Alongside the technological push, the digital transformation of video production and distribution is also fuelled by the rapidly growing video consumption by the public on multiple devices/screens via different channels. The volume of video consumption has been growing at unprecedented speed. In addition to traditional TVs and desktop computers, the proliferation of smartphones and tablet computers has freed people from the confinement of their homes and offices. People are increasingly able to consume videos anywhere anytime, even using multiple screens concurrently. For example, when watching TV in the living room, people increasingly also use their smartphones and tablet/laptop computers at the same time to find relevant information or communicate with other people via messaging and social networking platforms. A growing proportion of people use digital channels (e.g. via BBC iPlayer) or other time-shifting equipment and services (e.g. home or Cloud based DVR) to watch traditional programmes on TV when it suits them. Although the consumption of traditional programmed linear TV will not be replaced by non-linear, on demand TV anytime soon, the growth of subscription-based services (such as HBO, Netflix and Amazon Prime) has been significant.
The most exciting growth of video consumption is in the area of user-generated content. The increasing consumption of video on YouTube and various social networking platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) demonstrates that online video has become a favourite way for people – particularly of the younger generation – to learn, connect and be entertained. Different from linear, programmed TV, more and more people turn to online video for entertainment and information in moments that matter to them. As different communities emerge around video, the nature of video consumption is becoming increasingly social and participatory, in groups and communities of different sizes built around video sharing and communication.
As video becomes more interactive, consumption is also becoming increasingly personalised, enabling a range of new commercial opportunities to be exploited. For example, popular performances at the Royal Albert Hall in London are live-streamed to cinemas around the UK. Today, more and more events and performances are live-streamed to viewers via the internet, which can be viewed on multiple devices. Increasingly, the viewer can choose from different camera angles or switch between multiple cameras in live events and concerts. Some firms are leveraging crowd-sourced videos of events and offering ways to bring them together in an edited version. For example, videos taken at live events (such as a concert) by mobile phones can be combined to create unique personalised experiences for viewers. Recently, YouTube released a new tool for creating interactive, multi-angle videos, which allows a user to upload multiple camera angles for a video along with the audio track. YouTube will then automatically combine the camera feeds together so that viewers can switch between the different cameras while watching.
For advertisers, TV continues to deliver unparalleled reach even though it is difficult to measure impact accurately, but online video delivers depth and measurable impacts that cannot be matched by traditional TV. This calls for a holistic strategy to align advertising budgets for TV and digital video on the Internet and on mobile devices. Today, advertising agencies around the world emphasise the importance of coordinated, multi-platform, multi-channel campaigns, as these are increasingly demanded by clients.