In 2010 Procter & Gamble was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame for its work in creating soap operas and mini-series on television. Soap operas were the earliest form of long form video content, or you can also term them as native advertising. P&G finally pulled the plug on soap operas the same year but still continues to innovate across formats in the entertainment industry.
Times have changed brands today are more open & proactive when it comes to developing long form video content. Brands today are setting up content studios realizing that direct response advertising doesn’t cut through the clutter of media noise. For the rest, it’s a choice between choosing an agency or a content partner. Facebook announced in January this year that it will be favoring long form video content with its new updates. Also, Facebook is believed to be testing a new tab for video on its mobile app.
So with all changes in place where are brands when it comes to creating long form video content? ABC won a Webby award this year for its digital drama series ‘Marvels Agents of Shield: Slingshot‘ in the long form video content category. The category has seen a lot of contenders in the past few years.
When its comes to long form video content, there is a lot of ambiguity around what can be categorized as long form. The industry definition could vary for long form hence we referred the IAB document which clearly states that any video which exceeds 10 minutes and has a content arc can be categorized as long form.
One of the popular reasons for not considering long form video content stated by brands is the falling attention spans and the idea that consumers will not watch anything beyond 2 – 3 minutes. In other words, brands are used to treating their users as goldfish. If you plan to use long form content effectively, then aim to educate, provide context for an idea or explore a complex issue.
RedHat with its long form video series named ‘Open Source Stories’ is trying to address and decipher complex issues like Autonomous Driving & Artificial Intelligence. The 17-minute video released two weeks back already has 6.8K views on YouTube.
IBM also launched its film series earlier this year named ‘Eye on.’ The film series covers stories surrounding science, technology, and art. The first episode released already has over 35K views and will gain higher viewership as new episodes release. This is not the first time that the brand is experimenting with long form video content it has in the past created a short film on its 100th anniversary.
HP created a film series named ‘The Wolf’ starring Christian Slater last year to build awareness around what can happen if offices don’t secure their printers. The four installment series developed with the help of the agency Gaint Spoon won the DigiDay Content Marketing Award for best video series this year.
Long Form Video Content for B2B brands
Don’t try to create an 80-minute documentary and publish it online. Rather create a film series with a content arc that gets subscribers to come back and ask for more. That’s exactly what Sensible Investing did which they created their 80-minute documentary. The team crafted a video series split into four parts.
Aim to Engage & Educate
With Open Source Stories RedHat is taking on the challenge of educating people on something as complex as Autonomous Driving. Similarly, Google uses the YouTube channel, Nat & Friends, to talk about technologies like Computer Vision or what went behind building the new Google 3D Maps.
Focus on the absence of product/service
Steve Jobs talked about branding long back at the launch of ‘Think Different’ campaign that great brands focus on the absence of product. That’s why when you think of Nike you don’t just think of a shoe which is a commodity but a brand that honors great athletes. If you want your content to succeed then focus on the message and value that the content delivers to the audience rather than the number of frames when your brand or logo appears.