Today’s video market is constantly evolving. Entertainment-based over-the-top models are replacing traditional TV; movies and primetime shows are downloaded directly from cloud servers such as Amazon & iCloud, and YouTubers alike are now becoming their own producers, creating original content from scratch and gaining hundreds or thousands, or in some cases even millions of views. But this is only the beginning. Online video has been around for years, but corporations are finally starting to realize the true potential of streaming video technologies.

Let’s take “live streaming” for starters, with new emerging app-based platforms like Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope. Live streaming is not new technology—the tech has just been given a much-needed makeover from its predecessors. In fact, live streaming in the early days was crude & unreliable, with many startups having already come and gone without any noticeable disruption. Even Meerkat and Periscope are still in the early stages of development, having just launched within the last year. The current era of online video we live in can only be described as a period of experimentation.

App-based video platforms are a direct byproduct of the mobile revolution we live in today. Everything is going to mobile & browser-based models, leaving outdated, expensive hardware in the dust. True online video pioneers are realizing that viewers don’t just want to watch—they want to interact with their videos, and now that ideology has become a reality.

YouTube, which still reigns supreme across the industry as a whole, has set the industry standard since first being founded 10 years ago, but has struggled to make money for parent company Google. Platforms like YouTube heavily rely on advertisers to bring in revenue, which has since paved way to an entirely new form of web-based advertising in online video. But not all newly emerging platforms are ad-friendly. A recent study from Innerscope Research says, “Facebook is just too distracting, and that Facebook video ads have lower impact.” The study found that 47% of Facebook users immediately ignore or skip video ads. But I digress.

“Global advertising revenue from online video doubled to $11.2 billion between 2011 and 2014, and will jump to $13.8 billion in 2015,” a recent study from IHS Inc. reports. IHS forecasts that advertising revenues for online video will reach $19 billion by 2017, which leads observers to the conclusion that this market surge is merely just the tip of the iceberg. In the next five years, ten years; even 20 years from now, almost all forms of video will be consumed from a web-based source, either by mobile or tablet, or through a CDN or entertainment streaming platform like Hulu or Netflix, or even through an advanced enterprise video solution. Whatever the case, online video is here to stay, and the industry is only going to get bigger from here.

Interactivity in general is already the jumping-off point for the next wave of online video products, with west coast startups like Tivi & Zaption making waves. From a personal standpoint, interactive components in video will eventually tie in to augmented, or “virtual” reality, which Mashable defines as “a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.” Consider the interactive elements for video that we have available to us now, and just think about the positive repercussions of incorporating virtual interactivity into a video, making it 3-D, having 4K resolution—the possibilities are endless.

Video is set to replace text as the dominant form of information over the next decade. People—namely, millennials—just aren’t reading like they used to, and our minds perceive information differently from previous generations. Classrooms are switching to virtual models, with interactive eLearning videos replacing boring Power Point slides lacking any and all methods of engagement. Above all else, web-based video is becoming cheaper. Hardware is moving to the cloud, and will most likely be completely irrelevant in the next 5-10 years. Content servers are doubling as CDNs, and original viewable content is making a splash in the online scene even more so than traditional TV networks.

Whatever the case may be, one thing is for certain. Online video as an industry is only going to further evolve. New platforms and startups will rise and fall, with more failing than not, and interactivity will be the key ingredient to success for future ventures. Domineering platforms that control today’s industry may drop to second, third, or even last place at the hands of future competition, but the market will survive and continue to prevail onward and upward.

(Originally published via LinkedIn Pulse on July 29, 2015)


Max Greenwood is the managing director of social media for Tivi: Truly Interactive Video, a radical new online video platform incorporating interactivity into live and on-demand video content.