Pivoting To Video Is The Biggest Trend In Media, But It May Disappoint Creators

By Ethan Varian
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) With brands expected to spend $22 billion on video ads in the U.S. by 2022, a 68 percent increase from this year, according to eMarketer, social media platforms are likely to be filled with even more quick clips in the years to come.

Los Angeles Times

In 2015, BuzzFeed assigned five employees to a single objective: Craft the perfect viral Facebook video.

To ensure maximum shareability, such a video had to be short, no more than 40 seconds, and enjoyable either with or without sound as users scrolled their feeds.

The team found its solution in how-to cooking clips, and soon the videos made by its Tasty sub-brand began taking Facebook by storm.

BuzzFeed’s success with Tasty, and the widespread popularity of rival food channels such as Tastemade and Delish, did not go unnoticed.

Much of the media world has since invested in producing short videos to be shared across social media and watched (muted or with sound) on mobile devices.

With brands expected to spend $22 billion on video ads in the U.S. by 2022, a 68 percent increase from this year, according to eMarketer, social media platforms are likely to be filled with even more quick clips in the years to come.

But as more video creators rush to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube to share their content, the shift to video may prove less lucrative than publishers hope.

Digital publications including Mashable, Uproxx Media Group, Fusion Media Group and Defy Media, all of which have put significant resources toward video, either sold or are looking to sell ownership stakes in their companies, according to various media reports. In addition, Vice, Mic and BuzzFeed each announced layoffs this year after doubling down on video.

“I see digital video as little more than an iteration of the banner ad,” said Pivotal Research advertising analyst Brian Wieser, referring to the easily ignored advertisements atop web pages, which once were core to online publishing but since have yielded diminishing returns.

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