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Print vs. Video: Readers weigh in – Part I

Recently, I’ve noticed an uptick in the number of videos taking the place of text articles on the Web. for instance is increasingly going the way of moving pictures, while print media has fully embraced video for story telling purposes as inVocus reported in May. Just last week, the Wall Street Journal launched its biggest venture into original video content yet with “WSJ Startup of the Year,” a digital documentary series.

A documentary’s specific way of storytelling may be well-received, but how do readers feel about the many other forays into video? inVocus found that when asked what readers preferred, a number of respondents professed to read rather than watch:

Bethany Barton, Children’s Book Author & Illustrator

“The worst is clicking on an article and getting some ‘created for the Web’ content with a ‘host’ giving their take on a subject — seasoned with jokes, goofy sound bites and other things they think Web viewers will like. The whole video is packaged as this strange version of Web content/entertainment that doesn’t actually relay any information. Ninety percent of the time I feel tricked, abandon the link, don’t watch the video, and seek an article on the same information elsewhere. If those posting the content would make it clear you are clicking on a link to video content and not an article, they would save a lot of frustrations.”

Dan Nainan, comedian/actor/voiceover artist/computer expert

“Reading the article is so much better for the mind as opposed to a video, all of the images and sound are there for you, so it leaves nothing to the imagination. When I’m confronted with a video, I just go to another site where I can actually read an article.”

Frank Anthony Polito, author of “Lost in the ‘90s”

“I absolutely hate this new trend in emphasizing video content in the media! Every morning, I start my day by reading the news. Usually I’m in a public place when I’m doing this — so the last thing I want to do is disturb others by having to turn up the volume on my computer so that I can listen to some video. Reading the news is not watching the news. If I wanted to watch the news, I would watch it on television. As a writer and blogger, this is also annoying because I’m constantly having to search out video content to include along with my blog posts – because, apparently, everyone wants to see video these days. Whoever decided this concept was so important? I will also say that if I begin to read an article and see there is video, I will nine times out of 10 stop reading and move on to something else.”

Katherine Erlikh, co-founder/ marketing,

“As both a frequent user of online media and a blogger, I have quite a bit to say on the subject of video. As a user, I hate it. I absolutely, positively hate it. If it is not a music video, chances are I will not bother watching it. I read very quickly, and in thirty seconds I can read the article instead of watching the two minute video. Thus, for me, video is inconvenient to start with.

Then, of course, we have the dreaded bane of every user’s existence – the video on auto-play. It’ll usually be on one of those local news sites, embedded on top of the article containing the exact same information. Since I get a lot of my news from Reddit, I open a lot of tabs at once and read them one by one. If I open even one that contains a video set to auto-play, my computer will run dreadfully slow while it attempts to load and play at the same time. If I have the speakers on, it’s even worse, because I have to hear the low-quality audio that goes along with it. Honestly, it’s a nightmare, and most people I’ve come into contact with positively loathe it. This is usually found on sites that aren’t optimally designed, take a long time to load and glitch often – not a good combo in any situation, but even worse for users who are on slow connections or older computers.”

Ronald Kaufman, seminar leader/executive coach/ author “Anatomy of Success”

“I would much prefer reading print as it saves me a lot of time, and I can get to the substance that I’m interested in quickly.  I can also copy and save key information for later review.  I’ve sat through many videos as well as audios, only to learn at the end that it was a waste of my time.  What I like best is when a transcript of the video is provided so I can scan the transcript to see if I want to watch any of the video.”

Stop by next week to hear about the newest video experiments in the media, as well as responses from readers who have accepted video as a part of our increasingly multimedia world.

–Katrina M. Mendolera

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