How we watch video now
Forty years ago, Stanley Kubrick showed us 2001. The first 90 seconds are without dialogue and solid black. It's hard to imagine that working as the intro to a YouTube video today.
Instead, our finger is on the mouse trigger, ready to leave in a moment. Not only that, but instead of leaning forward, we've got our shields set to level 7, wary of what's to come. As the video begins, a series of questions arise, unbidden:
Who sent me here?
What do I expect?
What's this about?
What else is on? (10,000,000 choices, not three)
What does this remind me of?
Hey, isn't that Hugo Weaving's voice?
Wow, he's cute...
Are they selling me something?
What's the joke here?
Are those stock photos?
What will I tell my friends?
Who would love this that I should send it to?
Okay, yeah, I think I get it... Next.
Movies were scarce and long and special and deserved our attention. TV was shorter, with commercials, but still live (now or never) and thus special. But video--video is ubiquitous and short and everywhere. You can transfer a movie or a TV show to this new medium, but it will be consumed differently.
Everyone can publish video now, and in many ways, almost everyone is publishing video now. A video won't work because everyone watches it. It will work because the right people do, for the right reason. The occasional video viral hit has blinded us to the power of long-tail video to build the culture and change minds.
Everything that's watched has always been watched through the worldview of the watcher. And video (and before that, movies and TV) has driven the culture. That culture-driving ability now belongs to anyone who can make a video that the right people choose to watch.