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Usage Begets More Business Video Usage by Steven Vonder Haar

When it comes to video in the business sector, companies frequently are will to put their money where their mouth – or where there camera – is.

While the rise of YouTube and consumer-oriented video sharing has raised the profile of online video overall, companies that have employees using online video on a frequent basis are highly likely to invest in advanced video business communications solutions. In short, business executives who recognize the value of video-enriched communications and are willing to invest in solutions that expand them beyond the realm of free video sharing services.

Results from an Interactive Media Strategies survey of 1,003 corporate executives conducted in the fourth quarter of 2009 help highlight this correlation between investment and video usage. At organizations planning to boost their budgets for online multimedia by more than 25% in 2010, 47% of respondents report experiencing online video for business communications on a daily basis.

The pace of video use rises less rapidly among companies with more modest spending increases in mind for 2010. Twenty-two percent of executives at companies planning 2010 online multimedia spending increases of up to 25% above 2009 levels report daily use of online video for business applications. And, at companies planning to slash online multimedia budgets in 2010, only 3% report daily usage of online video.

The usage patterns can be used to flip traditional notions driving online video adoption in the enterprise. Historically, most companies have embraced that old Field of Dreams “If you build it, they will come” metaphor in which the availability of sophisticated video platforms helps foster added use of video content by individual employees. This approach still holds true but may not remain the sole way to explain the interaction between individual usage and spending implementation.

Today, the availability of homegrown online video solutions as well as free online video services such as YouTube makes it possible for some individuals to experiment with using online video before making significant investments. For some organizations, this fosters an “If they use it, we will build it” deployment mentality.

In many ways, this approach is an extension of the iterative adoption cycle for online video seen in many enterprises. Customarily, usage of online video within an organization expands with the company’s tenure (and associated financial investment) in the technology.

The iterative adoption path may lack some of the sizzle typically associated with fast-paced Internet growth markets. But it could also lead to a healthier adoption patterns in which companies actually use and see return-on-investment from the budgets they allocate to online video.

Simply put, the best way to get companies to start spending money on producing video for online distribution is to get them to stick their toe in the water and begin experimenting with different ways to use video productively. Once organizations realize that the Web is a cost-efficient venue for distributing focused video messages to target audiences, the corporate budget for producing videos for online distribution will only continue to grow.

Steve Vonder Haar is Research Director of Interactive Media Strategies, a firm that tracks the use of networked video in business communications. He can be reached at