Video Snacking and Web Shows – Defining a show, and why it doesn’t really matter

Video Snacking and Web Shows – Defining a show, and why it doesn’t really matter
Bruce Gyngell introducing television to the re...
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In an article about the most watched show on the internet, Tod Sacerdoti from Video Insider defines a show as “any periodically produced branded content.”  I would expand on this, defining a show as “any periodically produced branded content containing related themes or plot lines.”  To me, the most important aspect of a “show” is a consistent theme or plot line.

Traditionally, TV shows have been either 30 minutes or 60 minutes long when you include commercials.  There isn’t something magical about this length of time – it just made sense for conventional reasons.  We are used to judging time by an hour, so it made sense to create shows that were 30 or 60 minutes in length.  Now that video is moving online, we are seeing this constraints go away, which is allowing video to evolve.  Shows now don’t have to be a set time – they can be as long or short as necessary to tell a story.  Sometime this means a short 90 second “video snack,” while other times it could mean a longer series like the Dr. Horrible Sing-a-Long Blog.  People like to define how long thing should or shouldn’t be, but I think the internet allows enough flexibility to break out of these traditional molds.

There are certainly advantages to this.  We no longer have to shove in filler plots to tell our stories.  Shows get be the right length to be effective and not drag or contain unnecessary content.  This is a positive thing for storytelling.

I’m not exactly sure whether or not it is important to differentiate web video by whether it is a show or not.  What I like about the growth of the internet is the fact that we can break out of traditional definitions and let things grow more organically.  Traditional standards like viewership and ratings are harder to measure and say less about the success of videos now than they used to.  In fact, videos targeting niches will receive less views, but might be more effecting in maintaining a viewership.  Rather than put things into tight, restrictive categories, I think it’s important to just let it go.  Make videos people will enjoy, and don’t focus on the numbers.  It’s more fun that way, anyways.


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