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Short form video: a future, but not the future, of television
TMT Predictions 2015
Deloitte predicts that in 2015 total time spent watching short-form (under 20 minutes’ duration) video online will represent under three percent of all video watched on all screens.
Deloitte predicts that in 2015 total time spent watching short-form (under 20 minutes’ duration) video online will represent under three percent of all video watched on all screens. Short-form revenues will be about $5 billion: by comparison long-form TV content will generate over $400 billion from advertising and subscription revenues alone.
These ratios may appear surprising, given that short-form is often proclaimed as the future of television. A brief foray on the Internet reveals many articles, with eye-popping numbers to accompany, arguing that short-form is already dominating over long-form, mostly at the expense of traditional TV.
The answer lies with metrics: comparisons of short-form and long-form are often based on similar-sounding but unequal metrics. Short-form is measured in views; long-form in viewers. Short- and long-form both have subscribers; but for the former the marginal cost is a click; while for long-form it is a commitment of at least a month, and sometimes several years.
We estimate that 10 billion hours of aggregate online short-form video per month should be shown on screens, but not necessarily watched, in 2015. This is a spectacular achievement for a format that barely existed a decade ago, but it is equivalent to only 20 hours’ worth of global consumption of long-form video (television programs and movies). Deloitte estimates that in an average month over 360 billion hours of long-form video will be watched, principally on television sets, and mostly live. We do not expect this total to vary substantially over the coming years.
Short-form should not be considered as a direct competitor to ‘traditional’ long-form content, but rather as an additional screen-based medium, addressing needs that were previously un-served or which were catered for by other media, such as magazines, guides to playing video games, or cookery books.
We do not expect short-form online content to usurp long-form traditional television. It is a future, but not the future, of screen-based entertainment; and it is unlikely ever to be the predominant video format, as measured by hours watched or revenues. Short-form’s success should be respected, but it needs to put in context. Any claims about short-form usurping traditional long-form content should be analyzed carefully, using comparable metrics.