I interviewed Chris Tolles, CEO of the online news portal Topix, on his predictions for how video will mature into the local landscape, and its impact for audiences and businesses.
The following interview took place at the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association's 7th Semiannual Interactive Marketing Survey, where Chris was one of the featured panelists. Sorry in advance for the audio/video quality as all I had with me was a Flip and it was dark and loud at the show.
Chris Tolles' forecast of the local video landscape for business
After I did this interview, I had to ask myself, does Chris really "get it" when it comes to the business opportunity with local online video? I think he's most accurate with talking about a content-type (customer testimonials and reviews), but less accurate when thinking that user-generated video content will trump professional-quality content. Production value also means good production quality, and one professionally produced video testimonial and review would not only be much more likely to have better influence and reach than a bunch of amateur-looking UGC videos, but also be more visible in keyword searches and social media sites – AND provide a level of influence over the message – which businesses desperately want and need.
I think search traffic and engagement reports have already shown pretty well that people DO want video commentary, they DO want video reviews; they also want instructional videos, videos with interviews, videos of demos, videos of events – the whole gamut. Its not really about a linear progression; its more about many paths that overlap and integrate; and from new and enhanced technologies, audience awareness and input, and increased levels of passive-to-active engagement, new marketing models will continue to emerge – just like has already been proven in the local online space.