Making Business Video “Must-See TV”

Making Business Video “Must-See TV”

No content creator wants to be the equivalent of the tree falling in a deserted forest — the tree that some would argue makes no sound because no one is around to hear it.

No, we want people to hear our commotion.

Certainly, I want to get you to read this column. The words on the page have little impact if no one is going to read them. Likewise, most video professionals want people to watch the video they capture with a camera or edit into a finished piece.

In the video world, viewership translates into job security. If people watch the content you make, you have better odds of being employed to make more content. This applies in the world of corporate video just as much as it does in traditional media.

Quite a few organizations today already are succeeding in attracting viewership of online video for business purposes. In market estimates, developed on behalf of online video services provider Ustream, Wainhouse Research calculated that individuals viewed 1.12 billion hours of live business online video content last year and forecasts that viewership activity will more than double globally by 2016.

Even so, let’s face it: executive presentations are not always the equivalent of “Must See TV.” Business video delivered online will never match the entertainment value of a sporting event or prime-time situation comedy. Facing that harsh reality, how does one go about building audience for business online video? Here are three ideas:

Understand your audience outside the walls of your office building: Video works best when it serves as an engaging venue for connecting far-flung audiences. So look for video projects relevant to those who work on a remote basis. Online video is used most extensively, for instance, at organizations that operate between six and 25 locations, according to results from a survey of 1,007 executives fielded by Wainhouse Research in the fourth quarter of 2013. Likewise, telecommuters have voracious appetites for online video, according to survey data. Of individuals who telecommute on either a full- or part-time basis, 39% say they watch on-demand online video daily via their desktop PC. Among executives who do not telecommute, only 5% watch on a daily basis. This suggests that video addressing the information interests of remote workers, or of employees in the field, has the potential to draw significant viewership.

Leverage Social Media: Like that tree falling in the forest, no one will see the video if they do not know it’s there. Explore whether your organization has deployed any one of the growing number of enterprise-oriented information sharing platforms, such as Yammer or Jive. Such a solution can be adopted to spread the word on live video events or raise awareness of on-demand content posted in online video libraries. If all else fails, look to build awareness via publicly available social media services, such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. For those not at ease with social media, don’t shy away from using good old fashioned e-mail to get the word out.

Seek Software Solutions: Today’s streaming media technology platforms can accomplish a lot in terms of getting the right piece of video to the right executive at the right time. Specifically, most enterprise-grade video content management solutions will offer ways to develop tailored portals of video content that are customized based on information found in a corporate directory. As an example, directory information can be used to present content based on an employee’s functional discipline. Workers in the marketing department see marketing-related content at the top of their personalized video content portals. Likewise, employees in the finance department will see portals with content related to their work responsibilities. Effective software solutions automate the process of sorting through growing piles of video, boosting viewership by making video readily accessible to the individuals most likely to be interested in it.

Certainly, plenty of other tactics can be employed to garner more viewer eyeballs in the workplace. My only suggestion, though, is that you refrain from posting your CEO’s video blooper reel online. Sure, you’d get lots of coworkers to watch. But — if you have to go to those lengths to boost viewership — my hunch is that you’d be better off just letting that tree fall silently to the ground after all.

Steve Vonder Haar is a senior analyst with Wainhouse Research. Reach him at