Online video practice research

Put simply, online video is video published to the internet through different platforms, each with different purposes and affordances. With the democratisation of the internet and proliferation of the consumer/producer interaction of online media, online video is at the forefront of the Web 2.0. As cited in the Ian Wong reading, “Our insatiable appetite for digital video — preferably streamed on-demand — has quietly reshaped the internet.”

Nowhere is this idea more evident than in the example of Netflix, the online streaming service that grants millions the ability to access hundreds of professionally produced online videos at a meagre cost. According to Wong, “on any given day in North America, 40% of peak-time internet traffic flows from Netflix”, with Americans spending a weekly average of nine extra hours interacting with online video than that of traditional media platforms such as television and film, suggesting that online video is indeed the outlet of the future.

However, as previously mentioned, when contemplating the way in which we interact with online media, it is the affordances of these platforms that shape the way in which online video is produced and consumed. Online video that is published on social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat is able to be produced and consumed through the one platform. They are generally amateur produced and brief in length because of the ‘scroll’ function of the platforms and are often accompanied by some text due to the fact that these videos automatically play without sound unless they are specifically opened. In contrast, online streaming sites such as Netflix and Stan host professionally produced online video content that is more formal in nature and can only be consumed rather than being produced on the platform.

Moreover, unlike traditional video produced for mediums such as television and film, in which footage was intended to be watched in a single, or episodic manner, online video is vastly different. Due to the consumers ability to leave and come back and to navigate away from online video, video that is produced for online audiences is generally shorter and more fragmented because of the way in which audiences engage with this content.

This is partly because unlike in traditional video production practices, in which videos were meticulously planned and created, online video is drastically different. The quality of video cameras, affordable editing software and the increased speed of internet speed has democratised the production of online media to the point where anyone with a smart phone and an idea is able to produce a reasonably good quality video that can be shared to the online community for a fraction of the price of traditional practices. Examples of these online videos can be seen on websites such as Vimeo and YouTube on which professional quality videos are being produced by non-professionals. As Burges and Green point out, “[YouTube’s] value [is in] the users who upload content to the website, and the audiences who engage around that content”, further highlighting the multifaceted realm of the Web 2.0.


Ian Wong, Jan. “The Internet Has Been Quietly Rewired, and Video Is the Reason Why.” Quartz. N.p., 2016. Web.

Burgess, Jean, and Joshua Green. YouTube Digital Media and Society Series. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2009. Print.

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