Video Predictions for 2021

2021 Trends

2020 began with the usual incremental trends, but in March Covid-19 began hitting the US in a big way and much of life stopped. Non-essential businesses were closed, school was canceled and quarantines began. No longer could we have a meeting, hug our friends or go to the theater. We had to do it all online.

Although the early months of 2021 are expected to be bleak, the vaccines are rolling out and this summer may see some return to normalcy. What will normal look like? Here are our predictions for video-related industries.

Pre-2020 trends will continue and often accelerate

Online marketing video will continue to grow in importance, diversify and become more integrated into searches (FinancesOnline). Videos targeting mobile devices will continue to increase, fueled by larger screens and faster internet speeds (Forbes). Live-streaming will grow in importance, especially in retail and e-commerce (AdWeek).

Webinars will continue their upward trend. They've been around for years, but some vendors saw 300% or more increases in 2020 (Babcox). Webinars are a special favorite of B2B companies, who view them as a content marketing tool to communicate expertise and generate leads (Cardinal Digital Marketing and Cloud Income). As more and more marketing directors become familiar with the potential of this tool, it will remain a popular method of promotion.

Many of 2020’s disruptions had positive elements, which will continue

Parts of the media and entertainment industry were devastated in 2020, but in-home entertainment choices thrived. In-person performances and events will eventually return, but the in-home focus of 2020 will remain strong (Variety).

The meetings and events industry experienced huge disruptions in 2020 and was forced to adapt, including film festivals and awards shows (Ask and IndieWire). Even when the pandemic is over, virtual and hybrid events are likely here to stay (Cvent). This trend will offer opportunities for videographers with live-streaming skills as well as video producers who create value-added content for these events.

In 2020, Covid-19 shut down schools around the world, forcing a shift to online learning, whether or not participants had the necessary skills, equipment, infrastructure, and even study/living space and food (BestColleges). Schools were forced to get creative as they sought to maintain some types of skill and interactions (OWC). While online-only colleges were already growing, the pandemic accelerated this trend (Higher Ed Dive). This digital acceleration will be stressful to institutions heavily invested in buildings, but will continue to offer opportunities for disruptive offerings and programs geared toward workers needing to “upskill” and those breaking down unnecessary barriers (Now Live News). Online learning can include a mixture of live-streamed and pre-recorded classes and packaged courses for scheduling and location flexibility, and will create opportunities for better visual communications tools.

2020’s quarantines caused businesses to offer remote work — many are expected to continue to embrace a distributed or hybrid workforce model longer term (The Enterprisers Project and Forbes). Remote video production will remain an important option for documentaries and training. During the pandemic it was sometimes the only option, for example FrontLine’s production of "The Choice 2020: Trump vs Biden" (PBS). A number of entrepreneurs began offering remote production kits, including Sorrentino Media, AMP Studios, Absolute Live Productions, Astrocasters and Wistia's Soapbox Station. Now, many producers have learned to direct remotely, and the time and cost-savings is potentially huge. New in 2020, the Telly Awards has a “Remote Production” category, which is a good sign that it is here to stay.

Longer term

As video has enhanced more and more aspects of our lives, it will continue to be instrumental in recovery, healing and rethinking how our society operates post-Covid.

The entertainment industry will continue to deal with the negative impacts of the pandemic for years (Forbes). Creators and performers stopped altogether or pivoted online. Already low-paid, many musicians, singers and actors struggled to sustain themselves (New York Times). Independent creators need more control and new monetization pathways and channels to profitably deliver their performances to fans (Rolling Stone).

The pandemic was particularly detrimental to those most vulnerable, including the poor, the elderly, and the disabled (UN), Combined with “Black Lives Matter” and climate change, the pandemic’s disruptions have the potential to cause us to rethink how society operates, offering no shortage of needs for non-profits to address and endless topics for documentary filmmakers.

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