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In the days before companies had their own website or YouTube channel, “branded video content” pretty much equated to TV/cinema ads and the classic corporate video (I immediately picture Alan Partridge). I’m not sure anyone would have actually described it as “branded content” back them, but not to worry.

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Today, with the mass launch of wearable tech almost upon us, the way we watch video content is clearly very different. This got me thinking about the role of the video producer, and the growing uncertainty they face in terms if how their work is consumed.

25 years ago a piece of video would be recorded to VHS (DVDs wouldn’t appear for another year) and delivered to the client or broadcaster. At this point, assuming it got a slot, there wasn’t anything else for the video producer to worry about. It would be watched on the telly, on VHS or at the cinema, great.

Skip ahead to circa 2007, with the World Wide Web maturing and brands realistically able to publish video on their own websites or an emerging thing called YouTube (hmm… that website might do quite well one day). The video producer was now having to provide work in a digital format, but so long as the video got delivered and people knew where to watch it, things were all good. TV however, was still the go-to place to watch video.

But fast forward to 2014, and we’re in a far more complex environment:

  • Video can be consumed on any connected device
  • Video can be published across many different platforms (YouTube, Vine, Facebook, Instagram, video on demand to name a few), with their own nuances and consumption habits
  • Attention spans have shrunk
  • Brands are commissioning more video content, because it’s right on trend
  • There’s no hiding from (some of the) measures of success – total views, for example are there for all to see

In this world distribution is key.

Yes the content needs to be good, but if it’s not packaged-up and optimised correctly, it will get lost or ignored. Suddenly things got a little spicy for the video producer…

  • The performance of this video, and my reputation is massively linked to how it’s distributed, and yet that’s not in my control…
  • I was asked to create a video to include XYZ, but if I’d known how it was going to be distributed, I’d have done it differently…
  • There’s a whole heap of ways to enhance the video after it’s been uploaded to YouTube, but I don’t think the social media manager knew how, or had time…
  • The insights I can get from YouTube (etc) can really help with optimising video after it’s gone live, but I don’t have access once the video has been delivered to my client…
  • Did my video get any paid media support? Who made the decision? It’s never going to get seen…

In summary, the creation and distribution of video content are now so intrinsically linked that they must be worked on collaboratively. Does that mean bringing video production in-house? How do you manage it?

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