Al Gore is credited with aptly naming the burgeoning technology of the internet as the information superhighway in the early 90s. But as the web transitions from text and image to video, we’re moving from an information web to an experiential one. As we consume video, whether it’s on Snapchat, Periscope, or Facebook, we’re immersed in an experience. This only increases further with interactive video, augmented reality, and virtual reality.
Cisco predicts that, by 2020, 82% of consumer internet traffic will be video and total global internet traffic will increase at 22% per year, making internet traffic in 2020 95 times greater than it was in 2005. Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly signaled to the market that Facebook is prioritizing video. In a recent interview he compared the adoption of video to that of the mobile web – “Video is a mega trend, almost as big as mobile.” With this transition, we’ll need further investments in infrastructure, hardware capable of managing video, and a toolset that is video-first.
Infrastructure Investments Required
Chris Dixon, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, captures the transition from text to video well in his Medium essay. “Expect video to get embedded into almost every internet service, similar to how the internet transitioned from text-heavy to image-heavy services last decade.”
An experiential web will require new technologies and continued investment in bolstering the infrastructure that makes it possible for us to watch as many cat videos or Netflix movies as we want. The FCC is requiring that ISPs deliver 25 Mbps internet to all of their customers. This was increased in 2015, and continues to cause complaints from politicians who support broadband providers. The FCC recently released a statement that the United States continues to lag behind other countries, but it’s clear from this report, progress is being made to improve overall high-speed bandwidth penetration. 90% of Americans now have access to 25 Mbps internet, which is up from 83% in 2015. The FCC should continue to push broadband providers to increase the reach of high-speed internet and increase the broadband requirements even higher.
Cutting The Cord And Long-tail Content Consumption
Over-the-top (OTT) television is growing with cord cutters finding ways to access the content they love through Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime and channel-specific apps. The NBC Olympics coverage demonstrates the power of the long-tail OTT video potential, offering thousands of more hours of video for everyone to find exactly what they want to see. The data isn’t available yet, but I’d bet that the long-tail of content consumption is adding up to more hours watched than the 2-3 channel strategy at prior Olympics. NBC is already claiming that this will be its “most economically successful Games in history, and it’s by far the most viewer-friendly TV event of all time.”
Empathy Delivered Through Video
Video, especially virtual reality and augmented reality, allow us to experience the world (or even a magic school bus ride to Mars), as if we were there.
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These are empathy devices that are being used to help us feel what others do. In fact, several charities are starting to use virtual reality to encourage donors to experience the issues before contributing. As virtual reality begins its slow rollout, Facebook and Youtube are introducing 360 degree video. These new formats require different cameras and shooting techniques, which slows content production. That being said, even small to medium-sized businesses are finding ways to produce and publish 360-degree video. Wistia, a video-player with 360 video capabilities aimed at marketers, claimed that 400+ customers have already started uploading 360-degree videos.
Tools for Video
Video will change the toolset of the web. The basic toolset of the web will need to be re-invented to discover, measure, distribute, and produce world-class video content. With this format change, you’ll see further investments in disruptive technologies that put video at the center of their products. This is why Facebook and other incumbents are pushing so fast into video. They want to ensure that a startup doesn’t disrupt their business models with the format transition. As Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz properly stated, “video is the new html.” Learning how to deliver video and use it to maximize impact will be the next battleground for attention with marketers and media companies competing on social networks, in mobile apps, and on the traditional web.
This article was written by Benjy Boxer from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.