Video has had a tremendous effect on the way we see our media. We can download TV shows we missed, we can watch sports games live through the internet, we can watch visual diaries and we can share our own creativity. But nowhere is the effect of online video more present than in offline media. Online videos have become news – a way for people to report information that was previously more difficult.
Take the fall of Senator George Allen from Virginia. A prominent Republican, Allen was expected to be a presidential nominee in 2008. But during the 2006 elections, a citizen videotaped him making what was taken to be a racist comment towards dark skinned individuals, and he quickly fell from grace, losing his election in a predominately Republican state.
Video on the web has also made it possible for news organizations to quickly find clips of political gaffs. When a politician claims they've never said something, a quick search on YouTube can easily prove otherwise. It has caused politicians to become more accountable for their actions. Online video has even influenced the way elections are run. Early in the 2008 elections, there were two debates that featured questions chosen from YouTube users – this allowed, for the first time, every day individuals to ask questions to political candidates without having to force their way into a crowd or be lucky enough to be selected for their audience. The more people that are allowed to voice their questions, the more likely a question will be selected that interests the people watching.
News and Television
Online video has also allowed prominent offline news organizations, like the New York Times, to expand their journalistic abilities by adding video to their website exposing or discussing important issues. What was originally only a print paper has become a mixture of both the written word and visual journalism. By doing so, it is easy for the New York Times to "show" the stories that they are exposing rather than simply "telling" the issues.
Free online videos, like those created by the average individual, are making news as well. When a video becomes popular enough, it becomes a part of pop culture and is shown on news networks and often parodied on comedy shows. Any online video that gains popularity has the potential of becoming an offline phenomenon, simply because it was watched by enough individuals that it is considered relevant.
When unfunded freedom of expression begins to have an effect on pop culture, you can easily see the effect of online video in an offline world.
Still, the main effect of online video is the ability to have visual support for your non-visual text / opinions. Sports websites have begun using online video in conjunction with their description of a particular game in order to give the users both the detailed and the visual experience. News organizations, again, have begun using video to support their articles. Electronics websites are able to have video reviews. And movie websites are now able to supply previews with their movie reviews.
While this video is primarily online, they are often used to support offline media tools. Movie reviews refer people to their websites to view previews, news organizations tell people to visit their website to see footage and so on.
Video has become more than just a visual tool as well – it is slowly moving into becoming a form of advertising.
Sometimes it is subtle – music companies have begun posting their popular music videos online in order to improve CD sales – but other times it is completely used as a sales device. Commercials are tailored specifically for web video, while other videos have ads that pop up at the bottom, and still others are designed as a way to support an items sale (for example, video testimonials for why a product is so effective).
As advertising using online video gets more popular, offline advertising is likely to decrease its revenue because online advertising is cheaper and has the ability to reach more people. Once offline revenue lessens, television channels are going to have to take more responsibility for their content rather than simply throwing together a show and assuming people will watch.
Online video greatly affects the way online media is provided. But it appears to have an even greater effect with offline media, an effect that is likely to change, and not in offline media's favor.