People like video

In an article on the BBC Technology News page, I read about how the British web-going public are really getting into online video:

British demand for online video sites has shot up over the past year, according to a new report.

Written by research firm Hitwise it found that UK internet traffic to video websites was up 40.7%.

YouTube is the most popular destination, followed by the BBC iPlayer and Google Video.

Which is rather interesting. I remember reading loads of blog posts – locations long forgotten, sadly – last year talking about how people couldn’t be bothered to sit and watch video, and that simple text based messages were the best way to engage an audience.

Using online video, however, is increasingly popular, and government is trying to make the most of this new channel. Downing Street has plenty of stuff going up on its YouTube channel, and DIUS’ channel has been around a while too, and was used to good effect recently as part of their Mature Students consultation.

For a list of all the (known) central government YouTubers, see Neil’s great list.

In fact, mentioning Neil at this point is rather pertinent, as his new department, BERR, have recently started a YouTube channel – BERRtube – featuring some really good content.

One such example is the collaboration between BERR and Yoosk, which saw Theo Paphitis questioning Lord Mandelson on issues raised by the public. Take this example, on the subject of bank bailouts:

What makes this video work well for me is that: it isn’t just a talking head, but an interaction between two people, both individuals are recognisable, it clearly isn’t a ‘normal’ government broadcast and it is nice and short.

Paul Canning has written a fair bit on online videos, especially their role in marketing and making them go ‘viral’. I’m not sure any of the government produced stuff is quite at the viral stage yet. But that is not to say that it isn’t of value, nor that by taking baby steps now, more exciting stuff won’t happen a little further down the line.