The rise of frictionless video

“Frictionless video is irresistible. You didn’t even know you made a conscious choice to watch and engage with it. There’s no searching or playlisting or hitting play or loading or waiting through a preroll.”

When my kids turned on the hotel TV the other day, they couldn’t find Netflix.

cory-bergman“All it has is stupid live TV?!” the 7-year-old proclaimed, while the 5-year-old shrugged and punched up YouTube on our iPad.

This is not the future; it’s the present, and it’s not isolated to our youngest consumers anymore. It’s a widespread behavior that’s emerged over the last decade of online video.

YouTube and Netflix primarily represent a “pull” model of video — you search or navigate to something you want to watch on demand. While pull is still growing, push video is exploding.

“Push is when you are using the internet in a more passive way and content comes to you, explains investor Chris Dixon. “The killer app for push is social networks.”

Perhaps you were annoyed by the first autoplay videos shared by your friends on Facebook, but now there’s a good chance you’re surprised by how much time you’re watching. Those short bursts all add up.

This is push video in its most basic form. In 2016, push video will get smarter. It will know what to suggest and when we’re most likely to watch and participate. It will ping us with stuff we really want to see and share, even when it’s live. It will follow us everywhere, fueled by our mobile addictions. In a word, it will become frictionless.

Frictionless video is irresistible. You didn’t even know you made a conscious choice to watch and engage with it. There’s no searching or playlisting or hitting play or loading or waiting through a preroll. It’s not a promotion for a longer video on a bigger screen. It is the video, and it’s just…there.

Increasingly, it’s not even a format. Not a player in a box, but the experience itself. As connection speeds continue to improve, we’ll see the videofication of everything.

The “old” world of pull will still thrive, but the explosion of push video will accelerate consumption to dramatic new highs. Social apps are investing in video like never before, and they’ll become video powerhouses in 2016.

Cory Bergman is cofounder and general manager of Breaking News.

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