Business video review

Business video review
Published: 
February 2013

We clock up 189 million hours of online video each year in Australia. Business and corporate videos are the second most popular content category, after entertainment. Do you know where to look for the latest and greatest online business video insights?

10.6 million of us watched corporate or business videos online in 2012.review-video

As more and more of our information comes via the internet, video content is absorbing an increasing amount of our attention. The corporate video industry is booming, and all traditional print media sites include video content.

Where do you go for your robust business insight you can trust? We reviewed four leading homes of business information and thought leadership and came to the conclusion that it very much depends (unsurprisingly) on what you are looking for, and that slick production and expensive staging are less important than the quality of the insight and discussions the camera captures.

THE ECONOMIST

What: Innovation, M&A action, export markets, the euro crisis, productivity, global economic issues.
Typical length: Around 10 minutes

The Economist’s videos feel authentic. They may lack CNN production values, and they may be missing the super-clean-sheen of Fox News or Sky presentation, but these experts clearly know their drachma from their dinar and their bell curves from their black swans.

At around 10 minutes for most videos, topics are given the coverage they need to deliver understanding of complex issues, as opposed to the arbitrary ‘90-seconds-is-most-likely-to-go-viral’ mantra that has become the perceived wisdom of online video.

The Economist’s credibility as the go-to economics news and analysis source is reflected in the diversity and depth of its videos and the caliber of interview subjects it attracts: Richard Branson, Morgan Tsvangari and Christine Lagarde, to name just a few.

WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

What: Climate change, immunisation, entrepreneurship, design, the G20
Typical length: 9 minutes

Few organisations have access to such a vast range of business, academic and social leaders at any one time. During the 4 days of the iconic Davos annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, 60 leaders of social, political and academic backgrounds were captured on camera sharing their views on topics as diverse as the performance of the G20 on the immunisation of vulnerable populations to the design of cities in the next century.

It’s not just the ‘what’ of the Forum videos, but the ‘who’. With an average of nine minutes on camera, the diversity of style, opinion and energy capture the immediacy of live broadcasts, ditching the heavy scripting of many corporate videos or formal policy statements.

Frustratingly, the videos are poorly labeled – and if you don’t have an encyclopedia of global geopolitics you may miss the importance of one or two of the contributors because the labeling doesn’t say what they do. However, most interviews are worth a click, with a gem or two of insights to share.

TED.COM

What: Inventions, leadership, innovation, collaboration
Typical length: Most talks are around 17 minutes

For many people, TED.com has become the go-to site for inspirational talks on just about everything. For others, TED.com is an unnavigable and random collection of miscellaneous, even indulgent, ramblings.

What TED has done without parallel is to challenge the PowerPoint-and-podium presentation paradigm that so many in business and academia have clung to for so long. With a strict time limit and careful curating and coaching, speakers are challenged to pace, to pose, to pontificate and to make an emotional connection with the audience, whether the topic is exporting, education or eradicating global disease.

Without question, TED has raised the bar when it comes to public speaking.

The qualifying criterion to be included at TED or on TED.com is ‘riveting talks, by remarkable people’, and it’s within this context that a number of business thoughts are aired. TED speakers present to a diverse audience, so the talks are pitched for a broad, rather than specialist, appeal.

TED talks are useful for identifying future trends and big picture issues rather than contemporary business events. A TED talk might not help you to get your job done today, but it may help you direct your tomorrow.

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT)

What: Innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership, etc.
Typical length: Anything from 1 minute, on a topical issue, to a video of an entire hour-long lecture

MIT is famous for opening up its course content to all for free, online. MIT is also a founding member of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs), an initiative taken in partnership with a number of leading universities throughout the world, including The University of Queensland, to make more courses available globally.

Fittingly, therefore, MIT leads the pack when it comes to online video content for business. There are almost 500 videos, covering everything from course-related webinars to what it’s like to study at MIT, featuring lectures, discussion groups and interviews with visiting thought leaders.

Where MIT videos stand out is in panel discussions. These bring together academics and business people to talk about entrepreneurship, leadership, innovation and other business school stalwarts. It is the mix of theory and practice from leaders in their fields that make these videos so compelling.