The Six Easiest Predictions About Video In 2016

By Patrik - February 9, 2016 (Last updated: April 7, 2017)

Looking through the lenses of consumer adoption, content availability and technology, thinking that audience + content + tech = success, here are my predictions for the video landscape in 2016. They are based on conversations with colleagues, partners and customers, a large amount of reading and even more coffee.

Yes, I know it’s too late to make predictions for the next year when CES is over, but I’ll do it anyway, even though they most certainly are wrong1.

“Whatever we think of the future, it is most likely wrong.” Alf Rehn 1

The horror of Vertical Video

Vertical video is here whether you like it or not, and there seem to be a lot of people not liking it at all. I tweeted about Youtube taking on vertical video…

…and look what I got in response (video from Glove and Boots).

You may be snarky about it, but users both record and watch vertical video, because they can, because they don’t have to turn the phone (less friction), because their friends do it. It’s about the context – with the mobile it’s easier to view and record vertically.

Another signal is the rise of platforms and apps that are using vertical videos, just look at Meerkat, Periscope, Snapchat or Vervid. Even Youtube supports it now, meaning you don’t have to squint to watch your vertical videos.

Advertisers and e-commerce sites/apps on the mobile seem to have understood the value of vertical videos, producing content as well putting money into it. It fits well into brand advertising, e.g., someone showing off clothes, would you prefer peering at a corner of a horizontal video or have the model fill the whole screen?

It’s not an abomination, and it will not take over traditional formats, it’s yet another creative outlet, like Vine or Vibbidi. We have the technology, the audience, the content and it happens in 2016.

VR video hardware straight for the closet

There are massive amounts of hardware coming out, for viewing (consumers), for production (cameras etc.), as well as there are platforms that adapts to the new format. No doubt that it will become big this year, in terms of money pouring into it. There are a few things making me say that.

Unlike 3D (which I never believed in, but sorry, it’s not documented so I can’t prove it), there are more professional content created this time, and the format will also drive innovation in storytelling (also unlike 3D). My favourite example is the new Frontier programme from the 2016 Sundance festival, which this year featured 30 VR pieces, with a curator working hard to show the diversity of both storytelling potential and technology.

Unlike 3D, it is easier and cheaper to view VR content with new affordable hardware, e.g., Google Cardboard. At the same time there are a whole slew of cameras being released this year. While they are still expensive, like the Nikon 4K 360 camera, or the simpler second generation Ricoh Theta S the competition should drive down prices fast, especially with an audience to watch the results.

There will be an explosion of hardware, and most of it will probably end up in the closet after a few hours or weeks of novelty, but when the producers find the new storytelling formats, VR will take off for real. 2016 will not be the year of VR, but hype or not, VR is here to stay in one form or another.

Cloud storage instead of DAM – for real

We all know, well people talked about it at least, that Dropbox, Box and other cloud storages have been taking over DAMs since way back, but it hasn’t happened yet. Well, now we’re getting there, as cloud storage become mainstream, almost a commodity (who aren’t a user of any of the most common cloud storages), and DAM’s continue to be behemoths with focus on storing assets, not using assets, thus making it hard to get started. Why now?

There are more and more people in your organisation that need to have access to media assets, and they are not always willing to wait until a DAM structure is in place. It’s one thing to build structure and decide on metadata for assets that you want to keep “forever”, another thing to handle fast moving (marketing) material.

At the same time Dropbox, Box and other cloud storages become platforms to build your own applications on. No matter what you or your IT department say, people store files in the cloud, especially when they need a quick “worse is better” solution. So now the material is in the cloud, and the providers open up their APIs for third-party developers to build applications that make use of it. Some of those applications will be video aware and thus become a light-weight video asset management system, without the legacy.

Bouncing this idea off the always one step ahead Steve Sharman, I got this back, adding a new interesting layer to storage:

“Dropbox and Box will enhance their offering with machine learning and other tools so that they’re not just places to store your videos, but to help curate them for you by automatically extracting metadata, helping you build albums and share them etc; and these features will also be useful and applicable to businesses.” Steve Sharman

Competition is not only from third-party developers, it’s from the storage providers themselves, as they start to compete on being content platforms, instead of storage providers. Hey, welcome to the new world order of light-weight video content management.

Emotion recognition is the new face recognition

There have been a lot of faces recognised the last few years, which is all good (or scary), but it’s a static, you only know who, but not what they feel. Emotions is what drives storytelling, us, and especially shopping. Without emotions, nothing much fun would happen.

Use it to see how your marketing affects consumers, measure response to a movie or build deeper relationships with your audience, closing the feedback loop. Emotions are also “soft” metadata, that you can automatically harvest using tools like Affectiva, Emotient and CrowdEmotion.

Mood image emotion recognition

Automatic metadata harvesting for the win

Video analysis is going from the labs to commercial products, both from smaller high-tech companies, e.g., Imagga, Dextro or Valossa, and from the behemoths. Opening up this advanced computing to anyone with APIs, will enable smaller companies building applications and tools on top of advanced video analysis.
Bounced this one off Steve Sharman as well, and got:

“Google, Facebook and others will open their respective image processing platforms so that functionality such as speech translation, video object recognition and automated classification and so on will become accessible via APIs allowing companies to build new products in this area without huge R&D, but with the “tax” of tying them into using one or more of the big online players.” Steve Sharman

I see this as one of the technical drivers behind automatic video editing, but it has its place in many other applications as well. Security, e-commerce and augmented reality comes to mind. Add it to any API-only video platform, and you are halfway through building your new hot automatic editing app.

Automatic video editing become crowded

There is no end to the number of applications both on mobile and desktop that can help you create small videos, fully automatic or more common semi-automatic. Some of my favorites are Replay, the brand new KnowMe on mobile, or ShredVideo. There will be no Werner Herzog movies, not in 4500 years at least, but it is already good enough for grandma to look at the daily shenanigans from her grandchildren. I am sure she prefers to get the video today, than waiting for the director’s cut.

Today the automatic editors use simple information to control the editing, e.g., time, location, accelerometer data, but in time advanced video analysis will serve as a base, with object/face recognition, color/movement analysis and content categorisation, which will improve the final result. This will put pressure on video content management systems to both be able to automatically harvest metadata, but also deliver content for automatic video editors to use.

Even though I lean towards Werner Herzog’s view of quality, I much prefer to have hours of video automatically cut down and shared, instead of video staying on a computer never to be seen again, or even worse, having to endure two hour long vacation videos without any cutting. I am not the only one, and this year automatic video editing for consumers will take off as competition heats up.


These were my thoughts on what we will see, or not see during 2016. Tell me where I am wrong or dare to share your own predictions with us on Twitter (@vidispine)!


  1. A. Rehn, “Are you open to all your futures, or just the comfortable ones?” Medium, 20-Dec-2015. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 01-Feb-2016].