With so much enthusiasm for the potential of video search, video advertising, video podcasting, and all things video, we need to step back lest we enter a video bubble (a poppable one, at that).
Video has two key limitations:
1. It’s harder to produce.
2. It’s harder to consume.
The first seems more accepted, though it’s perhaps not reported enough. Video is much easier to shoot today than it ever was before; most digital cameras, even those going for $100 or $200 now, can handle at least a meager quality. Still, producing something of quality, especially something that people would want to watch, is hardly easy.
The more overlooked point is #2. Even if you can get video out there, it takes time to watch. You can’t skim video. You can’t easily multitask with online video (you can with the TV and internet, if the TV is background noise; it’s not so easy with online video). You can’t easily highlight, bookmark, and clip a relevant section of video to share with others. I bring this up in light of a column written about video e-mails.
As the consumer, I’m trying so hard to skim what content can and save the good stuff. If it’s really interesting, I’ll forward it to a friend, though usually condensing it further by alerting them to what matters most to them. Most e-mails, even the meatier ones, I’ll read in a matter of seconds; the thought of needing to sit through a video makes me squirm.
That doesn’t mean the market won’t expand. There are plenty of logical uses for video, even as a marketing tool. However, it does have its limits, and those should be acknowledged up front, not when we get there.