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Video in focus

Filmmaker, editor and multimedia journalist, Ivan Abreu, will deliver a video masterclass at next week's FIPP Asia-Pacific conference, which takes place from 27-28 September 2016 in Singapore.

Here, Ivan, who will present a masterclass on video at FIPP Asia-Pacific, shares some insights into the market.

Ivan Abreu ()

Tell us about the market trends you are seeing, specifically around mobile and video for mobile in the region…

I guess the first thing to say is that video is a global phenomenon. So we need to be aware that many times we are competing on a bigger scale than our regional markets. But Asia presents a unique approach to deal with this phenomenon and many companies here have a better understanding than other places – the need to get their audiences engaged, for instance, in one whole platform that provides multiple services. 

You have mega apps in Asia that provide a very strong service and video products are important for helping to keep the audience navigating. So that’s one aspect where I think Asia is doing very well – having the video and other tools combined to keep the consumer inside plural platforms of communication and services. In scale, this can configure a role model also for small publications.

On the other hand, one of the problems that Asian media groups face is the ‘quality versus production opportunities’ issue. We have fantastic platforms, but the content created for them sometimes presents lower quality, below the technological possibilities. It’s important to create patterns and that most of the companies can work on the same level.

What are some of the regional differences around video?

You have places like Shanghai or Hong Kong that are completely up there in terms of uses of technology, and have been active for a long time. The result is that you tend to have good content and higher quality for video products. 

But you also have other huge markets that need a big boost to develop. Actually, I think this makes it a great time to be here because technology is helping us create better products, more engaging stories and a deeper connection with our audience.

Are there common ingredients that you see in the businesses that are successful and that are making good video?

Indeed. The start point is quality. Quality is so important. It’s part of merit in this world. Time is also very important – you have to deliver on time. And the storytelling has to be very good too. So there are some companies that really understand that and they are the leaders in this market. They are ahead of the herd in terms of their behaviour and different to those companies that just say, well, we need to do video because our competitors are doing video. 

To have good video production, it’s also crucial that you understand your audience. If you’re going to make a good mark, then you have to understand that, otherwise there is a big chance you will fail. And that is because the competition is fierce.  

So, in combination with these key concepts – quality, time and good stories – you must constantly ask yourself “why do I need to create video content; who is my audience at this moment?”

How do the traditional publishers fit in here and how important is it to treat video with the same approach as other content?

You have to understand the need of the audience and the demand, just as you would with any other content. You don’t use a video production team that doesn’t understand your market and your audience. A publisher would never publish a magazine without going through those processes. You would look for a good editor, you would look for good writers, you would look for good photographers. It’s the same with video. What we notice sometimes in those that don’t understand the video business is that they just kind of push all the professionals they already have in-house and try to get them to do this new form of storytelling, without any training. The training, combined with the right background and understanding is what’s going to help make good video stories.

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