Traditional Television is called a “lean back experience”. As a viewer, you sit back on your couch and the Television Networks “feed” content and advertising to you. Your only interaction is changing the channel. Viewing video on the Internet is called a “lean forward experience”, in that, we as viewers are most often consuming video content online at the same time we are reading and writing emails, reading articles or blog posts, etc. This multi-tasking situation is one reason why keeping video content “short form” is a compelling argument.
The popularity of the “viral video” was due the outrageous nature of the clip, as the viewer’s attention was drawn to it via a recommendation of a friend, and was compelled to watch it “to see what happens”. Viral videos have become a cultural phenomenon, and marketers have attempted to use the style in advertising to various levels of success. But as a marketing strategy, it’s a shot in the dark.
A strategy that gives a better return over a longer period of time is the concept of a “series”. Taking a storyline and spreading it out over the course of days, weeks, or months in a scheduled and predictable delivery schedule builds momentum and compells an audience to visit and spend time on your site. This is the concept that traditional Television and Print Media have been employing for decades and is a model that works equally with New Media.
Additionally, the future of online media may return to the “lean back” days. With the rise of tablet devices and internet enabled televisions, viewing online video as a part of a customized programming package delivered to you the way Pandora delivers customized music choices to your radio could be the future of video entertainment programming. Content created for Television, and originally for the web will be available to cue together and streamed into homes around the world.