In today’s world, companies have more choices than ever as they look to effectively inform, educate, and persuade employees, customers, and other stakeholders. “The AVS Group has helped clients transition from traditional video communications on videotape or CD to Web and DVD-based media, ” notes Rob Ramseier, the AVS Group’s video team leader and producer.
This article spotlights several ways that organizations have successfully used the power of Web-based video to drive revenue and communicate effectively. These benefits have been made possible by three key technology advancements, which are reviewed in this article. Lastly, we highlight the benefits of DVD and explain why DVD is leading the wave of the future for professional development and promotional applications.
Web-based video: business spotlights
There are seemingly endless ways for organizations to leverage the power of Web-based video as part of their overall marketing strategy. When the video content offered is high quality and in-demand, there is an opportunity to convert it into revenue. In 2004, Major League Baseball (MLB) earned an additional $135 million by offering streamed baseball games via MLB.com. In 2005, MLB streamed 2,300 games during the season.
Web-based video does not have to be sold in order for the content to create a positive affect on revenue. Organizations now use progressive downloading to launch on-camera customer testimonials or product and service demonstrations from their Web sites. These brief Web-based video segments can be used to strengthen an organization’s brand identity. A strong brand identity has been proven to increase revenue.
Web-based video can be more than a brief clip. Organizations are now offering their stakeholders streamed versions of comprehensive Web-based video presentations such as product introductions, product training and tutorials, executive announcements, etc. while still providing high-quality video.
The key to successful Web-based video is to understand how to properly utilize its power, then developing the right strategy to take advantage of the technology.
Web-based video: technology drivers
So, how has Web-based video become a realistic element to incorporate into a marketing strategy? Several technology advancements, including the growing adoption of broadband, market saturation of Macromedia Flash PlayerÒ, and advancements in video compression have made the benefits of Web-based video possible.
A broadband Internet connection is a necessity for a good experience when viewing Web-based video. The good news is that the adoption rate of broadband has dramatically increased. As shown in Figure 1, only 4.8 million homes in the United States had adopted broadband as of 2000. However, the number of broadband households increased by a factor of nearly 10 to 42.4 million in 2005, and is expected to reach 83 million by 2010.
In addition to the growing adoption of broadband, Macromedia Flash Player is now installed on more than 97.7 percent of all internet-enabled PCs in the world. This is a staggering statistic and provides some level of assurance that if an organization produces Flash-based video content, its audience will be able to view it online as intended.
There have also been a number of advancements in the last few years regarding video compression, which have made Web-based video much more accessible to the viewer. Simply put, compression is the process of removing data from a video file. The key is to remove the right amount of data so that quality is not sacrificed. Multimedia developers can now make fewer compromises in quality by making less significant reductions in frame rate or frame size to reduce file size. The end result is a higher quality video that can be played effectively over the Web.
Just some brief words of caution. Producing video for the Web does present some challenges that one would not typically face if the delivery device were media like videotape or DVD. “Special care must be taken in all phases of the production process, ” notes Ramseier. “The setting and background, camera moves, lighting, and sound all have to be optimized to ensure that the compressed video provides the highest quality content for the audience. ”
DVD: The media of choice
DVD is leading the wave of future video communications because organizations can provide audiences with a comprehensive and rich experience. DVD is quickly becoming the media of choice for video-based training and promotional tools, although many producers currently do not take advantage of the full possibilities of the media.
With DVD, audiences can experience multiple camera angles, convenient fast forward/rewind features, multilingual versions of the content, and much more. DVDs also run approximately nine times faster and can store up to 25 times more content than a CD. Aside from the technical benefits, current estimates predict that 450 million households worldwide will have a DVD player by 2008.
According to DVD Demystified, “The low cost of hardware and discs, the widespread use of players, and the availability of authoring systems, make DVD ideal for industrial training, professional development, sales presentations, home education, and any other application where full-screen, full-motion video and audio are needed for effective instruction. ” According to the National Training Labs Institute, multimedia computer training leads to a 70 percent retention rate.
DVD is also well suited for promotional tools. Web site visitors can view short Web-based video segments of a program, and then order the full DVD. A DVD can hold entire catalogs to inform, educate, and persuade an audience, as well as supplemental content like an interactive video tour, product demonstrations, and helpful on-screen menus to make the program simple for users to navigate effectively.
In closing, organizations should consider the variety of media options now available for distributing their video content. It can be leveraged on the Web to inform, educate, and persuade a global audience. In addition, DVD provides companies with many options for distributing video content for education and training applications as well as promotional tools.
The AVS Group is a marketing, training, and communications company. AVS is in La Crosse, Wisconsin. AVS helps clients communicate and market effectively. AVS can be found online at http://www.avsgroup.com