Let’s be honest – has your reading behaviour changed over the last few years? Many people only read a good book on holiday or long public holidays such as Easter or Christmas … Even newspapers, magazines and website texts are now considered increasingly strenuous.
The New York Times hit the nail on the head in February 2009, arguing that a turning-point in the competition between the computer monitor and printed matter had been overstepped. We are becoming increasingly tired of reading and prefer moving images more and more. This also applies especially to the internet, in which the victory march of moving images is perceived in a way no other medium is perceived.
By December 2008, more than a billion people had accessed the World Wide Web. 70 per cent of al internet users watch video films and transmissions on the web; for example, 200 million people around the world watched the swearing-in of US President Obama.
Video is the leading medium of our age. YouTube started up just four years ago and today users all over the world load 13 hours of material onto the portal per minute.
At the same time it is not all about the fun-and-games potential of moving images. A study by Universal McCann and Knowledgestorm found that 63 per cent of all company decision-makers in the USA use online videos at least once a week – and ever more often on subjects from the fields of business and technology. Whereas people used to obtain information on potential business partners by means of brochures, websites or advertisements, today they prefer videos for developing or initiating business deals or business contacts. Videos in which normal people like us appear, not unreal actors.
Hardly any medium is so personal or individual or can be used in so many ways as video. From internal presentations to contacting of job applicants, from online shops to in-house communication, from event documentation to viral advertisements, video is becoming an essential marketing tool for companies. Video is the new success medium for companies of all sizes.
“Stop!” you might object. Not every company can afford big four to six-digit budgets for producing publicity films; after all, video is an expensive venture.
Or rather, it was. And indeed, many production companies are tied down by their just three to five-year-old investments which often ran to hundreds of thousands or even millions. And of course the handling of this complex equipment requires equally complex workflows. This is why the credits in Hollywood films are so long and the production costs so expensive.
But over the years, video production technology has rapidly become cheaper – and better. Prices for high-performance digital editing workstations have fallen by more than 90 per cent over the last five years.
Because technology has become so cheap, new workflows can develop. Every expensive piece of equipment now no longer requires an equally expensive specialist – or a handful of other specialists to plan and coordinate the work of expensive specialists and equipment right down to the smallest detail.
Tradesmen, medical specialists, tax advisors or medium-sized production companies don’t need Hollywood – all they need is a top-quality video that they can integrate into their marketing strategies and that they can use to reach a specific public. The video of tomorrow is no impressive end in itself, it is a means for addressing customers or employees, it is a marketing instrument just like a company website, a newspaper advertisement or a stand at a trade fair. Everyone with a website will be showing videos on it in a few years’ time.
Sightseeker Medien has seen where the change described above is heading and has developed new workflows. For many productions we usually send only a single employee – now called a “video producer”, who has been trained in filming, sound and interview techniques – to clients instead of a three-man team. Instead of individual scripts, including the related client liaison, we use standard scripts which correspond to the needs of each target sector. And we’re there right from the start all over German-speaking Europe – from Graz to Gelsenkirchen, to Flensburg to Vaduz. Combined with a transparent fixed-price model, we make standardized yet individual products – and completely new target groups have access to video as a marketing medium.
All film productions are controlled, edited and processed at our company headquarters in Halle an der Saale. Here, you will find an innovative sectoral environment in the form of institutions such as the Multi-Media Centre. The supply of qualified personnel is ensured by local and neighbouring training centres. And local government does a lot to inspire new companies for the local media cluster and to integrate them there. For example, both Sightseeker Medien, the city of Halle and the state of Saxony-Anhalt succeeded in establishing an efficient and flourishing organization.
This is an organization which with its products is also increasingly successful in the environment of the printed word, since a large number of publishing companies and portals now work together in joint production programmes with media and communications companies from Halle.
Thus, major publishing companies whose only obligation used to be to the printed word are successfully creating structural change of their own – up to moving images. And they are conquering a market of the future – together with companies from Halle an der Saale.
The author is the general manager of Sightseeker Medien GmbH. He was the founding manager of the bacHH Business-Angels Club and sees himself as a “serial businessman” who has successfully managed a large number of start-ups and holdings. His main areas of know-how are in M&A, marketing, the new media and strategic company development.