2011 Video Production Industry Year in Review
This is part two in a five part series listing my picks for the top five video production industry news stories for 2011.
My first selection was the failure of Final Cut Pro X and the rise of Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5.
Video Magazines R.I.P. (Rest In Print) – Blogs Rule
My second pick for video production industry new item of the year involves a different medium than video (in all its deliverable forms). It concerns magazines – specifically print magazines or trade publications for the video industry. 2011 was the final year for at least two prominent video industry magazines – a third didn’t event make it to 2011, despite a new publisher.
The print industry has been trying to re-invent itself ever since the Internet and online publishing through blogs, new sites, and social media started to compete for reader attention (and interaction). Some have added additional content for their electronic versions – Wired Magazine comes to mind with its iPad versions that include videos that obviously can’t be played-back in a print magazine (yet…). But those that haven’t found the right balance (and the additional advertising dollars required to support both print and electronic mediums) have had their struggles.
One of the challenges of the traditional print magazine format is the long turn-around times. There are many steps an article goes through and timelines can vary but it is a lot faster to publish a blog post than a magazine article. In order to illustrate the differences, I’m going to take you behind the scenes of the writing process for my final print article, an article on Video SEO for EventDV Magazine. In retrospect, the steps from pitch to publish on this article were typical in process but actually a bit faster than what is normal.
October 11 – I pitched the idea of an article on Video SEO, featuring Wistia, – a video hosting company with great analytics – to my Editor-In-Chief. The target publish date was the December edition.
Article research was already underway at the time of the article pitch and continues for two more weeks.
I complete the article draft on October 31st and forward screenshots to accompany the article on November 1st.
The draft is reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief and then copy edited by a copy editor. A galley (PDF proof of the article) is created by typesetting the article body, artwork, captions, and pulled-quotes, all while leaving space for advertiser content.
November 11 – I receive the galley and have a same-day deadline in order not to delay the printer. I fix a few typos, gather some better graphics, and write a few more captions to accompany the graphics. I email a marked-up PDF with attachments a few hours later.
December – The article appears in the December edition of EventDV Magazine, which is the final edition of the magazine as EventDV announces in this edition that it will be ceasing publication immediately. US subscribers receive their copies in early December.
December 7 – The online version of the article (enhanced with a few hyperlinks) appears online.
December 13 – I receive my final magazine copy (It takes a bit longer for the magazine to arrive at my Canadian address).
Total time from pitch to print: About two months.
Now lets compare this timeline with a companion article that I wrote about why Wistia is a better than YouTube as a video hosting solution because of its Video Analytics.
After completing the draft for my final print article, I decided that I had enough material for a second article- unfortunately I had already been told in advance that EventDV was ceasing publication as of the December magazine edition – so I decided that rather than wait another two or three months to pitch and publish the companion article with a different publication, I would instead publish the second article on my video production blog. I had already started the research back in October on Wistia’s offerings but after I completed my Wistia Video SEO article, I did several more days of intensive research to learn more on YouTube, Google Analytics, & ReelSEO.
On November the 8th, I published my Wistia Video Analytics article online.
Total time from concept to blog: six days.
Two months for a print article is actually pretty aggressive – usually three months is the norm but this can be longer with a quarterly magazine. The problem with a long turn-around is that in the fast moving world of video production, changes can happen between the time your article is finalized and the time it appears in print.
My print article suffered from this fate as Wistia updated their pricing (lower cost and 2.5x more storage!) between the time the article was finalized and when the magazines were delivered to subscribers. In an online version it is possible to write an update so new readers get current information but this isn’t always necessary as the webpage with pricing that the link points to would have already been updated by the featured company. The point is that there is no easy way to update a print article one it has been sent to the printer.
My blog post article avoided this out-of-date-before-published fate (barely) because even though YouTube updated their analytics a week or two after I published my article detailing their current-at-the-time meager video analytics offerings, my article had no publishing delays – so at least when readers first read my article it was current. (This reminds me that I should update that post to at least note that YouTube has upgraded their analytics since the publish date of my article).
In December of 2011, EventDV Magazine ceased publication, appropriately with both an article and a video from Editor-in-Chief, Stephen Nathans-Kelly. The event video community responded, including this blog post by Ron Dawson on his Dare Dreamer Magazine blog (which isn’t a traditional print magazine – but rather an online magazine). Days later, via a Tweet, it was announced that Videography Magazine too was ceasing publication and was folded into Digital Video Magazine (DV Magazine). Add all this to WEVA’s Magazine, Wedding and Event Videography (WEV), who tried to come back from the dead with a new publisher a year or two before but also appears like it is no longer being published.
So all of these are signs that print for the video industry is on its way out but a recent eBay auction was also a good indication. The lot of ten Wedding & Event back-issue magazines from 1994-1996 was listed and sold on Christmas Eve for $20. They included free standard shipping.
Freshness of content is one factor but ultimately the print medium is not where videographers go for their information and writing letters to the editor and waiting for a response a month or two later is not conducive to a great dialogue for both the readers and writers. A blog or online magazine that allows comments, on the other hand, is much better suited for the degree of interaction that readers crave. As a writer I value the opportunity to respond to comments and questions – I’m not perfect and if I get something wrong I want the opportunity to make changes and show the changes that I have made.
Some articles are also works in progress, due to the nature of technological advances and unknowns. My most commented-upon blog post of 2011 was this simple video lens test I conducted on the Sony NEX-FS100 Super35mm video camera. While the count of 35 comments at the time of this writing includes my replies, none of this interaction would have been possible in the print medium. The video analytics report from my video host, Wistia, show how important having a video to accompany an article is. 47% of my unique visitors played the video. Unlike most video hosts that only tell you the number of views, with Wistia video analytics, I am able to see exactly how much of my video is being watched and which parts. The video engagement analytics show an 81% completion and the first 1/2 of the video (up to the 40 second mark) was actually viewed on average more than once per viewer, meaning many re-watched the first part of the video.
So what is the point of analyzing video engagement analytics and discussing comments in the context of video production print magazines? Magazines require advertisers and advertisers require an audience of their target market. In order to generate readers (target audience for the advertisers), the publisher has to produce content that engages readers, increases their numbers, and generates analytics so that the ad sales person on the publisher’s side can demonstrate target audience numbers and engagement. It is one thing to have X number of people on a mailing list but another to show that X/Y (which percentage and how many) opened their e-newsletter, read the online video production article, watched the embedded video, left a comment, shared it on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, and returned to re-read the article at a late time.
One great way to produce content that is engaging is to study the analytics to see which articles and videos have the highest reader counts and levels of interaction and then produce more articles along a similar vein. You can’t do this in a print magazine and reader surveys can show intent but actions speak louder.
Just as the ways in which videographers acquire video production knowledge has evolved, magazines have had to evolve in order to deliver engaged readers to advertisers in order to continue to remain viable. Those that have adapted are still around, albeit many are in different forms, but for every publication that couldn’t keep pace with the natural evolution of the flow of video production information, there is another new online one that is a more natural fit. I know of two online video publications that will be launching in February 2012 (but I can’t tell you more until they are announced publicly).
Video Magazines R.I.P. (Rest In Print) is my number two video production industry news story of 2011.
Stay tuned in the days to come as I unveil the rest of the remaining Top 5 Video Production Industry Trends for 2011.