Sorry Audiophiles: It’s All About The Video
By Paul Konikowski, CTS-D
Last week, rumors surfaced that Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is secretly developing modular, large-scale video displays. Yes, you heard me right: Google is reportedly making their own video walls. This should be of no shock to anyone in the so-called “audiovisual industry” which has been completely taken over by the so-called A.V./ I.T. convergence. In the past few years, both AV and IT have become caught up in the Enterprise Technology sector, while the consumer electronics have themselves caught up in terms of resolution and cost. Nowadays, audio and video are often considered to be two Things in the much larger Internet of Things (or I.o.T. if you are into the whole brevity thing). Personally, I hate using the term Internet of Things, but I am just one Voice of Reason, and I am outvoted.
Many television news studios and even Dr. Phil are investing in large-scale, multi-touch sensing video walls, much like those that Google is supposedly developing. But there are plenty other examples besides these large touch/video displays that illustrate why 2014 is turning out to be the Year of Video.
If you or a family member is on Facebook, you must have seen at least one, if not one hundred, ice bucket challenge videos. The ice bucket challenge trend signaled not only a change in social media marketing for non-profits, but on a more basic level, it was a perfect example of what I call the “new” Facebook news feed; have you noticed that roughly half of your Facebook feed is now composed of videos? Why did you think the ice bucket challenge was such a viral phenomenon? Also, did you notice how these videos will auto-play, unless you tell Facebook not to autoplay videos? Keep an eye on your data plan.
Twitter has big plans for video too. Very soon, Twitter and Facebook will both turn into a combination of video ads, movie previews, political satires, short films, or tv-like series. Sure, these sort of video trends have been around for years on YouTube, but now that they are major parts of the Facebook and Twitter news feeds, a lot more people will be seeing a lot more videos on a daily basis. And media companies will quickly learn that video is the new way to capture an online audience, while engaging their own networks.
ESPN, which is owned by Disney Time Warner (NYSE:DIS) recently played Let’s Make A Deal with the NBA to allow live streaming over-the-top (a.k.a. OTT) meaning end users will soon be able to watch NBA using a set-top box or similar streaming player. No cable, satellite, or TV antenna needed, just internet access.
Soon, sports clips and reality show fights will be uploaded instantly, and there will be more and more live voting and audience polls. Video clips on Facebook and Twitter combined with a “buy” button means users can click to view the full feature movies or instantly buy the products they are advertising. Twitter also has a deal with Comcast, if your friends are tweeting about a certain reality show or breaking news, you could hypothetically just watch the show inside Twitter’s main feed. But wait there is a twist: the two contestants who have the least amount of internet bandwidth will be voted off of the show; the rest of you are safe.
Where will all of this new video content come from, anyway? Well the obvious answer is the zillions of mobile phones and tablets, many of which come with “decent” digital cameras / video camcorders, and with the right steady cam, tripod, or selfie-stick, just about anyone with a decent smart phone can make a video and upload it to their social networks.
For folks who want a so-called “real camera”, GoPRO just announced some new models including the HERO 4, which combined with the new LiveStream application, will allow live GoPro streaming live to the web, with just an Iphone. If GoPro’s stock ticker is any indication, it looks like their new cameras may be the big hit this holiday season. NASDAQ:GPRO up 200% in just over 3 months since it began publically trading. Other video related stocks that are riding this video trend include GoPro component maker Ambarella (NASDAQ:AMBA) up 29% Year To Date (YTD), Digital Ally Inc. (NASDAQ:DGLY) who make law enforcement cameras, is up 58% YTD; and last but not least Mobile Eye NV (NYSE:MBLY), a video technology that helps automobiles stay in their lanes and avoid collisions, is up 42% YTD.
In closing, I just want to be clear on a few things. First, I currently own stock in GoPro. Second, I am not a financial advisor. and you should do your own due diligence before investing in any stock. And last but not least, I just want to say that I don’t know if this trend towards more amateur video is necessarily a “good thing” for social media, for society, or for the video professionals of the world. But I do believe that if so-called AV professionals can adapt to this new consumer trend in video, that we can then offer more value to more potential customers,
We will see if I am right.