As communicators, it’s part of our job description to stay up to date with what’s going on in the industry and the latest trends. As a result, sometimes we can be guilty of falling victim to ‘shiny new thing syndrome’, the tendency to get distracted by the newest in-thing in communication or technology.

But while the latest trends are important, there are some fundamentals that never go out of style. We speak to Mark Harrison, Digital Production Partnership’s Managing Director, about the notable trends coming out of the audio-visual space, and why ultimately it’s what the consumer wants that really matters.

 

Audience vs consumer

According to Mark, the notion of an audience is not only passive but completely outdated, and we should instead shift the conversation to consumers.

Mark says: “It’s no longer just about audience figures. The term ‘audience’ comes from the days of broadcasting when you just put content out there for people to watch.

“Media, and in particular audio-visual content, is now such a key part of the human and consumer experience. Almost everything about a person’s lifestyle is expressed through the way they use media, including how they spend their time and money.”

blue-quotesAlmost everything about a person’s lifestyle is expressed through the way they use media, including how they spend their time and money.”

Consumer vs trend

Mark believes trends can be grouped into three categories: perceived trends, real trends, and emerging trends that will
really matter.

He says: “To get a sense of trends that really matter, you need to look at what consumers have been doing over the last
five to 10 years.

“Consumers are creating and driving trends unconsciously. One of the most dramatic we’ve seen in recent years is vertical video. They changed the aspect ratio of video content just by holding their phone upright.

“This new trend was met by criticism from those who worked in media and video technology. But of course, consumers didn’t care and they just went on doing it. Now providers and manufacturers are having to produce content and engineer video-playing products for a whole range of different aspect ratios.”

Another consumer-driven trend nobody saw coming was the rise of live-streamed content. As a result, content providers and technology companies are focused on re-architecting their businesses so that they can operate with the kind of speed required to meet the consumer appetite for live content.

But how can we balance industry trends with consumer wants and business needs?

“Consumers simply won’t be drawn to content that’s not provided to them within the parameters they’ve come to expect. So, if what’s right for a business isn’t what the consumer really wants, they need to ask themselves whether they’re working in the right medium,” explains Mark.

This represents enormous potential for companies who stay up-to-date with and embrace consumer driven trends and technology within the workplace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

blue-quotesConsumers are creating and driving trends unconsciously. The most dramatic one we’ve seen in recent years is vertical video.”

 

“Most consumers these days have a smartphone and one of the things smartphones are now capable of doing is mixed reality – putting augmented reality objects into real environments,” says Mark. “That’s where we’re going to see a big impact for B2B communications or anybody who’s engaged in training.”

Amateur vs professional 

One of the biggest challenges facing the audio-visual space at the moment is achieving the high level of quality that consumers have come to expect.

“What’s unusual about media is that all consumers are experts. Human beings intuitively understand storytelling and the language of video. If it’s not done well, they know it!” says Mark.

Where does this leave Virtual Reality (VR) which has been touted as the next big thing?

“There are cases where it’s appropriate, but it’s by no means universal.  It has its place in branded content and experience but for those who work in storytelling content, immersive tech in my view is not significant.”

For Mark, VR in itself is not inherently interesting and in order for VR content to be successful, it needs to be relevant and executed well.

“You have more and more entities that want and need to work with audio-visual content, but have very little or no experience with the medium. And that’s really challenging. For most companies the way to succeed is by working with professionals and partnering with people who actually understand what consumers expect of video content,” he says.

Animation is just one trend that comms professionals will be aware of. Notwithstanding the fact that the right solution is always about what’s right for the audience – and not what’s flavour of the month – here’s a sample of animated work produced by Sequel for our clients recently.

 

For your own animation project, or any other film work, contact:

 Claudi Schneider      or          Julie Sander.