Video production & marketing is an ever-evolving industry. There’s no doubt about it, but while it always helps to assess the current landscape, trends, etc., to try and get an idea of where things are headed, it also helps to look back.
Online video has come a long way since its origins, so much so that almost every major site or platform has and continues to make changes to better cater to it, and to the people who create as well as crave it.
So, we thought we’d take a brief look back at where it all started and how online video has evolved over the years. That way, you can use that history to try to predict where things are going moving forward, and how you should adapt to keep pace.
The seeds were first planted in the early 90s.
A few events occurred in the early 90s that really set the stage for what was to come with online video, and the first big milestone, oddly enough, involved a coffee pot that would go on to become something of a piece of history.
The “Trojan Room” coffee pot, as it’s referred to now, was a simple coffee machine located in the old Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge that would go on to provide the inspiration for the world’s first webcam, as well as become the subject of the first unofficial viral video. How?
Well, to save workers from making a trip to the coffee maker only to find it empty, a camera was set up in 1991 providing a live image of the machine to all the computers in the office. A couple years later when the camera was connected to the net, people from all over the world starting checking out the instantly refreshable image of the coffee pot.
Then there’s the tale of Severe Tire Damage, the band which became the first to perform live on the internet in 1993 when their gig at Xerox PARC was broadcast by scientists elsewhere in the building as proof of the new technology they were discussing. What was that new technology? Broadcasting on the internet, of course.
A year later, when the Rolling Stones decided to broadcast one of their tours on the internet, Severe Tire Damage became the unofficial “opening act” when they returned before the broadcast, demonstrating the democratic nature of the new technology that was the web.
Then there’s before Youtube…
Now, back in those early days, the technology obviously wasn’t near what it is now, but the seeds had been planted nonetheless. The idea was out there, and then it just became a matter of improving upon it, and improve upon it they did.
Whether due to the ever-evolving, as well as emerging, tools & technologies that continued to advance and pop up at a relatively rapid pace or to meeting the rising expectations of viewers, internet speed and bandwidth continued to improve every year since those early days.
Then, Flash Video emerged, which didn’t just allow videomakers to display short videos online in a format easy for browsers to display, but was also an easy platform on which to build animations.
So, the tech was there and people started using it, whether it was news networks sharing their segments online, sites creating funny flash animations, sports teams sharing their highlights, etc. The process of watching videos had been solved, for the most part.
Like mentioned above, the technology surrounding online video production continued to evolve and improve steadily. So, by 2005 a whole lot more people had high speed internet as well as access to higher download and bandwidth rates, not to mention how much more common digital cameras had become.
That means that the potential viewers were there as was the video content, so someone just needed to create a place to share and find all of it. Enter YouTube, a place where anyone could upload content, or watch it.
In less than a year since its launch, YouTube was serving 100 million online videos daily and accounting for 60% of all internet traffic! And it immediately became clear that it could be the creative, fun new way of connecting brands, messages, etc., with audiences that people had been looking for.
Nike, for example, saw the writing on the wall almost instantly and got in on the act. The three-minute clip of a soccer star that the brand created for the platform in 2005 became the first video to acquire a million views on the site.
And it wasn’t just the big boys who were finding ways to use the then unique appeal of Youtube to their advantage back then, as YouTube-specific celebrities began to emerge pretty early on as well.
And after YouTube…
Platforms like Vimeo emerged soon after YouTube started to gain some serious steam, and then platforms which already existed started taking measures to make creating, sharing, and/or watching video content an easier process overall.
For example, Facebook began to include video as an uploadable media type in 2007 and, in the same year, Netflix launched its streaming media service, but it wasn’t until the early 2010s that streaming video really started to take off.
Again, bandwidth continued to improve, making live video far more accessible, which led to YouTube starting to host live streams in 2011 and then to big brands like Apple starting to live stream their events a couple of years later.
The early 2010s also saw the emergence and astonishing rise of online mobile video, which many believe to be the future of the medium, but who knows what else will pop up moving forward?
What we do know is that things like 360 video, virtual reality, and enhanced personalization will most definitely play some type of role in the future of online video, but remember, this post is all about the past. The predictions are up to you, or a future post.
The future of online video production will never be entirely clear.
The bottom line is that technologies will continue to change, as will viewer expectations and preferences, so it’s impossible to predict precisely what you can expect as far as the future of online video.
However, like with almost anything else, its history has plenty to teach us about what we might be able to expect next. So, we hope this little rundown points you in the right direction.
About Us: KVibe Productions, one of the top NJ & NYC video production companies creating video content of all kinds, can handle every aspect of the process. And whether it’s a commercial, a corporate video production, or a feature film, at KVibe, we always create to inspire.