always be that of a one night stand.