Video Content On a Business Website - Help or Hinder?

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Video Content is Here to Stay - Is That Good or Bad?

Video Content is Here to Stay - Is That Good or Bad?

For good or bad, video has come to stay on the web. More and more users have access to high-speed internet service, and with that use, more content providers are focusing on video.

But does this video content help or hinder you in your use of the internet?

Does It Really Matter Yea or Nay?

Many people are ho-hum about this topic. Video is video, they'd say. Nice to have sometimes, but not a requirement for life. Some people just choose to read, or skim, for their content.

However, others are incredibly fanatic about it. Where do you fall on the spectrum?

Video has really become prominent on marketing sites on the internet. No corporate site is complete without its friendly blurb about the company, and no sales site is "complete" without some kind of "video enhancement."

Positive Aspects of Video Content

The business marketers claim that video is more user-friendly, and that people *like* to watch rather than read.

They feel that video reaches out to an audience who doesn't want to read anymore. They believe it is easier to display information. They think people hate to read, or don't have time. Or they spout off the old platitude that it's easier to show rather than tell.

And of course, you can download it and take it with you to watch on your portable device, after all.

With the advent of video-sharing services, Facebook, and the popularity of YouTube, more and more online visitors are enjoying video. It can be funny, or enlightening, or interesting, in a different way than the written word. Some people spend hours a day surfing the net on video sites, looking for that next neat thing.

However, not all is rosy in the video content world.

Negative Perspective on Video Content

Opponents cite the fact that written media is as easily accessible on portable devices as video.

It is less bandwidth intensive, making for a site that loads more quickly and take less time to digest. Not everyone wants to sit through a 10-minute monologue about what some products's features are included or a health site's quick tip when the information could be summarized in a reasonably-sized list of bullet points with descriptions — a matter of 30 seconds or less to skim.

Also, as one reader mentioned, it's hard to quietly and discreetly digest "non-work content" in the office listening to a video. The headphones are a dead giveaway!

These opponents speculate about who is actually benefiting from the video. Is it the lazy content provider who takes 15 minutes to dash off a 10-minute rambling video off the cuff, or the user who wants to listen with half an ear while doing something else?

Video unfortunately can seduce a provider into the ease of talking off the cuff, instead of taking the time to organize and clearly write down the information.

And viewers can pay less attention when listening than they do when reading, because their ears are trained from TV to be able to "kind of" do several things at once. But are those listeners really gaining all of the information conveyed?

Other opponents of extensive use of video *like* to skim. They want the facts without the fluff of video. It allows them to choose what they want to read (or ignore). Some will even say, "Who wants to sit through a whole 45-60 minute video just to learn information that could be presented with subheads and a long page or two of concisely written text?"

A lot of people don't like to try to force their way through a longer video to gain information surrounded by the fluff of the casual, and conversational, spoken word. A 60-minute video is an hour of your time. A transcript (or even better, a transcript and an MP3) gives you the choice of how you want to digest your information.

Others are concerned about the loss of the written word as the world's horizons expand and yet shrink due to the accessibility of the internet. They are afraid that as people have "easier" alternatives to reading, they will lose their ability to read and comprehend complex information through a written medium. There have been countless blog posts, debates in forums, and discussions elsewhere discussing what mindless TV has done to books.

What Do You Think?

So, love it or hate it, video online has become an issue for the world, just as TV did a few decades ago, and continues to be. I personally think it has its place, but I am concerned that the ability to "throw up a quick video" will drive busy content providers to using video exclusively, and thus denying a chunk of their audience a different preferred medium.

Do you think business video is good or evil? What do you think video content's place is in the business world?