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February 27, 2008
TV vs. Internet Video: It's All About the User Experience
 

There are many distinct differences in the way consumers experience television versus Internet and mobile platforms. They do, however, have one clear common denominator. Kevan O’Brien, a solutions engineer for Adobe, acknowledges, “I have the same expectations of online video that I do of TV: Turn it on. It starts immediately. Watch as long as I want. Change the channel. Record for future playback.” As access speeds increase, the user’s willingness to wait diminishes. Consumers desire an experience that is ubiquitous and seamless.

When creating video content for the Internet, one of the biggest mistakes is taking a video originally made for television and uploading it online. While some similarities between television and the Internet exist, there are important differences between the media that alter the experience of the viewer. By understanding the influence that the viewing environment has on the consumption of video, marketers are much more effective at leveraging the unique traits of the Internet to their advantage.

Re-purposing television content does not take advantage of the entire medium and generally doesn’t work well in small viewing areas. Today’s computer displays are on average 15 to 23 inches. Browser windows expand and contract, each with their own separate images, text, and framework. Often several windows occupy the monitor simultaneously, with videos playing inside an even smaller portion of the Web page. Here are several aspects that exemplify the respective viewing experiences of both TV and computer monitors.

Screen Size
TV = Full screen, larger size
Computer = Partial screen, smaller size

Image Quality
TV = Consistent transmitted and received image quality
Computer = Differing levels of image quality

Screen Control
TV = Creator controls onscreen action
Computer = Viewer controls onscreen action

Interactive Experience
TV = Sit back, relax, passive environment
Computer = Lean forward, interactive, dynamic environment

Conversational Atmosphere
TV = Corporation = Business to individual
Internet = Community = Individual to individual

With branding being so integral to a memorable marketing campaign, it is imperative that videos are part of an immersive experience. David Trescot from Rhozet notes, “When everything in your visual field is taken over, the difference between video and interactivity disappears.” Videos popping up in a small, separate window are a thing of the past. Customizable video interfaces with opportunity for powerful branding provide consumer experiences that go beyond just watching a movie.


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A speaker on the subject of video marketing and the Internet, Jessica Kizorek was recently featured on CNN’s series “Young People Who Rock,” for her passion in documenting the impact of humanitarian efforts. Her production company, Two Parrot Productions, has spotlighted NGOs around the globe. Jessica’s experience as a Producer/Director played into her new book, “Show Me: Marketing with Video on the Internet,” which has received impressive reviews.
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