Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

The Video Pivot

Felix Salmon, in a Twitter thread yesterday:

This video from @WIRED, which [sic] is basically a 7-minute long video advertorial for Tesla

It’s got over a million views already, so on that level it’s a success! But it doesn’t have @WIRED’s normal journalistic rigor

If you follow @businessinsider on Twitter or FB you’ve seen many similar pieces, generally very fluffy and positive about #brands

All of this is a function of the simple fact that video is expensive!

A similar point was made by Jack Marshall today in the Wall Street Journal:

Some suggest the repackaging and reposting of ads highlights the “pivot to video” mentality many publishers now demonstrate. The push to churn out video content to feed platforms and to attract potentially lucrative video advertising is increasingly viewed as a potential solution to an increasingly challenging business model problem.

For publishers, repackaging a commercial is often a simple process that can take an experienced video editor relatively little time, and the result is a win-win situation for all parties. The publisher gets some quick and easy video content it can post to social media and potentially sell advertising against, the platforms get to brag about the millions of videos being uploaded to their services, and the company that originally produced the video gets more exposure.

This will only get worse as Facebook and other large referral sources emphasize video, and as long as videos generate more ad revenue than other kinds of media.

“Our audience on Facebook loves this content. It’s what works in the news feed where people scroll quickly with the sound off,” said Cheddar Chief Executive Jon Steinberg, adding that videos about “gadgets and cool visual tech or gizmos” perform particularly well.

No kidding people like these videos: they’re ads. Ads are designed to be eye-catching. News isn’t — not that it can’t be visually compelling, but that isn’t and should not be its objective.