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Catching the Buzz: Buzzfeed Content Takes Internet by Storm

Social media information sharing has a new leader, BuzzFeed.com. Originally started in 2006 as a kind of “Cliffs Notes” for online content, Buzzfeed has quickly launched itself into the spotlight with engaging and share-worthy media like: Listicle, quizzes, and DIYs. Today, the information sharing giant now includes 700+ pieces of content in over 25 categories. The site now incorporates investigative journalism, current event analysis, as well as the items trending the most on the internet. Buzzfeed recently reported that the majority (over 75%) of its content comes from off-site entities: 50% from Snapchat, 27% from Facebook, and 14% from YouTube views.

According to Tubular data, 5 out of the top 20 most watched videos on the internet are Buzzfeed articles. This data also revealed that while the brand has more views on YouTube, Buzzfeed’s Facebook engagement is much higher. The site has also reported that only 5% of videos streamed are from Buzzfeed itself. The majority of the combined video content from the brand has been uploaded to YouTube (46%) versus uploaded to Facebook (37%) or other platforms such as Vine or Instagram (17%). The viewership on YouTube is unsurprisingly higher at 8.2 billion (53%) versus 6.8 billion (45%) from Facebook. Facebook, however, accounts for 61% of all shares, likes and comments in comparison to the 38% from YouTube. Videos like “Cookie Dough Dip” and “Banana Nutella Sushi” were among the highest ranked for engagement.

Last year, under the umbrella of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures, there were an estimated 2,760 videos uploaded to YouTube (about 53/week) that generated the combined 6.5 billion views. Buzzfeed also uploaded around 3,103 videos to Facebook last year (about 60/week), a 122% increase to the social media network. This increase is higher than the average all-time upload rate from the previous year. With Facebook playing such a dynamic part in the success of the Buzzfeed brand, President of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures has stated, “Facebook’s decision to lean into auto-play has really fundamentally changed the way we think about the first five seconds of content.” With the rapid-fire scrolling used on many social media platforms, viewers need to be engaged immediately. This has made eye-catching visuals key in grabbing audiences and keeping them interested enough to hit “share.”

Buzzfeed has been social-sharing focused from its inception, and founder, Jonah Peretti understood that relieving the boredom of millions of workers during the day would be a success. The site claims to use its posts and videos as a means of communicating and not just as content filler. Peretti has stated that he would like to extend the brand into TV and film, and with $200 million contributed by NBCUniversal, it’s expected that Buzzfeed will makes its mark beyond the internet.

A New ‘Formation’ in Music Video Production

Gone are the days of waiting in long lines for the release of your favorite artist’s new album. With the advent of apps like iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify, the need for tangible music media has become nearly obsolete. Then along came video streaming. This platform of media dispensing has quickly become the leading method artists use to connect with their audiences. Be it daily blog-style posts or the latest music videos, fans can now have direct and immediate access to their favorite artists 24/7. We as an audience, in today’s technological age, are primarily visual creatures. When we listen to music, we immediately create images in our mind that either follow the story from the song’s lyrics or correspond to a memory or feeling evoked by the tune. Out of this imagination machine has come a new style of dispensing music to the masses; this style is called a “visual album,” and has been reintroduced to the public with the release of Beyoncé’s, Lemonade. The video production quality of this ‘visual album’ borders on theatrical and incorporates styles of typical vibrant music videos and dark art-house cinema.

Though many may say that this is a first for music video production, there have been two distinct and iconic musical artists that have had similar visual adaptations of their audio albums. The first, and still to this day influential and relevant, is Pink Floyd’s The Wall album. Director Alan Parker, was able to take the entire album and transform it into a masterpiece of artistic imagery and sonic innovation. The videos follow the storyline of the album, but throw out the notion that each scene should be a literal enactment of the lyrics. Parker takes us through the psychedelic turbulence of Pink’s anguish in a way that pulls the audience into the story rather than leaving them on the sidelines.

Similar in style but more theatrical than The Wall and Lemonade, Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker utilizes his Bad album to set the stage for a dangerous adventure against drug dealer, Mr. Big, played by Joe Pesci. Though the production quality is more major studio than art-house, director, Jerry Kramer uses the combination of album audio and visual action to play out Bad’s story in its entirety. There are standard song and dance/performance components as well as scripted dialogue and action, an area where both The Wall and Moonwalker deviate from Beyoncé’s Lemonade.

As technology continues to advance, video will become the standard for album releases. Video production quality and content will have more of an impact on the reception of music by audiences, as they will now have an immediate opportunity to see an artist’s total visual concept rather than getting it piecemeal. Video has truly killed the radio star, but it may not necessarily be for the worst.

