Here's the dilemma - more and more consumers are streaming video, and the more they do it, the more they like it. We continue to track this trend in our annual Technology Polls, both among commercial radio rockers and Public Radio listeners.
But as we know too well, most radio people have not been schooled in video production and editing (that "Theater of the Mind" mentality), and at this economically challenged time, companies are hard-pressed to initiate video programs.
We have discussed this issue in this blog before, and some operations have been able to identify staffers who are skilled in this area. Others have sought out young, talented media types who learned their craft on Macs in their rec rooms.
But for the most part, radio station websites lack video content. And this only serves to send listeners to other destinations in order to enjoy music, information, or comedy. Given that there are ROI challenges revolving around producing video, what options do stations have?
But now there's another way, and it could be of interest to local radio companies and stations. YouTube has created a new video creation service, and already, impressive brands like the San Francisco Chronicle, Politico.com, The Huffington Post, NPR, have joined in. "YouTube Direct" is an online tool that lets these organizations make use of videos that have been submitted from freelance contributors. They can edit, tweak, and tailor these videos to be sure they fit their respective standards.
This concept marries the "Citizen Marketers" that Ben McConnell presented to our Summit a few years back with the widespread popularity of streaming video on station websites. In this way, news organizations and even music stations can tap into their creative audience bases to aggregate, screen, edit, and post much-needed video content.
Too often, clients tell me that all this technology is great, but how can radio stations under the financial gun possibly take advantage of new digital tools?
YouTube may have just offered a way, and for starters, give credit to savvy news organizations like NPR and The Washington Post for boldly trying something new and different.
I recently heard former Google exec Ram Shriram make this point: "The cost of failure is far lower than the cost of not trying."