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Has video killed the written word?


With video spreading over more and more digital platforms, will the written word become all but obsolete? Google searches now result more in YouTube videos rather than text-based articles. Is this just because we are becoming lazier when it comes to reading or is there more to video than we think?

Has video taken over the written word?


Our FireSpinner and PR manager, Megan Tyack, took to the radio waves to discuss the topic with ChaiFM 101.9 and Charisse Zeifert from the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD).

The reason that video is so successful, is because our brains process visuals a lot faster than it does with text – around 60 000 times faster. By creating a video, you are able to package the information you are trying to get across into a short story that will (if done properly) engage the viewer in a way that text can’t.

“Video is, without a doubt, huge. When you talk about marketing and promoting your brand, sometimes you just can’t get the same message across with text. Video has that emotion.”

Has video taken over the written word?

While video is a great tool to use, one can’t just make any video and hope for the best. The content of the video needs to resonate with a buyer’s need in order for it to be successful. It needs to be done in such a way that it presents your product as the ultimate solution.

Despite all the benefits video allows, there are many people who still prefer text. This is because a lot of people prefer to have more control over the content they consume. It allows them to skim over portions that interest them less and they are able to set their own pace for the interaction of the content.

“There’s 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. That’s amazing, but I don’t think that it will replace the written articles completely. I think when you’re consuming content, there are two different ways that you’re going to consume it. You’re going to be in one frame of mind to watch a video and a different frame of mind to read an article.” 


EL wire


Reading is an active cognitive action. When you read a piece of writing, it’s not just about looking at the words in front of you. Those words create an ‘inner voice’ which takes up a lot more brainpower than video does – video takes care of the ‘imagination factor’ for you. You are more likely to question what you are reading than question what you are watching.


“I think there is always going to be a place for the written word but I think it’s just going to change. If you look at videos today, there’s writing in those videos. You still have it. Not everyone is going to click on a video and listen to the sound. A lot of the time they’re watching the movement and reading what’s being said.”


One reason that video is getting listed more in internet searches is that the algorithms behind Google & YouTube allow you to listen to videos and then transcribe (and possibly translate) them. This means that spoken text becomes indexable – aiding in providing keywords for searches.

With AI and ML (machine learning), search engines are learning to watch and interpret what is happening and what is being said in videos; much like how they are already able to recognise people and objects in photos, but now they are starting to understand movements, emotions and behaviours within the context.

The progression of technologically is incredible. It’s going to be very exciting to see what future generations will be doing. Maybe videos will be old news and everything will be about augmented reality – but that is a discussion for another day.


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