Forget prime time: "Video snacking" at lunch creates a Web video niche

The New York Times has highlighted an interesting trend in Web video: "Video snacking," in which cube-bound viewers take some time to browse and share comedy clips, news reports, and other light video fare:

In some offices, workers coordinate their midday Web-watching schedules, the better to shout out punch lines to one another across rows of desks. Some people gravitate to sites where they can reliably find Webcasts of a certain length — say, a three-minute political wrap-up — to minimize both their mouse clicks and the sandwich crumbs that wind up in the keyboard.

“Go take a walk around your office” at lunchtime, said Alan Wurtzel, head of research for NBC. “Out of 20 people, I’m going to guarantee that 5 are going to be on some sort of site that is not work-related.”

The midday spike in Web traffic is not a new phenomenon, but media companies have started responding in a meaningful way over the last year. They are creating new shows, timing the posts to coincide with hunger pangs. And they are rejiggering the way they sell advertising online, recognizing that noontime programs can command a premium.

The article mostly highlights the video created by big media, including CNN, Comedy Central, local TV news outlets, and newspapers. However, it does note that some upstarts are getting into the act, including Political Lunch, a three-minute daily political show created in a NYC apartment every morning. The article also fails to note how YouTube users are "snacking" during this time period, and the types of content they like to consume.

At Computerworld, we are actually ramping up our video efforts. You may have already seen some of the videos produced by Computerworld editors, including Don Tennant's interview with BEA co-founder Bill Coleman (see Bill Coleman on his newest venture and the bust that lies ahead) and Lucas Mearian's ongoing examination of CNBC's massive storage infrastructure (see Why CNBC chose Apple for network storage and How CNBC tailored its headquarters IT systems). We also have an upcoming series on how a police department has integrated IT and digital technologies into its daily operations.

We created a Computerworld YouTube channel last year to highlight some of these video programs and content produced by the IDG News Service, and later this year we hope to have a video player and library more fully integrated into the website. Stay tuned!

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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