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The State of Online Video: When Medium Obscures the Message

Comscore online video market talk screenshot

Illegible slide text, amateurish camerawork, and even a banner ad obscuring some of the data: is this any way to present an important corporate message?

It was an ironic, almost surreal experience to watch the online on-demand version of the “State of Online Video” — a talk given by ComScore’s Dan Piech at the Online Marketing/Media/Advertising (OMMA) conference.  On the one hand, the data and insights Dan presents are uplifting and exciting about the further growth of online video.  On the other hand, the experience also showed how very far online video has to go, for the online version of the presentation was embarrassingly poor.  It’s one of those situations where the content is intriguing but the medium makes it virtually unwatchable.

In other words, the medium gets in the way of the message, big-time.

Several problems were immediately apparent:

  • Because the video is distributed on the free UStream service, it’s constantly interrupted by ads — at best diverting attention, but often obscuring the content on the slides
  • The video is streamed at a resolution that is too low to be able to read the slides
  • Some of the slides have details too small to be viewed on video at any resolution
  • The camerawork is amateurish

It’s beyond comprehension why a company like ComScore would allow itself to be represented like this — ESPECIALLY when talking about online video to a sophisticated audience that’s interested in online video.

True, the folks at ComScore probably just taking the feed that OMMA gave them, but if you’ve got an important message that is going to be viewed again and again on your website, why not take the hour to recreate the presentation specifically for your website using an online presentation platform?  Now, all the slides would be super-crisp, the presenter would always be in view, and ComScore could put footnotes and links in strategic places to encourage viewers to look up ComScore reports and advisory services that give more information to back up the summary statistics presented on the screen.

Hopefully, 2011 will be a year in which companies learn not to “just settle” for UStream/YouTube quality video presentations, and “up” their game.

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