Audio or Video in The Rise of The Machines

Two trends or two audiences?

“baby listening in black headset” by Alireza Attari on Unsplash

Twitter just released a feature to publish some kind of mini podcast thru their Periscope platform (embedded in Twitter, anyway). Just like publishing a live video but in audio-only mode.

This rise the recent polemic of the future of video and audio as content forms for the Internet.

Some experts say the future is the video, others say the future is for more passive ways of consumption, like audio.

It’s a fact that the audiences are watching a lot of video content. The percentage of video vs text has been in favor of the first since the new smartphones and hi-quality internet for mobiles.

Let’s don’t forget Google bought Youtube when it was increasing their visitors, more than a decade ago. Trend detected by Google thanks to its first-hand access to data search from users.

More recently, Facebook, Twitter… everybody, have used video as a strategic card to keep the business up.

But, in the other hand, we have another tendency, the podcasts boom (mainly in the USA at the moment), the audiobooks growth, more apps or services with text to speech incorporated (or audio versions), and now the smart speakers like HomePod, Echo or Home.

It doesn’t seem like a race between them, audio and video, but more like two trends for two different audiences.

The visual audience is clear. They always wanted to watch TV, movies, and now they meet with video streaming in any form.

The other audience is not as easy to define, but I think is a textual person. It doesn’t matter if the text is in form of an article, book, audiobook, radio or podcast.

Of course, part of the podcast boom becomes with the displacement of radio as a form to listen while commuting, driving, or other ideal forms for passive consumption. That behavior, that depends on the circumstances where the content is consumed, can be valid for any audience.

But the difference, or better, the hypothetical difference between both kind of audiences, is based in the natural tendency of some people that like to watch stories, narratives, even other people talking, versus the people that like the text or audio in order to imagine by themselves the rest.

It’s like the market division in books for fiction and not fiction. Some people prefer to read one, and some people prefer the other.

Even for something simple like search Google for “how to” do or resolve something, some people prefer the video results and other, like me, prefer the text results, in general.

Thus, the hypothesis is that the same target that likes to read likes to listen.

So, which trend is going to win, video or audio? “The movie or the book?”, we used to ask before the internet. I think, there is a demand for both. And both are going to keep having a growth, with better and more variety of gadgets, apps, and content for each audience.