Internet video is pretty much on its way to becoming, well, the Internet. Cisco says Internet video will account for 84% of all U.S. Internet traffic in four years, up from its current 78%. According to YouTube, more than 400 hours of video content were uploaded to its platform every minute last year. And, of course, marketers have a lot to say about the topic. Here’s a mess of stats around it.
But I bring it up here not so much to talk about Internet video, but to talk about video on Facebook, which if Zuckerberg and Co. have their way, is also headed to being, “well, the Internet.”
Facebook seems to be changing how we consume video, in both small and large ways. For instance, here’s a surprising stat: 85% of video watched on Facebook is without sound. That’s right, Facebook is sending us back to the silent film days.
From a certain perspective this makes sense. We’re on the Internet approximately 100% of the time, but not always alone with it. Video sound popping up at work or on the bus or while watching TV is annoying to us and rude to others. So I can see us silently checking out the video, reading the closed captions, and moving on in our perpetual Internet grazing. But I also wonder how much of that 85% is just autoplaying video on devices with the sound turned down already (because who knows when random video ads will start playing on any tab we have open). Facebook users could be playing the video without even knowing it as they scroll through their feeds.
But it’s not just that Facebook is causing us to watch video without sound. Facebook wants us to skip ahead to the good parts…on live video. They’re doing that with their Facebook Live offering by measuring the comments and emoji reactions to the stream. When a part of a live stream gets a lot of reaction, Facebook marks it as a “good part,” and lets latecomers to the stream jump right there without having to sit through the boring bits.
And then of course, there’s Facebook’s heavy investment in virtual reality, what with the Oculus Rift and all, which will change video in ways that we can’t yet foresee.
But what these changes point to is that Facebook is making video more consumable. The worst thing about video on the Internet is that you have to consume it at the pace of the video, while the rest of the Internet is consumable at your own pace.
Now if we can only figure out a way around starting a video with a video ad.