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Guest comment: Video on-demand “Snack Content” will dominate PC and mobile screens

As digital technology changes where, when and how we watch video content, how can broadcasters and advertisers adapt to new viewing habits? Jamie Estrin, General Manager, Collective looks at the growing demand for 5 –minute ‘snack content’ and the new opportunities this presents for marketers and content providers alike…


After another long day at the office, I’ll be heading home and putting my feet up in my living room to watch TV. There’ll no doubt be millions of people across the country doing the same thing.

Do I think our obsession with watching TV will be any different in 10 years from now? Not a chance. Consumers will always be attracted to the living room experience of sitting back and watching the TV.

The world is changing though. Whereas our parents may have only been able to watch video content on TV or cinema screens, today’s consumers have a huge choice online. As a result people are watching more video than ever before, and they are consuming content in different ways and on several different screens.

Broadcasters catch-up TV services on the web are extremely popular right now. When these services are universally available through internet connected TV’s, surely consumers will prefer to watch this type of content on a larger screen, rather than their laptop?

I believe there will be a direct correlation between the length of the content being watched and the size of the screen that people choose to watch that content on. TV programme length content will live on the TV in the living room, whereas short form content or ‘snack content’ will still be thriving on PC screens. Mobile device viewers will demand video that is shorter still.

The living room environment is one where people usually make a choice to allocate time to watch TV, and that time is defined as entertainment. It’s a lean-back mind-set. The range of new content that will be available through Internet TV will add incredible choice to the consumer, including access to shorter form content through new channels provided by the likes of YouTube. Whether through cable, satellite or Internet TV, I believe that consumers will always opt to watch long form content on the largest screen available at that time.

So if long form content rules the living room, snack content will rule the smaller screen. PC video viewing is more of a ‘lean-forward’ experience. Millions of short-form video clips (usually under five minutes in length) are being consumed every day online. This short-form video ranges from news, interviews and gossip to recipes, fashion tips, music videos and new car reviews - it’s all snack content and more web publishers are adding this new quality video content to their sites every day.

Long-form TV viewing is more for entertainment, whereas short-form video is often watched for educational purposes. Viewers of short form content are often trying to educate themselves, whether that be on world news, what Charlie Sheen thinks about champagne breakfasts, or how to make a chicken curry.

Expect connected TV’s to enhance the living room TV environment with a greater choice of long-form content. Snack video content is going to dominate the smaller screen, and the range of content is going to be immense. Exciting times.

By Jamie Estrin
General Manager

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