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What’s happened to video over the last twenty years, and how is it used today?

Take the nineties. Having a corporate video made was, indeed, a very big deal.

It was the age of one-size-fits-all. The ‘corporate’ was a behemoth expected to fulfil a multitude of expectations. It was wheeled out to be shown on the big screen at launch events and forced into the sales whisper of the salesman’s laptop.

And it was expensive, at least so the agencies and metropolitan producers told us.

And let’s not get started about results. Investing £10K in your showcase production was a bookies dream – an outsider that barely got off the starting line in The Marketing Stakes.

Again in racing parlance, there was no way of measuring form. Video was racing for the first time, made by marketing people who knew nothing about video and assisted by video professionals who knew nothing about marketing. It was the blind horse ridden by the blind jockey.

No wonder so many Marketing Managers’ reputations perished with their first corporate. Watch one today and see why. ‘Overblown’ doesn’t cover it. It was as if the decade had spawned a thousand Cecil B. wannabees. They were pitching the company’s Ten Commandments with the subtlety of King Kong to give The Greatest Show on Earth.


Through the nineties, the internet grew from a dribble to a river. By 2000, 50% of information was being delivered over the web. By 2007, this was 97%.

Video began to follow the same trajectory. At last it had a delivery system with reach.

Thousands of web-savvy marketing and training managers were rising through the corporate ranks from university with fresh ideas about communication based on the visual experience.

Video diversified into an explosion of specialist content for the proliferation of industry sectors that is now the modern economy.

Video-on-the Web also released the talent of university communication departments. The would-be Tarantinos, armed with digital cameras, could work at a different speed with different costs to their cassette-toting forebears.

The whole business landscape changed overnight. Mass technology arrived and with it entrepreneurs, developers, cool engineers and gender equality. Software applications could be created in days or weeks by one or two people. They could be out there doing their stuff for thousands of people within hours of launch.

Specialist teams began looking at traditional business problems – supply chains, pricing, task management, just-in-time delivery, customer satisfaction, quality control – and digital products proliferated.

Video became part of this process of conception to implementation. It could promote, inform, train, support and be quantified.

Corporate video transitioned from being the Saturday night blockbuster to a TV mini-series.

So where is video today?

When you want to learn something, where do you go? Youtube? When you want to train five thousand operatives in ten countries, how do you do it? When you are a new business trying to get out and sell, where do your customers hang out? What’s the most popular way of delivering information?

Two word answer – Web Video

In the past two years, corporate video has embraced the corporate website. It’s a planned marriage. Content is now King and video its Consort. Video families are coming out to play – small, specialist, highly targeted, precisely positioned topics.

The Web is driving video and vice-versa. And now the business benefits can be measured every step of the way. Analytics is a booming industry in its own right. In a fast-moving world of business, deploying budgets more creatively year-on-year is becoming the only way to keep pace and succeed. New growth channels and value-for-money rule.

Video is the world’s most creative medium. It can channel your latest thinking to anywhere in the world. Any market, any group of people, any nationality. The only limit to its application is your imagination.

To paraphrase Field of Dreams, build the video and they will come.

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