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The Video-First Era Has Started: Why Video Streaming Is Here To Stay

Video Streaming Is The Present and The Future Of Our Generation

The Covid19 crisis has brought video platforms into the front and center of global attention. The pandemic has introduced restrictions into the standard and hitherto default office environment, classrooms, in-store shopping, social gatherings, and the like and has pushed these things to the remote mode, over the digital. 

Digital entertainment platforms have benefitted from the surge as well. The number of gaming sessions increased by 75% over the past year in the USA. The increase in video consumption has been a continuous trend for the past few years, however, and it is not only due to the pandemic. 

From 2015 onwards, video streaming has seen an increase of 13% year on year. And this video streaming has been happening more on mobile devices as compared to the desktop. While Americans spent an average of 42 minutes a day streaming on mobile devices, they did an average of 23 minutes on desktop video streaming. 

The most exciting trend with video entertainment is happening now. We are all familiar growing up; the television was called an ‘idiot box’ because it was such a passive experience. But video content is becoming smarter and smarter now. Away from static videos, video streaming is becoming more participatory and interactive now, encouraging users to engage with the platform actively – give feedback, answer questions, get virtual rewards, talk to others on the platform, and more. 

These advancements promise to fundamentally transform the experience and how video streams are consumed today, ushering in an even more assured transition of many human experiences to the digital video paradigm. Such an interactive experience also promises to be more satisfying and emotionally gratifying. 

Now you can watch your favorite football game, along with your friends who might be spread thousands of miles across. Go and check out your car, by speaking with the sales representatives and book a test drive right from the comfort of your home. Check out dresses in your favorite retail outlet without stepping a foot out of your bed. The possibilities for the digital transformation of human interactions are endless and only limited by infrastructure and connectivity. 

 The Gradual Evolution Of Video Content Over The Years

The concept of video entertainment, broadcasting, and education was started by the television, backed by producers who financed the heavy budget. The shows were well planned and scheduled, and the revenue was mainly driven by the advertisements that ran in between the shows. The experience was expectedly static on the part of the viewer. Still, this television format remained the only format available for more than fifty years, and even today it continues to remain a significant part of our daily routine, through live games and online streaming services such as Netflix, PrimeVideo leading the way.

In the early 2000s, however, a significant change happened with the advent of YouTube. This online video sharing platform allows users to do more than just access and stream videos from around the world. It allows them to rate the videos in real-time, comment on them, share, upload their videos, create channels, and subscribe to other channels. This format took the world literally by storm because now anyone could be a content creator. All they needed was a set-up to record videos, and suddenly the sky’s the limit. By uploading the video to YouTube, anyone across the globe with an internet connection could instantly access them. There was no more need for distribution middlemen. Soon, YouTube learned that they could monetize the attention that users gave to the videos and therefore videos and channels with high views could as well start earning big bucks by just making and uploading engaging and entertaining videos. It eliminated the need for a prominent production house backing television directors and screenwriters that the traditional television demanded. YouTube gave the world new celebrities, among those whose channels have got millions and billions of views and have become household names, earning mega million sponsorship deals.

However, there is still one limitation with YouTube. The average length of a video on YouTube is around 12 minutes, according to Statista. Therefore, for an average YouTube content creator, it is essential to create a compelling purpose, the storyline behind the video, and to top it all, he needs proper equipment for lighting, recording, and editing. This brought us to the latest generation of TikTok, and similar applications, which are essentially social networking sites that encourage creators to make short videos from 3 seconds long to one minute long. TikTok has been a blockbuster in the short time since its release, having been made available globally only since August 2018. It has become the fastest growing social networking site ever, and as of October 2020, it has surpassed 2 billion mobile downloads worldwide.

TikTok makes it possible for anyone with a smartphone to be a content creator. The short duration of the videos doesn’t need any sophisticated equipment to shoot. TikTok has also made video consumption an extremely engaging process. A large proportion of TikTok users are themselves content creators, and they are very active on the platform. By liking the content, scrolling to access their preference, TikTok users are presented with an endless stream of personalized videos that they keep interacting with. 

This is the new era of highly personalized and short video streams that are a lesson that large and small brands all over the world are now actively capitalizing upon. Just consider how many social interactions we have moved online – our classrooms, offices, fitness sessions, family gatherings and so much more. All of these have the chance to be transformed with the interactivity built and embedded into the whole experience. Several platforms have emerged to help companies capitalize on these opportunities, which can make it possible.

The Potential Of Interactive Video Format Of Transforming Interactions and Experiences.

Classrooms: When the pandemic began, schools and universities were among the first places where restrictions were imposed, and these have also been among the most active places where remote experience, aided by interactive video has taken inroads. This is another of the first places where interactive video platforms are looking to elevate the experience and classroom engagement by augmenting the teacher’s classroom toolkits. For example, teachers can start online quizzes to gauge the level of comprehension for classes, and they can give virtual rewards to good performers, gamifying the whole experience. For the students, they can take recordings of difficult classes to rewatch them and also instantly share their feedback with the teacher, privately or with the whole class. Perhaps, the most substantial reason for transitioning the classroom to interactive video format is the incredible scale it offers to reach more and more students than previously possible in traditional classroom settings. Teachers and students don’t have to be limited by physical distances. They may be from different cities, provinces, or even other countries. Moreover, high classroom engagement and interactive experience will lower the dropout and churn rates. 

Similar to classrooms, the shopping experience is also looking at a significant transformation with the possibilities offered by interactive video experiences. Platforms like Instagram Live are already making it possible for brands to host highly engaging sessions with user groups, where they launch a product or roll out special offers and host contests to great success. By inviting celebrities to be part of such a session, they have the potential to make shopping very engaging and interactive.

The video-first era is definitely here. The onus is on brands to make the right strategy and invest in the right equipment to give a seamless experience to the users and viewers. Setting up critical infrastructure such as CDN is crucial to capitalizing on the opportunities that interactive video presents to companies. 

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