The Past Is Prologue
For years, the paradigm for video content revolved around the big screen and feature-length films, and then came the golden age of television. With the advent of YouTube in 2005, the concept of “long-form” and “short-form” took on new meanings. Now, nearly two decades into the 21st century, we are on the precipice of another transformative era: the age of short-form video.
The Rise of Short-Form Video
Remember the Vine era? Six-second clips that were loopable and shareable became all the rage in 2013. While Vine may have closed its doors, the appetite for short, punchy, and entertaining video content has only grown. Platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Snapchat Spotlight are now the leading players in this space, bringing a seismic shift in how we make, watch, and share entertaining content.
The answer is simple: our attention spans are shrinking, and our thirst for variety is expanding. A study by Microsoft found that the human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds today. Short-form video fits neatly into this evolving mental landscape, offering quick bites of content that can entertain, inform, and influence in a fraction of the time it takes to watch a full-length feature or TV episode.
The Creation Game
From a content creation perspective, short-form videos are easier and quicker to produce. Gone are the days when you needed an entire team, expensive equipment, and months of pre and post-production to create engaging videos. Today, all you need is a smartphone, a creative idea, and a few minutes of your time. The barriers to entry have been obliterated, democratizing content creation and giving rise to a new breed of internet celebrities.
The Impact on Traditional Media
It’s undeniable that short-form video is stealing the spotlight from traditional media formats. Television viewership is dwindling among younger demographics, and even online long-form platforms like YouTube are grappling with the change. YouTube Shorts, anyone?
Moreover, the pandemic has accelerated our shift towards in-home, on-demand entertainment, and short-form video has capitalized on this trend with consumable nuggets of distraction and joy.
The Future: More Than Just Entertainment
While short-form video started as a primarily entertainment-focused medium, its potential uses are expanding. Educational content, fitness routines, news snippets, and even therapy sessions are being delivered in short-form video formats. Brands are not far behind, with commercials and advertisements designed explicitly for short-form video platforms, often featuring influencers who have risen to prominence in this space.
As we move forward into this new era, we need to adapt and embrace the change. Short-form video is not merely a fad but a fundamental shift in how we consume and interact with content. Whether you’re a creator, a consumer, or a business, understanding the implications of this shift will be vital for remaining relevant and successful in our increasingly digital world.