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Will video streaming replace the written word everywhere?

Will video replace the written word everywhere-So far, it feels like 2016 has been the year of video streaming. All the big tech giants have either launched, or are launching, their own video services of one kind or another. Twitter is pushing video more and more. Facebook added live streaming and gaming streaming. And YouTube will be adding live streaming to its apps.

Of course, video has been around for a long time. So it wouldn’t be accurate to call 2016 the year of video. But could the current video trend make it one of the last years of text? The answer might be yes according to Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president for Facebook in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

In an interview at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit in June, she said she’d bet that Facebook would be all video in five years. She went on to explain that video was just a more efficient way to communicate or tell a story.

She’s hedging her bets because making a prediction for five years down the road is a tough thing to do. But could she be right?

Other predictions

Cisco maintains the Visual Networking Index (VNI) on its website. The most current version of the index reveals that in 2015 63% of global Internet traffic was video. They predict that in 2020, 79% of the traffic will be video. And 82% of that video will be HD or UHD in 2020.

If you go looking for other predictions or data about video’s future, just about all of them link back to the VNI as the original source. But the historical increase in video is verified by numerous sources. Most have little doubt Cisco is right.

Some other statistics from are:

  • 7 in 10 people view brands more positively after watching their video content
  • 64% of marketers expect video to dominate their strategies (in 2016)

Years ago I worked with a start-up that insisted the company website be all video. The CEO and Founder said all the web would be video in just a couple of years and he wanted to be ready. He was ahead of the times, but in the end he was right about the proliferation of video. Just not how much or how fast.

But it’s one thing to talk about traffic percentages, marketing budgets, and survey results. It’s another to talk about how people interact with the Internet and the content. Mendelsohn is right that video is an effective storytelling method. But text can be too (you’re reading this right?)

The future

Whether Facebook will be all video in five years I can’t say for sure. Though I have my doubts. But I do think it’s clear that online video streaming has become an indispensable part of our lives. Whether we watch cat videos, live sports, news, TV shows, movies, or product reviews, we’re doing it more often and for longer time periods.

Still, I’m only willing to predict we’ll see “less text” in the future. Not complete disappearance of the written word. There will still be blogs – written, not video. Companies will still write product descriptions, though the video demonstrations or reviews may be more prominent on the page.

We won’t have the year of video. We’ll have a world of video, with some text too. That’s my prediction. What’s yours?

Oliver Burt

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