The democratiziation of video

Ryan Lawler recently wrote an interesting post over on GigaOm Pro on “When video gets democratized, who wins and who loses?”  Citing newspapers as an example of how low production costs and easy distribution have democratized news content creation and distribution, and journalistic blogs have disrupted the newspaper business and most weekly news magazines.  Video production has been going through the same democratiziation with low production costs and easy and eager distribution partners like Youtube.  Video is poised to disrupt TV, especially specific types of web videos like DIYs, lifestyle shows, food and entertaining.

I completely agree with his assessments because change in TV networks will be in genres or steps and not wholesale categoriacal death as proselytized by others. We’ve seen the disruption in the time-sensitive news business (way dead), but TV and many non-news magazines are alive and well, and IMHO are poised to grow.

We’ve seen the DIY genre around for a while (e.g. 5min) without much impact so clearly there needs to be other ingredients in order to propel their audience growth and the subsequent ad or other revenues to continue production.  I believe that it’s content quality and relevance relative to the viewers needs are what’s missing. I watch the Food Network more for entertainment and inspiration, not how to bake cookies.  But if I’m making a souffle for the very first time, I need explicit instructions, visuals, and tips and would need that DIY 5min video because Giada’s highly edited segments just don’t cut it for me.  But I don’t bother to look for those videos because my odds of finding quality and relevant content is still sorely lacking.

But my overarching belief is that for the foreseeable future (5-7 years), we should be striving to increase the overall pie, rather than slice and dice it to nothing.  As mainstream TV and publishing are going digital and creating new markets that didn’t even exist a year ago, the challenge going forward for content creators is to think about how their content will be distributed, and to create the right experience by channel (web video, tablets, smartphones), and how to be discovered amongst all the noise.  I am hopeful that 2012 will be the year of discovery and curation for the overwrought consumer.

Let me know how you find things to watch!

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