Over the weekend, uber-blogger Robert Scoble castigated other bloggers and news organizations for not linking to his 40-minute video of his adventures in Intel land on the cusp of the company's announcement of 45-nanometer chips plans and use of metal gates and high-K gate oxides. In my post about the Intel announcement, I linked to Scoble's video on Podtech.net after he alerted me to it, and he took ZDNet off his "does not link" list.
I have a couple of issues. Rather than complain about people not linking, alert people to new content via an email, instead of calling them out like criminals to be publicly humiliated. I found Scoble's video on Techmeme, which means that it was receiving some link love.
The bigger issue is the state of online video today. The YouTube world of 3- to 5-minute videos is consumable, but I don't often have 40:21 minutes to devote to watching Scoble's or anyone else's video, especially when the video is an impenetrable black box. You don't know what's coming, you cannot move around in the video, so you are stuck sitting through whatever appears on the screen or listening while you do something else, which misses the point of video. I do enjoy Scoble's videos--they are spontaneous, personable and often full of good information. The Jonathan Schwartz interview (running time: 41:38) was disarming in parts, for example, I needed a fast forward and rewind button with the video running off my EVDO card.
If Scoble or any other long form producer wants more viewers, they need to figure out how to do a better job for time-crunched people, especially for content that synchs with the news cycle. One way is to have the long playing version as well as shorter segments that cover a specific topic. We have done that for some of our CIO Sessions videos.
Having a table of contents, with times for each segment, would also help. Making the video searchable, with technologies such as HearHere from Pluggd, would be a major step forward.
Scoble is not alone. It can be a lot of extra, expensive work to unpack video. At ZDNet we are facing the same issues in terms of making our podcasts and videos more accessible.
Podtech.net also produced an 8:41 minute video that nicely captured the essence of what Intel announced in a NPR/Nova style production. While it doesn't telegraph what's coming, it's only eight minutes and from the first minute you have sense that you will get the basic facts.
As Scoble confessed on his blog last night:
In all the excitement of MY videos not getting linked to enough, I made the mistake of not more prominently sharing a much better video that PodTech produced with Intel. This one doesn’t have my annoying laugh, my shaky camera work, had a full crew (two camera people, an audio person, a production person, and “real talent.” To you, that’s Jason Lopez, who used to work at NPR and has forgotten a lot more about media production than I’ll ever know). Oh, and it was edited down to “YouTube length” (Less than nine minutes). Has music. Professional titles. And all that, so it’s definitely NOT boring.
Both forms of video content are valuable--they just need to be more accessible and time friendly.