As you know, we’ve been running an Untold Pitch Competition with a group of students from California. If you don’t know about it, we suggest catching up on this blog to see all the entries and what the Pitch Competition is all about.
We had over 40 entries, to begin with, and we managed to cut it down to 12 shortlisted entries. It was tough bringing it down to 12, but even tougher to select 5 winners. In order to decide the winners, a 50/50 voting process was implemented. 50% of the vote was through social media. The other 50% was by the Pitch competition judges.
Thanks to this it made our jobs a whole lot easier to announce the winners.Read More
At Makematic, we always strive to create engaging, fun, educational content, but we also wish to educate and inform the viewer. Ultimately, it’s all about finding the right balance, and for our factual productions, this means we need to make sure everything said and shown on-screen is correct. Here are some ways we ensure our videos are factually accurate.Read More
At Makematic, we are currently in-development of exciting, new U.S. history videos for the Untold collection. We are striving for the utmost in historical accuracy while making sure the videos are altogether fun to watch! We have numerous experts from across America who contribute immensely to each Untold video, who we’d love to showcase in this blog.Read More
The history that doesn’t make it into the textbooks is the best stories to tell.
It’s a new year and not much has changed in the world. We’re still in a global pandemic, we’re still at home and we’re still washing our hands. But some things have changed. The US has a new President and Vice President, there are vaccines being administered every day around the world, and a lot of new Untold videos are being released.Read More
The events at Capitol Hill were shocking. And as an educator, whether you live in the United States or not, there is so much that should be discussed with those you teach.Read More
It is the end of a long year, what better way to end than to do my usual and have a quick round-up of how video content has been growing as a consumer favourite in 2020.
Whilst international physical boundaries have been closed due to the Covid crisis, digital traffic has increased hugely. From our perspective as a business who produces short-form educational video targeting post-millennials and millennials, we have seen pretty explosive growth this year as brands, publishers and non-profits all turn to short-form animated and live-action video to educate their audiences.
According to Cisco, who this time last year said that in any given second 1 million minutes of video are crossing the internet, at the end of 2020, they say that 75% of all internet traffic is video content, and this will rise to 82% by 2022.
Publicis and Verizon in a joint study have discovered that a lot of video content is consumed on the go or at work and as a result of this, 92% of those in their study watch video with the sound off. So captions are becoming a must!
More than 2 billion people use Youtube – that’s one-third of all internet users with around 5 billion videos watched on Youtube every day, and Youtubers are uploading 500 hours of video every minute. According to Social Media Today, 82% of Twitter users mainly use the platform to watch videos. These are mostly mobile users as well since roughly 90% of all video views on Twitter happen via mobile phones.
We already know that most view video content via mobiles courtesy of eMarketer’s study in 2018, so this has only grown since then. We are nearing the point where everyone who possibly can in terms of device ownership, will view short-form video content on a daily basis, wherever they are, anywhere in the world. What’s interesting to learn from Brand Gym is that when consumers are viewing adverts on a mobile device, 75% skip the advertising in an average of 5.5 seconds (ie: as soon as they can!), so if advertising-supported video content is your strategy, then it’s completely the wrong one and something needs to change.
On the educational front, video-assisted learning has become more and more popular. Classrooms are awash with high-tech digital displays and now that schools are connected to the internet worldwide, video has become an important part of everyday learning – this has of course extended into the home this year. The Covid pandemic has created the perfect environment for distance learning which has increased spectacularly with universities having to create high-quality distance learning modules with high production values for their video content. Animated videos enrich subjects and help pupils and students understand complex subjects simply and easily in a format with which they identify.
The US government have recognised this and are awarding grants to those who produce educational video content. PBS Education an off-shoot of the network PBS has secured a $24M federal grant this year. They’ve seen the opportunity that presents itself and are going to spend it on creating high educational value, curriculum-linked video assets and they’ve employed early-learning and children’s education experts and media producers to realise this project.
Those targeting post-millennials are getting it right. I have often mentioned Blippi and how he’s grown to become a multi-million dollar brand in his own right through simply producing quality educational videos and posting them on Youtube. Last year he’d made about $12M. This year, judging by the merchandise in our house he’ll be making a lot more.
In the past week, Ryan Kaja became the highest-earning Youtuber earning $29.5M from his Youtube child influencer shows and a further $200M from his branded toys and Marks and Spencer pyjamas. Nickelodeon have now signed him for a series so next year that will only increase.
Without a doubt this year has been a big turning point for video content. It was always on the cards that short-form educational video was going to become the learning medium for learning anything. But the fact that the entire population of the planet was forced online this year, whether they liked it or not, has made this happen now. Not next year or the year after. Today. Those who choose to ignore this will simply be left behind.
I could use the words crazy, weird or my personal favourite “unprecedented” to describe what happened in 2020. Everyone is looking forward to New Year’s Eve when the clock strikes midnight in the hopes that this year will not repeat itself. Let’s be honest not having a Christmas dinner where everyone drinks a little bit too much but no one really cares because it’s Christmas – we’d like that back in 2021, please.
But before we say the goodbyes, farewells and the ‘hope to never see you again’ here are three things that we have learned in 2020.
Being A Conscious Consumer
I could give you a separate blog post about the things that we have learnt this year but one thing (amongst the many) is being more conscious about spending money on travel. We’re going to be asking ourselves if it’s necessary to travel to this destination or can it be discussed over Zoom? Albeit, in-person meetings means the unlikeliness of the WiFi cutting off and your video freezing at a very unflattering angle. But is it necessary to travel to a destination twice a week to have a meeting? Think about it. It will reduce our carbon footprint and save money on those overpriced pack of crisps at the airport.
