Suraj Ramnath

What works better online: Long video or short video?

Rajiv Dingra, Abhimanyu Singh and Kedar Gavane discussed this during a panel discussion, moderated by Janine Stein, at vdonxt asia 2018.

On day two of the two-day event (January 18-19) - vdonxt asia 2018, organised by afaqs!, in Mumbai, Janine Stein, editorial director, ContentAsia moderated a session on 'Long rather than short' video formats. The session had three speakers in the line-up - Rajiv Dingra, founder and CEO, WATConsult, Abhimanyu Singh, founder and CEO, Contiloe Pictures and Kedar Gavane, vice president, comScore, Inc.

What works better online: Long video or short video?

From left to right - Abhimanyu Singh, Janine Stein, Rajiv Dingra and Kedar Gavane
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Stein kicked off the session by asking Gavane about the top trends that comScore has seen in terms of video consumption in India, what are they experiencing and where does he think it is going. Gavane said, "I think a lot has been spoken about trends and everybody has their numbers and so on. We started reporting on video in India about five years back and the trend then was that video consumption was doubling every year. Today that has reduced to a quarter in two months. Every two months there is almost a doubling of video views across desktop, mobile or any other platform together and I would say that is the primary trend that drives advertising and marketing. We have seen that the younger generation love to watch shorter videos. Consumption has gone up five to six times compared to what it was earlier in millennial age groups and long-format videos with the older age groups."

Dingra said, "At WATConsult, being both a creative and a media agency, we look from both lenses and I think that when we speak to clients, we realise it is not about the length of the video. You can't start there. You have to start with where and what the objective of that video is and in what script. The message totally justifies the objective and also makes that video watchable, shareable and re-watchable. If that requires three minutes, so be it and if that is doable in 30 seconds, so be it. Our experience with clients is that it has been to be keept as short as possible and that goes back to the thumb-stopping creative on Facebook, the plethora of content that is thrown at audiences, the problem of the abundance of choice, and the low attention span of the highly distracted millennial audience. So short-form video is definitely the endeavour, but everything that meets the objective, has effective communication and engaging content that is watchable, shareable and re-watchable, is what is most important. So, for me, the question of long versus short is an incomplete insight of the conversation."

Talking about the OTT sector and shows, Singh said, "I think it is still evolving. You still have to see a big hit coming out of India; a premium digital series. Once that happens, there is an OTT market in India. I also think there is a market for an Israeli show like Fauda which has become a big hit all over the world and I am sure there will be a time when an Indian show becomes a hit all over the world as well and then you would see budgets opening up and other stuff being tried out. But that is still evolving."

Talking about what Contiloe is doing for short-format content on TV, Singh said, "We have made a transition as a company which has made 600-700 episodes and are now telling a historical show within 60 episodes, but that is a big challenge. We are writing it, producing it, doing it within the budget; and these are 30-minute episodes. It is a step in the right direction from 300 hours to 20 hours and I am sure there would be 10 hours soon; we would want to move in that direction."

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