The Video Selfie Has Arrived And It’s Disrupting Communication

By Annabel Acton

Personalization is not a trend. It’s a consumer expectation that’s here to stay. Consumers can get their sneakers, car wraps, nail wraps and eating plans tailored to their preferences, tastes and even their biometrics. And yet the content they consume has been uniformly and routinely served up. Until recently, the most customized content we could get was recommendations based on our preferences, and that just didn’t cut it. But things are changing, rapidly.

 

Photo: Pexels
Photo: Pexels

The First Change: From Spectators to curators

Over the last ten years, there’s been a gradual shift in the content we consume, with audiences becoming more than just spectators. Historically, content enforced a didactic relationship between producers and audiences – they produced, we consumed. But this wasn’t enough for consumers, so a host of publishing platforms popped up like Instagram and Snapchat that allowed consumers to become content curators. Instagram allowed us to be curators and stylists, and Snap’s filters allowed us to not only watch entertainment, but to become the entertainment. And it got us hooked.

The Second Change: From Curators to Creators

Snap’s filters opened consumers up to the possibility of taking center stage. A wave of startups rode this trend and so began the proliferation of content creation platforms like Dubsmash or Musical.ly (where you record yourself lip syncing while the original tracks plays). These companies show younger consumer’s voracious appetite for greater participation. They want to do more than just add a filter, they want to perform and become the main event. Musical.ly launched in 2014 and boasts some impressive numbers; half of American teens are users and 13 million videos are uploaded each day. Companies like Musical.ly gave their platform over to creators entirely. So what comes next?

The Next Change: From Creators to Everyday Entertainment Communicators

Cameras on phones are now comparably powerful to professional equipment, and consumers want to join in; in real time, in their own way. The next wave of content breaks down the creator-consumer paradigm and allows people make entertaining content to replace everyday communication, namely text messaging. Now, more than ever, there’s a strong desire to interact with the moment as it happens. A new app, called Kombie, allows you to enter into any piece of film footage with the press of a button. It could be a Beyonce video, a scene from your favorite movie or a youtube video your friend made. In essence, it’s an interactive video selfie, designed for sharing. Gen Z, in particular, doesn’t just want to add a filter, or lipsync over a video, they want to add to the action, share the spotlight and then share what they’ve made. This is good news for brands in the content creation game; because when you’re part of the content, engagement skyrockets. This new paradigm is instant creation, and instant reaction.

Kombie Screen Shot

First and foremost, this style of entertainment is a way to replace text messaging. Video is exploding as a primary means of communication for Gen Z, and Kombie allows people to put themselves in their friend’s videos, send them a happy birthday message, offer wardrobe advice or invite them to a Kendrick Lamar show. Friends can then add to the story; and back and forth it goes. As well as transforming communications, apps like Kombie have the power to change education. Mimicry is a foundational part of education, and the app allows kids to join Elmo reciting the alphabet, learn to count in Spanish or help Dora on her explorations. On top of that, the videos run on 20-second loops, which makes messages stick. Such learning applications go beyond children’s education and could help actors learn lines, students with exam preparation and even help companies disseminate key information.

Kombie was started by two musicians, Baz Palmer (of Hunters & Collector fame) and Stuart Berwick, and has an impressive collection of c-suite executives from Beats, Red Bull and Universal on their board. After selling merchandise at gigs, they noticed that when fans could see themselves in the video recordings, they were more likely to purchase the merchandise. They combined this insight with the success of Muscial.ly and Dubsmash, added the fun of Snap filters and made sharing simple. With features in step with these burgeoning trends, instant in-situ video recording apps are set to transform modern communications.

Selfie

Though success is by no means guaranteed for Kombie. After all, they are in the early days of a successful IOS launch, at a time when many Silicon Valley startups are coming under scrutiny. On top of that, their primary target is fickle and bombarded by new app releases every day. However the product is tight after three years of development, and the confluence of trends they’re riding are at their zenith. No matter the outcome, the video selfie is set to reinvent communication.

 

Source: www.forbes.com

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