CreativityStrategy & MarketingMedia Production

The Growing Influence and Popularity of Short Videos

Netflix has announced that in the next few months it will release a series of original, 15-minute stand-up comedy specials, indicating a push for more short-form programming. I’ve advocated the popularity of short videos for a long time, and now the format is moving into the mainstream.

Business Insider reports: “The short-form comedies can help Netflix’s aim of acquiring more mobile viewers. Mobile viewers prefer shorter, snackable content — 47% of all mobile video viewing is on videos 20 minutes or shorter, while 39% of views go to content 5 minutes or shorter, according to Ooyala per Variety magazine. Appealing to mobile users can help Netflix measure up to YouTube, which ranked first in terms of average monthly users across iPhone and Android in 2017.”

Facebook is actually doing the opposite and moving to longer form videos. In fact, they will prioritize longer videos in the hope of driving repeat viewership from audiences looking for full length entertainment, which indicates a desire to complete with feature length movie providers.

However, Netflix’s short-form push is focused on gaining more casual mobile viewers, who are consuming short-form video on Facebook and YouTube instead.

And the move is adding subscribers. Business Insider continues: “Netflix’s short-form push comes as the company is adding subscribers at a rapid clip. The company beat analyst expectations and added 8.3 million subscribers globally in Q4 2017, bringing its total subscriber count to 118 million.”

So what does this mean for evangelism? One study indicates that 47% of people who watch a short video want to find out more. That means the time is now to produce meaningful, compelling, short videos. Testimonies, dramas, comedies, documentaries – all these and more can be powerful ways to share a message of hope.

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  1. Almost all of our short videos on Facebook fall off pretty rapidly (graph below — almost all follow the same shape) even when using famous talent for the countries concerned. We do get a percentage that watch right through, but it reminds me of what I was taught 45 years ago of having a ‘hook’ in the first 10 seconds. Learning to tell a story in a short film is definitely not easy.

  2. I’m wondering for churches who do not yet have Live Streaming if that is even a way to go now that the world has moved toward short videos. Also, since so much has moved online, I’m also wondering about the future of the brick and mortar church and the direction they should move in.

    1. That’s a great question Justin, however, I’ve discovered that each of these media options finds it’s own level. When movies were invented, it didn’t replace live events. When radio was invented it didn’t replace movies. When TV was invented it didn’t replace radio. And when the Internet came along it didn’t replace TV. Each platform finds it’s own level, and although sometimes they change, they continue to exist and find their own audiences. In the same way I think there will always be a place for live streaming. However, I think we do need to look at both options and use them depending on the audience you’d like to reach. As far as the brick and mortar church, if it’s a vibrant community, then I don’t think people will walk away simply because they can watch a sermon online….
      Thanks for your comment!

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