The online video climate has developed considerably, even in the past couple years. For businesses looking to adopt internet video content -- especially a personal brand ready to utilize short-form video optimized for mobile -- the iron is hot for the striking.
Rising social media platform Tik Tok, which offers a set of features for creating and sharing short videos, has seen adult users increase exponentially in the past few months, rising to more than 500 million active users.
In addition, Jeffrey Katzenberg's billion-dollar mobile video platform Quibi ("quick bites") is earning comparisons to Netflix. Beyond the hype, it has some interesting things going for it. At CES, Quibi announced a technology called "Turnstile," which allows its content to shift from portrait to landscape anytime you turn your phone. In the meantime, it remains in full-screen mode, focused on the action.
Following the Video Money Trail
Quibi has a lot of corporate money behind it -- short-form video, as an industry, is blowing up. Katzenberg knows this, as does Quibi CEO Meg Whitman, who previously helmed both HP and eBay. Their plan to capitalize on the popularity of short-form video content is timely.
Quibi's main rival, YouTube, hit 2 billion users this year, bringing it neck-and-neck with Facebook as the world's most popular social platform. Ninety-five percent of internet users worldwide watch YouTube. According to some reports, the world watches as much YouTube content every day as it does on Netflix in a week.
If you want to reach people, short-form video is increasingly the easiest way to do so. If you've been thinking about moving your business in this direction, consider this your signal to make the move.
The Business Potential of YouTube Remains Relatively Untapped
Despite the size and reach of YouTube, there's still only a handful of entrepreneurs maximizing its potential. A few years ago, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson became the first celebrity to develop a YouTube channel as a means to stay in touch with his fans. He launched his channel a few years ahead of the trend, and its success made it the subject of a Harvard Business School case study.
The Rock's glossy channel, which aims to show fans a more personal side of the actor, now has 4.57 million subscribers. At the time of its launch, however, movie stars weren't going to YouTube. The Rock showed himself to be a shrewd businessman, and the risk paid off. The channel was executive produced by Scott Brown and Mo Darwiche, no strangers to establishing an audience on YouTube.
Free Up the Creative Process
After the success of The Rock's channel, Brown and Darwiche founded a production company, Liquid Light, to repeat the process for other celebrities, entertainers and athletes.
"The success of these more polished YouTube channels shows that audiences want them," says Brown. "A YouTube channel is more personal and engaging than Instagram. It's also harder to produce, and a lot of celebrities don't have the time or resources to undertake that." Shoots are financed with venture capital, which frees up the creative process so clients can get the kind of content they want with fewer headaches.
"Most people don't think of this kind of production quality when they think of YouTube," says Darwiche. "The platform grew on low-fi vlogging, but it's matured into a space that holds loads of potential for curating your personal brand." And quality, as any influencer will tell you, is crucial for attracting repeat visitors.
Quibi may not fly, but with money and experience behind it, it seems poised to make a mark. If it's successful, we can expect content consumers to get more comfortable watching short-form mobile video. That makes it a good time for any company to follow in The Rock's footsteps and adopt short-form video as an extension of its brand. The more consumers get to know your voice and values, the more likely you are to strike a lasting chord.
Consider short-form mobile video a way to keep your image fresh and your audiences tuned in between major headlines or product launches. If you start production now, you may even be ahead of the curve.