Future of corporate web video is live

9th Feb 2009 | Posted by Andrew Foote Andrew Foote's picture

Have you noticed that the web is looking a lot like TV lately?  Networks, portals, and the major content sites are all serving up high-quality, full screen video of news, episodic content, and sporting events.  CNN.com's broadcast of the inauguration was the best example I've seen of where web video is heading – live, interactive (featured Facebook integration), and flawless.

(image via TechCrunch)

Many companies are following suit and experimenting with live online video for PR purposes.  While live video is nothing new (companies have been webcasting for years), the production costs and technology have changed dramatically.  Web-based services like Mogulus and Permission TV make it incredibly easy for companies to produce and distribute broadcast-quality video at a fraction of what bricks and mortar studios charge.  

Technology advancements aside, companies are realizing the opportunity of using video to air information in real-time.  The half-second news cycle has created an environment whereby companies are expected to communicate instantly.  This is what makes Twitter so attractive for corporate communications.  Press releases and edited video are often too slow to compete with the immediacy and flexibility of communicating via channels like Twitter.  Motrin, Comcast, and Jet Blue are all classic examples of why a prompt response is critical to neutralize issues and capitalize on opportunities. 

The importance of instant communication is why I believe newsrooms within corporate Web sites will evolve into TV channels over the next 2-3 years.  Companies will produce live, scheduled and on-demand internet television for the following purposes:

• Crisis Communications:  In the event of a major national crisis, the President is on TV addressing citizens within hours.  Companies will take the same approach by using live video to get messages out as news is breaking.  A corporate blog can be used for rapid response, but video puts a face to the issue and makes the response more authentic.   

• Product Launches:  Trade show participation is expected to decline 40% in 2009.  Companies like Apple, who are forgoing annual launch events, will use their Web sites to live broadcast product unveilings to millions.

• Offline Events:  More companies will start broadcasting offline events such as seminars and publicity stunts.  For example, this Valentine’s Day Brides.com is using Mogulus to live broadcast 14 Weddings on the top of the Empire State Building.  Viewers will be able to participate by using live chat.

• Press Conferences:  Physical press conferences are becoming outdated due to timeliness, cost, and attendance challenges.  Additionally, the message only reaches the media in the room.  More companies will explore web-based video press conferences to extend their news to all interested parties.    

• Speaking Engagements:  Corporate executives frequently speak at industry conferences and roundtables, but most people don’t get to watch the discussion firsthand.  Companies typically offer transcripts and video highlights, but rarely do they provide a live stream.  Offering live video of speaking engagements will extend the reach to the masses.

Pre-recorded video and press releases will always play an important role in PR, especially for communication that requires a higher degree of control such as corporate earnings and news with regulatory sensitivities.   But it’s clear that real-time communication is the future.  The web isn’t slowing down.  If designed correctly, corporate web TV channels will become powerful platforms to disseminate information, educate and entertain audiences, and engage with stakeholders instantly.


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