It’s time for business to free their web videos2007-05-04
David Kiley, writing in BusinessWeek’s “Brand New Day” blog, likes the way Shell Oilteased him from a snort commercial on MSNBC to the company’s website where he watched an appealing nine-minute video. The tease approach has been effective before: Remember Nike’s cliffhangere commercials that required a visit to the website to see how they ended? But there are other ways to seed a video.
Business usually takes a while to catch up to the rest of the web, but I’m surprised that companies haven’t embraced YouTube’s embed model. If Kiley liked this video so much, why wouldn’t Shell let him show it on his blog where he was talking about it? Why force people to decide whether they should follow the link or just skip it? If the video were right there on Kiley’s blog with a big “play’ button in the center, far more visitors would be inclined to click and watch.
I suppose some lawyers—and even some marketers—would oppose the idea that the company’s content should be allowed to reside on the edge. After all, your video could appear next to an ad for a competitor’s product or even wind up side-by-side with some truly unsavory or objectionable content.
Ultimately, though, organizations are going to have to give in to the notion of edge content, which lets people experience your content wherever they happen to find it; consumers will be increasingly unlikely to want to make a special visit to your website. Widgets are one sign of the growing recognition of the importance of the edge. (Did you see that eBay now offers an embedded widget that lets you display any current auction on a web page? take a look at the demo blog to see how it works.)
Between RSS feeds, widgets, and embedded video, content is moving steadily to the edge. Companies like Shell would do well to consider freeing their own content to be offered and viewed wherever people want it, exposing those videos to a far bigger audience than the one that will make a deliberate trip to the corporate website.