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Consumer behavior is constantly evolving apace. Some consumer trends are temporary and relate to the circumstances and conditions du jour, while others take on greater cultural significance, establishing a permanent foothold on society, our habits and customs, and the way we go about our everyday lives.
Growth of a cultural phenomenon
Our relationship with video content is perhaps one of the most underestimated cultural phenomena of recent years. And global consumption of video as a medium has certainly accelerated since the start of last year. A recent study by video marketing firm Wyzowl revealed that 68 percent of consumers felt the pandemic had impacted the amount of video content they watched online, with 96 percent saying this had increased.
This consumption growth is further reflected by the performance of social media’s pandemic champion, YouTube, which is now used by 81 percent of Americans, up from 73 percent in 2019, according to Pew Research. Other social platforms have also been riding on video’s wave of popularity and investing heavily in the medium’s potential, with Facebook Watch now attracting 1.5bn visitors every month and Instagram Reels billed as the “biggest opportunity for growth on the app” according to an exec interviewed by Business Insider. Meanwhile, the younger generations have been flocking in their droves to short-form video app TikTok, which now boasts 1.9 billion monthly users.
The message here is unequivocal—video content is king, and the meteoric rise of video creation and consumption, particularly of short-form video content, is unlikely to falter as it becomes increasingly embedded in our lives.
Moving with the times
The publishing industry cannot ignore the opportunities presented by this burgeoning medium and, depending on the sector, it is now becoming clearer just how publishers can realistically capitalize on video’s popularity, attraction, and reach.
In trade publishing, short-form, long-form, and live video have become increasingly viable tools for author and book marketing and promotion. From book tours being conducted via Instagram Live and Facebook Live to BookTokers being actively targeted by publicists, from authors setting up their own YouTube channels to publishers creating their own native author-focused video content for their channels, the trade is becoming savvier about the benefits of video and publishing houses are increasingly exploring ways in which the medium can help them engage with new audiences, particular younger readers. These are still early days, but it is anticipated that trade publishers will continue to explore the medium, grow their investment in content creation and increasingly build video into their publishing and marketing strategies of the future.
The industry frontrunner
With the human brain processing visual content 60,000 times faster than text, it comes as no surprise that education publishers are the very clear industry frontrunners for adoption of video. Furthermore, innovation in this space was dramatically accelerated by the sudden requirement for remote learning and teaching. The ed tech industry and educational publishers had to come together and act quickly to cater to the needs of educators and students all over the globe, and video very much played a pivotal role in this transformation.
Content of all types, including live and pre-recorded lessons and lectures, virtual field trips, animations, and many other resources, were in abundant use during this time. And it seems that video as a teaching tool will likely have a lasting legacy and impact on the world of education beyond lockdowns as flipped classrooms and blended learning environments become more widespread.
One of the most promising areas for video is scholarly publishing. The sector may have previously been slow to move beyond the time-honored, traditional formats of journals and monographs, yet over the past year many publishers and societies offered pre-recorded video and live streams of conferences to members, realizing an additional revenue stream in the process. According to an article in Scholarly Kitchen by Violaine Iglesias, there are many strong cases for increased video usage in the academic arena. She commented: “There is an entire generation of early graduates who are video whizzes, and the tools to create video have never been better and cheaper. Nobody expects this trend to stop.” Whether clinical explainer videos, recorded experiments, citable transcriptions, or continuing education modules, scholarly video is now beginning to catch up.