Video is coming to the Internet in a major way.
Now that blogs themselves have been cautiously adopted by the corporate world as an effective way to disseminate a message, video blogs - or vlogs - may be the next step in the march toward new technological distribution channels.
The format itself has received more attention since the rise of Rocketboom, a short daily news-based vlog that draws hundreds of thousands of viewers. The success of the bare-bones broadcast has caught the eye of communications pros, who are now working to put online video to use on behalf of clients and themselves.
Alan Rambam, an SVP at Fleishman-Hillard who runs the agency's Next Great Thing division, has been working on an initiative called "FH TV" to develop vlogs and promote them online and offline for clients like Cingular Wireless.
"[Vlogs] are 24/7. It can always be accessed," Rambam says. "It gives us something that has TV-style content. We can promote it to real targeted communities."
Another advantage of vlogs over more traditional mediums, such as VNRs, is ease of production. Tom Biro, director of new-media strategies at MWW Group, says that it's possible to sit down at a Mac and produce a workable vlog in less than an hour. While the production values on the piece might not be Hollywood-worthy, such quick and easy Web content can add significant value to many corporate Web sites.
Biro says the use of vlogs in PR is "still sort of fertile ground" that has not yet been fully tapped, but he expects it to grow. "The distribution channel is there," he says, noting that more than half of households now have broadband Internet access.
Weber Shandwick is currently working on its own vlog for internal communications, which should be up and running in a month or so, notes EVP of Web relations Mike Spataro.
"It's no secret that the Web is going to be very multimedia, very visual, very video-oriented," he says. "We see video blogging as a piece of that larger opportunity out there for companies."