Why declining views on YouTube is good news for you

I’ve become a bit of a video nut. After talking for a long time about the importance of video in today’s digital communication world including crisis communication, I’ve become quite deeply engaged. My new company is busy producing a series of training and education videos for crisis and emergency communication professionals, and I found myself in the process starting to help a number of other clients/friends/associates produce their own web videos.

So this headline about YouTube experiencing a rather sharp decline in views got my immediate attention. I’ve been talking a lot lately about the critical importance of video on organization’s websites, citing Cisco’s prediction that Internet content delivery will be 90% video in 2013 vs 30% in 2010. That’s an amazing stat. So what’s this about declining views on YouTube?

As the headline accurately portrays (unusual, isn’t it?) the decline in views is part of a plan by YouTube owner Google to reduce clicks while increasing the length of views. The merger of the Internet and broadcast/cable TV is well underway. After reading the book on Steve Jobs I’m waiting for the announcement of the the Apple TV which will likely mark the complete mixing of the two. YouTube clearly intends to become a major, if not the major, entertainment and information channel. More correctly, purveyor of a multiple host of channels operated by users.

YouTube’s vision, it appears to me, is to make full use of the social networking and interactive engagement elements of the Internet in transforming how we are entertained and informed. I do believe they are on the right track, even as competitors continue to chip away at their dominance. So, instead of a box with a screen on it that the family gathers around to watch Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (some of my favorite childhood memories), we will carry with us at all times the means to access our favorite entertainment/infotainment and we will interact with others as part of the viewing process. We will share the ones we like with our friends, families and associates. We’ll comment (if current comments are an example, with great rudeness, meanness and snarkiness). And we’ll create content ourselves.

I think the implications for crisis communications are quite obvious. Most larger organizations already know that video is an important part of the response to a reputation crisis, and particularly if that crisis is focused on social media and includes or is focused on video. But do these organizations, and particularly smaller ones, have the capability to produce in very short order (less than an hour) the video content they need when they need it?

No question the technology and processes that allow quick but quality production are becoming much more widely available. The videos we are producing for clients are typically around a minute in length and cost about $200-$300 to produce (and yes, we can make some pretty good money at that). That will come as a shock to many who believe based on experience that you can’t seem to start up a video without spending $20k or more.

Imagine doing crisis communications without a laptop and word processor. In the future (like tomorrow) you won’t be able to imagine doing crisis communication without a video camera and editor. And probably YouTube.