The golden era of mobile video

YouTube democratized video creation and opened up a new way to view content. It gave anyone the opportunity to be a television personality, and success on the platform was driven by merit. Nearly a decade later, the platform has turned a number of Internet content creators into full-blown stars, and it’s changed the way we watch video.
What’s more, viewers increasingly have their eyes on another screen, their phone’s. More and more people are gaming from their phones, reading from their phones, checking email, engaging socially, and watching video on their phone and companies are taking note. Last week, ad platform Opera Mediaworks noted that mobile video ads are five times as big as they were a year ago.
No doubt the reason that a more diverse crop of companies are creating video content for mobile is because of the large highly engaged audience that mobile attracts, but there’s also something else. Mobile apps are democratizing video in a way that people haven’t seen since YouTube emerged in 2005.
Ephemeral picture and video messaging Snapchat has really been at the forefront of changing people’s behavior around video. The app initially became popular for sending your friends goofy pictures of yourself that would instantly disappear after being used. Later, it added video messaging. Snapchat essentially gave people permission to be authentically silly on camera, because they didn’t have to worry about the video sticking around or going viral. Snapchat harnesses the power of the inside joke.
Now Snapchat has grown into a full-blown media hub that lets people view trending snaps from around the world and video content from big names like CNN, Vice, and ESPN. Its rise to success may have both incited and primed us for the development of a new type of video app.
This is just the start. Clearly, these apps have not been brought about by Snapchat’s influence alone. There were plenty of livestreaming apps before Periscope and Meerkat. One app alone didn’t create an environment where a large number of people would want to livestream and watch other people’s livestreams.
But the other notable factor is the advancement in cellphone technology. Mobile phone cameras have gotten so much better that you could conceivably shoot a very professional-looking video right from your phone. Cellular networks are also far more reliable than they’ve ever been before and Wi-Fi is nearing ubiquity in major cities.
The coming together of all these elements has created an environment that feels like the early days of web video, but a lot sleeker and, frankly, more accessible. We’ll likely see video content developed in ways we’ve never seen before, which means big opportunities for media companies and advertisers alike.