Is 2013 the Year of Video?

A decade ago, techies were worried about all the video that began to proliferate across the Internet. Were the worldwide web’s “pipes” large enough to support such large files laden with digital data, they wondered?

Today, most people under the age of 25 laugh at those bandwidth concerns, pointing to massive, search-engine data centers that warehouse servers around the globe.

In a twist of print irony, one Google facility is the site of a former Stora Enso paper mill in Finland.

Some stats

More than 183 million Americans watched nearly 44.7 billion online videos in July, according to reports by the comScore Video Metrix service. This past spring the number of video ad views reached an all-time high of 13.2 billion for the month of April.

Nearly 85% of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online videos, the duration of which averaged 5.6 minutes. Monetizing these views, the average online video ad was 24 seconds. (Video ads accounted for 25.5% of all videos viewed and 2.3% of all minutes spent viewing video online.)

Publishers taking part

Magazine and newspaper publishers are among businesses getting into the video game. To expedite the process for them, content management system (CMS) provider EidosMedia has added video support to its latest Méthode release, version 5.0. “Adobe Premier is integrated within the feed,” says Communications Manager David Baker.

In the magazine space, Source Interlink’s Motor Trend brand is capitalizing on its more than one million YouTube channel subscribers, reports Folio. Automotive enthusiasts have accounted for more than 340 million video views to date.

“People watching on the channel may not actually read a magazine, and that’s just fine from our point of view,” Chief Content Officer Angus Mackenzie told Folio’s Audience Development. “We’re not a magazine publishing company anymore…we create content. It’s not up to us to decide how our customers choose to interact with our brands.”

Mackenzie added that YouTube is about brand awareness. “We’ll do 60 hours of original video content for YouTube this year, all of which will be produced in house.” (Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006.)

Snap and share

Watch for the meteoric growth of video and photo sharing trend to continue into 2014. Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, found that more than three-fourths of nearly 4,000 marketing professionals surveyed had increased their use of YouTube and other video-marketing activities in 2013.

For mobile video content, “shareability is critical, as it’s been shown that mobile users are twice as likely to share videos than non-mobile users,” Brendan Cournoyer, Content Marketing Manager at Brainshark, told Marketing Sherpa.

More than just video

Consider that in mid-2012, popular photo-sharing application developer Instagram had only 13 employees—and no revenue. Then, seemingly overnight and out of nowhere, Facebook spent $1 billion in a defensive move to acquire the San Francisco firm as part of Team Zuckerberg’s IPO strategy. (Actually, it was Facebook’s second courtship; Instagram had rejected an earlier offer, according to Tribune Newspapers.) Twitter reportedly was in the hunt to buy Instagram, too, but offered “only” $525 million.

Why did Zuckerberg’s financial advisors authorize payment of a premium twice that amount? Because the code of viral growth on mobile had been cracked. If the main reason people use Facebook is to share photos, then Instagram was threatening FB’s dominance on mobile, which is where consumer computer usage is going. In less than two years, the free Instagram iPhone and Android photo effects app had racked up some 30 million users—an impressive number, but still representing less than 5% of Facebook’s one billion monthly users. Still, Instagram has placed Zuckerberg’s empire at the forefront of the increasingly critical use of photos as communication online. Yahoo! responded this May with its own billion dollar acquisition of Tumblr, a multimedia microblogging platform.

Snapchat, the two-year-old photo app with short-term memory—images disappear seconds after being received —is hugely popular among teens and 20-somethings. With more than 200 million snaps daily as of June (fourfold growth in six months), it may be the next big acquisition, soon to be gobbled up by Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Yahoo!, perhaps, all of which may feel threatened by its skyrocketing usage.