Video is an Ugly Word

Video has completely taken over our world. It’s become the most preferred form of media that people consume. It’s everywhere: just look at Merit’s homepage. According to the networking giant, Cisco, “video will be responsible for 82 percent of all consumer IP traffic in 2021.” That’s a lot of videos. It’s completely absurd. Let that sink in for a bit…82% of all internet traffic will be video. Cisco also predicts that the amount of Video on Demand [VOD] content from services such as Netflix will double by then. There is a staggering amount of video content already at the tips of our fingers. Websites and services such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, and many others are all desperate to get you to click on that little play button and start watching endlessly.

Video is everywhere and we’ve all become used to it as a part of our daily lives. Yet with so much video out there, very few people actually know what it is, what it’s made of, and how it gets to our screens. I’d like to use this an opportunity to explain video in simple language that everyone can understand. There are already countless resources online that will teach you about the technical side of video, but many of them don’t break it down into layman’s terms and will probably get you confused. But before I get to explaining what video actually is, I want to explore where the word “video” came from.

To me, “video” is an ugly word. It has a harsh sound and still has the connotation of cheesy 90’s music videos and VHS tapes. The word “film” sounds way nicer and has a much more elegant and artistic nature to it. The word “video” is actually a close cousin to the word “audio.” The root of audio, “*au-“ is actually a Proto-Indo-European word meaning “to perceive.” The full word “audio” stems from Latin, audire meaning “to hear”. In the 1920’s, the idea of transmitting the first image was only being talked about in the laboratories of a few brilliant engineers, so the word “video” only became commonly used in the 1930’s and referred to the visual element of audio. People were already very familiar with audio and sound, as radio was hugely popular at the time. Videre is Latin meaning “to see” while video is the first-person-singular-present-indicative form and more closely means “I see.”

The Latin meaning of “video”- I see – perfectly describes what it has become in the world. Films are made for huge audiences and are made by a few large entertainment companies, whereas today, there are countless video content creators that publish videos targeted for much smaller audiences. Now, everyone gets to have their own videos. The content is practically made for each individual including you, the reader. You should probably be surprised that this article isn’t actually a video.

Most people understand the importance of video. Yes, there’s an art to it, but it’s mainly a tool to make money. It’s entertainment that people are willing to pay for, or sit through ads to get to. It’s become critical for businesses to use video as a means of expressing themselves and inventing their markets. Business leaders want video, but they don’t know how to ask for it. The content creators they go to for video have a language they speak, with a lot technical terms that get confusing. Let’s break it down and talk about the “meat and potatoes” of video. Make sure you want to dive down this rabbit hole, it gets pretty deep.

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Merit is the global leader in market invention. More often than not, our work carves out an entirely new market and transforms industry through research and strategy, communications, creative, and technology. For a company to succeed in the new era of marketing, it needs Merit.

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