A couple of weeks back I talked about the “format revolution” borne from cheap, fast, easily accessible data. Then last week I looked at short form. So this week lets go long.
In the last few years, one of the most interesting shifts in video has been what I like to think of as the “Anti Short Form” movement. For a while, traditional wisdom suggested attention spans were decreasing in conjunction with the growth of available content, but humans – being contrary in nature – have rebelled against this ‘wisdom’ and moved in completely the opposite direction. Over the last couple of years, fueled by YouTube’s removal of their 15-minute length cap, there’s been a surge in ultra long form content better known as Slow TV. Pioneered by an eight-hour train journey across Norway, Slow TV has blown up so, you can now spend 10 hours watching paint dry or grass grow. Wieden + Kennedy used it as part of their Chambord campaign.
Extremes aside, we know long form works because we love going to the cinema and watching box sets, but in the context of online content, brands and creators alike are bucking the ‘keep it under three minute’ rule and producing longer online work. For example, BMW has reignited the mother of branded content series with ‘The Escape’, Vizio Inc commissioned Growth to showcase their 4K TVs and Casio commissioned us to create The Journey. The truth is that the right length for your film is the length it takes to tell your story in an interesting and engaging way. As brands become more confident in creating longer, purely entertainment focused content, the real winners are the audience.