Take Care Of Our Mental Health
Thinking about lockdown makes all of us shiver especially during the early days of the pandemic. No shops open (besides supermarkets), one walk a day and endless Zoom quizzes. One thing is for sure, being locked in our houses with very strict restrictions can make us feel a little bit mad. In late August 2020, the Mental Health Foundation found that almost half (45%) of the UK population had felt anxious or worried in the previous two weeks. This year, we’ve all learnt that it’s okay to step away from the computer and relax. We don’t have to answer the emails as soon as it’s in the inbox. Take a walk, watch a show, turn off your computer and take care of yourself first instead of putting yourself through stress which will eventually lead to burnout. No one wants to burnout.
Video Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon
Between you and me, I’ve been watching a lot of videos this year. Whether that’s binging the latest season of The Crown, searching through YouTube and finding the perfect recipe for sourdough bread but never actually making it, to scrolling through Tiktok and learning all kinds of stuff that I never knew before. Video isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
That’s the same for educational videos too. The State of Video in Education report 2020 states that: “Video is suddenly no longer a nice-to-have for education, but essential.” It’s proving its worth as 84% see video’s positive impact on student satisfaction and 76% believe it increases instructors’ satisfaction. It’s no surprise that educational videos and using videos have skyrocketed this year. With distance learning continuing in 2021, it’s likely that videos will continue to be used. At Makematic we understand high demand, especially due to COVID-19 the need more than ever for effective, online educational content that can be utilised by educators, parents and students of all ages during this shift to online-based learning. Check out our blog post on 14 Awesome Free Online Educational Resources For Teachers And Parents.
However, it’s important to note that video fatigue is real. So put down the device and let your eyes relax. Talk to your colleagues, students (virtually) or people around your household because sometimes getting a response back from a screen can be nice. I’ve tried it with bakers on YouTube asking them to make the sourdough for me, unfortunately, no response.
So there you have it. 3 things that I have learnt during this ‘unprecedented’ year that I’ll take with me to 2021. What have you learnt this year?
Have you ever wondered why Companies would spend millions per year on commercials at Christmas that can only work for one to two months of the entire year? Might seem like a bad investment, however, Christmas advertising works, and here’s why!
Christmas ads have their own unique look and feel. You should instantly be able to see one in between your scheduled entertainment and instantly connect “Oh, wow it’s nearly Christmas”. That’s all to do with Iconography.
IRN-BRU’s 2011 Advertisement was based on the Christmas classic short: “The Snowman” and provides that Winter-esque symbolism we’ve grown to connect with Christmas. From a Snow-laden, Winter wonderland to Urban Christmas lights and a tree to match. You can instantly watch this alongside many Christmas advertisements and know instantly what it’s about.
Even though some would prefer their advertisements to be apolitical or lack commentary of topical events and movements from the year as a whole. Some companies use the opportunity to help raise awareness of an issue which overall can help the company’s reputable grow.
UK Supermarket chain, Iceland got into a spot of bother with their ad in 2018 however when their planned Christmas advertisement was banned in the UK for being “too political”. They tried to raise awareness of the use of Palm Oil in food products, which they were also eliminating from their own-brand productions in-store.
Here at Makematic, we started a video series on the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, which you can watch and take part in with the whole family! Here’s more info: https://makematic.com/promo/un-sdgs/
Christmas music over the years has changed dramatically, however, those classic Christmas tracks hold inter-connected qualities that are instantly recognizable.
Coca-Cola got into a habit of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” in regards to their recurring, melodic theme song as their UK commercial in 1995 showcases:
Overall, this was a branding success for Coca-Cola; providing that deja-vu factor while instantly becoming a Christmas classic in advertising.
Storytelling is key, the aim is to take the viewer on a journey. Usually fantastical in nature e.g. including Santa Claus and sometimes with an emotional aspect to tug on the heartstrings as Christmas builds up.
Research by Kantar found that “storytelling was a feature of 80% of Christmas ads between 2015 and 2017, compared to the 40% average for the rest of the year”.
Amazon Prime’s 2020 Christmas ad entitled “The show must go on” showcases a young ballet dancer whose spirit and tenacity triumphs through the challenges of 2020. All with a little help from her family and community – a feel-good narrative, that anyone in the family can relate.
We love the work of Amazon Studios which is why we’ve recently partnered with them to produce a series of Educational resources connected to their Amazon films; Radioactive & The Aeronauts.
Why not check out our collaboration – right here.
Christmas is a time for kids, and advertising should reflect that. The success of your commercials during the Christmas period is highly dependant if you can inspire and connect with the demographic you need to impress the most to gain sales – children.
Even though children are key, it’s the parents (alongside Santa, of course) that are required to make the deal happen. Keeping commercials kid-friendly while allowing for a narrative that parents and all can connect to is overall the best way to capitalise on your investment – as has been the case previously in Christmas advertising.
Demand is High
The month of December for many outlets usually provides their best sales for the entire year! With some outlets like FAO Schwarz gaining nearly half of their entire revenue for their store products in that one month alone!
John Lewis has been synonymous with their Christmas advertisements. It’s been reported that they spent approximately £8 million on their 2018 commercial featuring Elton John.
The question is, however, is it a worthwhile investment? A John Lewis spokesperson stated to the BBC: “Our ads always deliver an excellent return on investment at a time of year that is critical for us, generally delivering 20 times the return on our original spend,” a spokeswoman tells the BBC.
At Makematic we understand high demand, especially due to COVID-19 the need more than ever for effective, online educational content that can be utilised by educators, parents and students of all ages during this shift to online-based learning.
Looking for American History? Why not check out our Untold series for free here: https://untoldhistory.org/. You won’t regret it!