12 Oct

Video – Can You Go Viral?

The world is inexorably moving away from broadcast television. In days of old, viewers across the country would sit down together in their tens of millions to watch the most popular TV programmes of the time. Video recording had not yet been invented, so the only time you could watch a programme was when it was actually broadcast.

One of the largest audiences was for the first live global television link in June 1967; a BBC programme called Our World which included the Beatles performance of All You Need is Love. 400 million people across 25 countries watched the programme. A vast audience at the time. (The Beatles appear 1 hour 20 minutes into the programme if you watch it on YouTube.)

For commercial television this was an advertiser’s dream; a captive audience that simply had no choice but to watch the adverts broadcast during the commercial breaks.

With the advent of the video recorder here, at last, was an invention that would enable you to time-shift your viewing to suit your convenience. There was no longer a need to arrange your life around the TV programming schedule. These were not cheap machines. In the 1980s, you could be paying £1,000 or more for the most sophisticated devices. The fact that they sold in big numbers, even though they were very expensive, was testament to consumers’ desire to move away from fixed schedule viewing.

The introduction of hybrid receiver/hard-drive devices such as Sky boxes and TiVos made it much more convenient to time-shift scheduled broadcasts. Then came affordable broadband which has allowed streaming video services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime to capture an increasingly significant proportion of broadcast TV audiences. I reckon that it is a safe bet that broadcast will be dead in the next 10 years or so.

This new way of thinking about video at your convenience has also been encouraged by 4G enabled mobile handsets that record at high definition. YouTube, Vimeo and other streaming services allow anyone to be a video producer and get their content online. These services really appeal to the Millennials’ preference for immediacy and involvement. You could call the Millennials the DIY Martini generation – anytime, anyplace, anywhere and doing it ourselves – video conceived, produced and directed by me (and people like me).

Millennials want to identify with their own and this has resulted in YouTube spawning video celebrities with audiences that the TV stars of the past could only marvel at. So the latest message on the channel of the number 1 most popular YouTuber, PewDiePie, reads, “Hey bros! This is my thank you montage for hitting 10 billion views on this channel. Such an unbelievable achievement. Thank you all and brofest.”

Yes, you read that right – 10,000,000,000 views of PewDiePies’s videos. The videos are self-created. They are fun and engaging to watch. They will remind older folk of The Monkees attempts to be zany in their hit TV series. PewDiePie’s YouTube videos are reckoned to earn him $4 million a year. (Ex-Monkee Mike Nesmith is reputed to be worth $50 million after nearly 50 years in show business, so PewDiePie is well on his way.)

If you can produce a really appealing video, you are going to get an audience that would shame broadcast television and at zero broadcast cost. This is hellishly difficult to achieve but the latest success story is Spies Rejser (Thomas Cook Denmark) whose Do it for Mom (Do it for Denmark 2) video has hit 5 million views in just over a week.

So what are the ingredients for success? For Spies Rejser it was something out of the ordinary, humorous and a bit saucy. These ingredients seem to be a common theme.

There is an audience just waiting for your video so get creative, get videoing and watch your efforts go viral.