Video critical for online publishing success, but leave scriptwriting to the pros

Limelight Networks announced the results of a global survey that provides insight into the greatest operational challenges and business impacts of online video. The survey shows online video is critical to retaining and growing relationships with existing customers, and to converting prospects into new customers. The primary challenge to effectively publishing online video is managing and distributing high-performance video across multiple mobile devices, the study found. But scriptwriting by amateurs is another challenge, says Paul Verhoeven.

Conducted in July 2013 by TechValidate, an independent research organization, the Limelight Video survey explored the importance of video in engaging audiences, how companies plan to use video content in the next 12 months, the organizational benefits of online video, and the importance of analytical reporting related to video use.

What the survey didn’t reveal (it was focused on the technical challenges of online video publishing, not on video creation itself) is that scriptwriting is best left to the pros. That statement doesn’t come from some fool or DP turned moviemaker, but from one of Hollywood’s blockbuster directors, Paul Verhoeven.

In an interview with the BBC, Verhoeven tells about his crowdsourcing project. The project that has been turned into a short film, was originally to be based on a script written by the audience. Verhoeven tells the interviewer it was a headache, and concludes that movie making isn’t for amateurs, but still very much needs the professional touch. The reason, he says, is that ‘the public’ can’t write. They have no idea as to narrative structure.

That’s often what is lacking in the YouTube and Vimeo movies and short films we see on the web, too. There’s no narrative, but instead most of these online videos are loosely organised shots, takes even, without telling a well-defined story with a beginning and an end. The same often applies to marketing videos, which rarely transcend the TV-ad format.

Nevertheless, video is becoming increasingly important for online publishing and as it often is part of an entry that contains context in textual format, it doesn’t really matter whether the video clip has structure or not. It can serve as a visual interest piece or at worst, as a moving illustration.

The results of the Limelight Networks study indicate that:

  • The top concern of respondents (77 percent) was distributing content across multiple types of devices.
  • Sixty-nine percent of respondents cited the ability to effectively format content for mobile devices as a top operational challenge.
  • Fifty-three percent cited the ability to support video-on-demand or live streaming as a primary issue.
  • The majority of respondents identified performance and reliability as extremely important when choosing a solution.
  • Eighty-one percent described video as extremely or very important in engaging customers.
  • Thirty-five percent of respondents cited retaining and growing their subscriber base as the primary purpose for using video to engage with customers.
  • Twenty-eight percent said they use video to help convert prospects into customers.
  • Eighty-one percent stated that video allowed deeper engagement with audiences.
  • Seventy-two percent agreed that video helped them deliver messages more clearly and efficiently to target customers.
  • Eighty-five percent of respondents stated that analytical reporting on metrics like viewer geography, viewer duration and integration with an analytics tool of choice is an important business differentiator.