#Powertothepeople

With so many socio-political controversies stirring around the world, youthful angst is at an all-time high. Millennials have taken to the streets to protest in mass numbers, but the soapbox has now extended far beyond public demonstration and street marches. In the current political and technological climate, there is a new way to get the message out and gather the masses…social media networks and video. With everything from #Ferguson to #ALSIceBucketChallenge, awareness is being raised through video production (both large and small scale) and “clickavism,” a term relating to the increase in political activism through internet/social media networking. Hashtags, vlogs, and viral videos have all contributed to young individuals getting involved with issues that concern not only their generation, but society as a whole. Video has become the foremost effective way to quickly get a message out to others, while incorporating a creative edge to keep the audience engaged. Videos that are crafted with the intent to demonstrate the emotional power of the subject tend to find more of a following than standard artificial media. Millennials have become more responsive to real people visually documenting their real struggles. Rather than simply imagining what some else’s day to day toil is like through articles, viewers can see, firsthand, the turmoil associated with a particular cause. YouTube channels such as VICE News make it easy for people to hit record and spread the word across the globe in a matter of minutes.

According to Tubular Data, Vice News, with its thousands of videos and millions of views, has a standard audience demographic of people ages 18-34. The Pew Research Center also measured the amount of political news that Millennials received via social media/internet video at 60% versus receiving their information from local TV. The opposite was found to be true for the Baby Boomer population, who received most of their information from local or cable TV news. With the older generation fading out, rapid and unfettered information sources have become the go-to for this younger population. This demographic not only wants to KNOW what is happening around the world, but also wants to SEE the action for themselves. For this generation, seeing is believing. And in an age where technology reigns supreme and just about every man, woman, and child is carrying a recording device, there is plenty to behold. Young adults want more individual accountability, and with video uploading and streaming at the touch of a button, they have the power to incite that kind of change on a far grander scale than in the times of sit-ins and letter writing campaigns.

Taking Content to Heart

Tears flow, tissues are pulled, sitting on the edge of your seat, sweat pours. The content of a video can elicit strong emotion or evoke the need for a product that transcends all fiscal responsibility or logic. Advertisers and content creators want to avoid the pitfalls of creating stale or “manufactured” subject matter; the kind of material that leaves the viewer feeling like they’ve wasted time they’ll never get back, or leaves them with a bad taste for the company in general. What steps should one take to make quality content? The first step is to depict genuine emotion and show the viewer real human spirit and experience. Viewers want to be engaged in the story and the have their interest peaked. Marketers want the viewers to be drawn to their client’s product and to build a brand for the company. The quality of the content produced needs to be true to the demographic to which it is aimed. Today’s consumers are no longer easily fooled by visual gimmicks, especially when the product has more than a material quality. Click Play Films is one company that has made its name through quality content that adds an emotional aspect not always seen from video production teams. Even when the content for the client is traditional (i.e. interview/B-roll video), CPF puts passion into the material to connect the client, the audience, and the production team, as demonstrated in CPF’s video for FriendsofRockaway.org:

There have been many commercials in years past that exude the kind of emotion that may have felt heavy-handed back then, but now, would be the kind of sentiment for which consumers yearn.

Researchers have found a correlation between the content of videos and the decision making process of the audience after viewing it. Negative content causes the audience to close-off their want for the material being presented, while positive content inspires strategic decision making. Companies who focus on what sets their product above others, rather than painting a bleak picture of the competition, have more success reaching with their audience base. Negative content leads consumers to feel alienated and angry, marginalizing them to a certain style of living or suggesting that they are not worthy of the product being offered. A studio sized budget is not needed to create quality, emotive, and engaging content. All that is required is a desire to reach the audience in a positive way, with sincere, heartfelt, mentally stimulating material.

Viral Video Production

Viral Votes: How Video Production Has Changed the Face of the 2016 Election

With the primaries right around the corner, election season is definitely in full swing. As the spotlight is turned up on each candidate, more and more viral videos are being created and released that both promote and disparage the others’ campaigns. While content may be what viewers click for, the quality of the clip is what keeps them coming back, sharing, and “liking” these videos. With candidates such as Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Ted Cruz making daily meme-worthy comments and working the crowds for the cameras, production of short, viral videos has become the latest medium for public opinion to be heard. As of January, campaign ads were some of the most watched videos on YouTube and even resulted in the streaming media site selling out of its reserved ad time, something never before seen by the company. According to Google data, Americans have watched over 110 hours of campaign videos, and candidates are now searching out video production teams to create streaming content to help boost their social media presence and campaign following. Based upon data from Borrell Associates, campaigns have spent upwards of $300 million for online advertising, much more than they’ve spent on newspaper and radio ads, combined. YouTube has even developed two separate teams, Republican and Democrat, to handle the influx of 2016 campaign marketing. Information is now transferred to the public in unprecedented waves, thanks primarily to viral video marketing and the instant gratification of online data sharing. Whereas in previous election years a candidate would have to rely on ratings during prime television viewing hours to gauge voter interest, they’re campaign teams can now create a video (similar to the now viral Donald Trump “Eagle Thwap” video) and have a candidate’s following skyrocket or plummet by the end of the day.

How much does it cost to make a video?

How Much Does a Video Cost?

There is such a thing as a general price sheet with links to the videos already produced and their respective prices attached. Prices are typically broken down into ranges since the same exact video can be produced at different price points depending on the specific content requirements and amount of resources provided by the client. For example if the client provides actors, or location, than obviously that can save some money and we would be able to provide the same video without adding the cost of actors or location costs, which can sometimes range in the thousands of dollars on top of the production cost of the video. Read More →