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The Rise of Mobile-First Video


Video matters more than ever to travel audiences in particular. But, there’s video – and then, there’s video produced for where consumers increasingly “live.” Which would be mobile.

Mobile consumption is rising dramatically, fueled by ever-better technology, ubiquitous bandwidth, and even popular apps such as Meerkat, Periscope and Snapchat. Sites that emphasize travel video, such as Matador, report that mobile now accounts for as much as 65% of overall traffic.

Once scorned by professional producers trained in a more cinematic tradition, mobile video is gaining in popularity – including with advertisers.  That’s in part because positioning mobile-first content as an innovative custom content opportunity helps counter another fast- accelerating trend: ad blocking.

A recent Reuters Institute report found that 47% of US internet users now utilize ad-blocking software. For 18- to 24-year-olds, that number is 55%. “Ad blocking has become so popular,” Wired wrote earlier this year, “that it poses a danger to marketers, entertainers, and publishers. And mobile ads are next.” Apple’s decision to enable app developers to integrate ad-blocking software as of iOS9 constitutes one prominent step in this direction; it surely will not be the last.

Recognizing these and related trends, Travel Channel has begun to experiment actively with mobile-first storytelling, GFX and production techniques, as evidenced by these two recent examples that we have co-branded to US Travel Association’s Project: Time Off campaign highlighting the multiple benefits of taking all of one’s paid leave. (We present these two clips via iFrame, in order to maintain a portrait mode aspect ratio even when viewed over desktop.)

As Jim Zarchin, Senior Vice President for Custom Programming at Travel Channel parent Scripps Networks Interactive, notes, optimizing video for mobile includes targeting snackable running times, contextualizing GFX and/or and maintaining narrative continuity even in environments where the user might not want or be able to hear the audio track.

Even more importantly, mobile-first video favors content produced with portrait-mode viewing foremost in mind. As Digiday has observed, “It’s time to take vertical video seriously [it] delivers better results than standard video in environments where people tend to hold their devices upright…”

Zarchin’s Scripps team has captured a few key vertical video production tips in this short slide show.

This content was created collaboratively with Travel Channel. 

Moving Images explores the new era of travel video, from new platforms and technology to best practices from forward-thinking brands and content creators. View the full dashboard.

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