How do you feel about webinars and online video news stories?
Companies and book & education groups on line have embraced the webinar. Some are basically a podcast you can listen to whenever you want. Others require registration for a viewing at a particular time. Occasionally, there’s a host who takes questions over the phone.
Likewise, as online video becomes easier to view and download, many news links these days lead to stories that are posted exclusively as videos or as videos with a few lines of summary text.
Since I grew up in a print world, I dislike both of these approaches.
In both cases, I see the webinar and the oneline news video as very linear and, for the viewer, a very slow way of getting information. Other than the fact webinars often begin with happy chat introductions amongst the upcoming speakers and that news videos begin with mandatory ads followed by generic anchor desk chatter (all of which waste time), the information that follows can only be heard in sequence.
When the information destined for a webinar or a news video is layed out on an Internet page, those who are interested in the subject matter can scan across blocks of text, subheads, photographs, related links and stories, and get the gist of the information much faster than they can get it in a video or audio. In either case, we know when we see the material in print whether we want to know more before those watching videos or listening to webinars have gotten through the introductory ads/banter/chatter.
I can understand the fact that webinar producers are often giving out information that is, in their view, groundbreaking or controversial and that the webinar gives them a chance to lay the ground work before people can see the conclusions and decide the whole thing is bogus. And, quite often webinars will take listeners all the way to the end of the presentation, hand out a few free teasers, and then say the meat of the informtion is on a costly DVD or book. Maybe after listeners invest all that time, they’re more likely to buy the DVD/book than those who surf through the information and move on when it’s presented in print.
News, on the other hand, doesn’t even have that excuse. Since most news stories present the salient facts at the beginning, I’d much prefer to scan across a website of print to see what the top news points are. After that, if there are videos showing things that lend themselves to action sequences, I can click on them for more information if I want it?
I thought of all this again this morning when I got an e-mail advertising a marketing technique that can be adapted by authors. Unfortunately, it was a webinar. Wading through 90 minutes of audio that I could grasp in print form in a fraction of that time made me wonder again if those listening to webinars really like getting their information that way?
How do you feel about video-only news stories on line and ideas that are presented in webinar form?