It is interesting to see that even on the websites of radio and television stations, the written word remains dominant.
Even more interesting is to see that on many newspaper web and mobile sites there are an increasing number of videos.
It is surely logical to assume that as the world becomes more reliant on the interweb as a portal to news events, videography will replace the written word.
Video, in my opinion, is becoming an increasingly important medium not just because of the rapid development of embedded news actuality but simply because a picture is worth a thousand words and a moving picture worth 10 times that.
Video is real, actual and a lot more convincing. Seeing is believing.
I believe that South Africa’s mass media understands this quite clearly. Newspapers are using more and more video material on their websites and subscriber newsletters.
They are not rushing into any transition because they quite clearly realise that to many South Africans, clicking on a video link costs money because our bandwidth is still so expensive. Equally, that same expensive bandwidth is generally so abysmally slow few consumers have the patience to twiddle their thumbs while the video buffers away at snail’s pace.
Even the big global media players such as BBC, Al Jazeera and Sky, for example, are still predominantly using words online.
While condemning the written word to death in the news any time soon would be an over-reaction, it does come as a surprise to me that South Africa’s PR community still concentrates almost exclusively on delivering their press releases to the media using the written word.
Why, one asks, are they not sending a videoclip along with their releases, a clip showing their client actually talking into camera?
Many might say that it is just too much of a hassle setting up video equipment and doing a shoot.
Well, even that process is now becoming a lot simpler. For example, last week I had an email from Al Jazeera asking me to comment on a media issue for one of their news magazine programmes.
Usually when this happens a camera crew gets sent out to my office or home and after a lot of faffing about they end up with a few seconds of footage.
Not so Al Jazeera. They just mailed me a set of instructions that involved my simply sitting in front of my MacBook, looking into the webcam, setting the resolution and talking away.
I then uploaded about a minute and a half of video to a holding website which automatically emailed a message to Al Jazeera alerting them to the fact that something was waiting for them.
They went on site and downloaded my video. The whole process took about 10 minutes.
One might argue that the quality might not have been exactly Hollywood HD but the point is, as is demonstrated on TV news every day, while reports on Skype and FaceTime might look a little grainy it actually adds to the drama and import.
I was recently asked to contribute to an online marketing tuition course that will be used worldwide and when I reacted by saying I had a lot of written information in my archives I was told that the written word was not going to be used but that all the modules and lessons would be on video.
Research apparently shows that adult students all far prefer to be able to watch and listen to lessons rather than read them.
So, in many others areas video has become the medium of choice to consumers, just take the success of YouTube for example, and I have no doubt that this is going to move into the mass media world at an ever-increasing pace.
Follow Chris Moerdyk on Twitter @chrismoerdyk
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