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Firework Offers Snack-Size Original Content

By Peter Suciu
Dec 19, 2018 10:07 AM PT

Short-video social networking platform Firework this week released a collection of shows consisting of 12 episodes that will run just 15-seconds each. The first of these series, "Fireside Chat featuring Molly Tarlov," debuted Tuesday. Three more followed on Wednesday, and another is scheduled for release on Dec. 28.

Firework Offers Snack-Size Original Content

Users can download the episodes via the Firework app, which is now available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Firework Originals were developed via a partnership with Ryan Lagod Productions and Space Oddity.

Very Short Films

In the first series from Firework Originals, "Fireside Chat featuring Molly Tarlov," the actress and comedian interviews various stars in just 15 seconds. This series is followed by a short take on a drive-through experience with "Extra Fire Sauce"; a sci-fi themed New Years Eve party in "Banger"; an interactive food challenge in "FOODz"; and finally "Style Sector," an interactive makeup, hair and fashion challenge played before an audience of self-proclaimed beauty industry pros.

The ultra short-form video format is not unique to Firework. Vine, which was launched in June 2012 and acquired by Twitter in October of that year, was among the first to introduce the concept to social media, where the content was not much longer than an animated GIF file.

Under Twitter, the original Vine app, which was discontinued in October 2016, morphed into Vine Camera, giving users the ability to share their videos on Twitter, or even save them on a camera roll. In January 2017, Twitter made all Vine videos available for viewing online.

Other companies also have gone short. Snapchat introduced its own 10-second videos that could be shared among users, and Facebook-owned Instagram introduced a 15-second video app of its own.

Short videos have long been a staple on Google-owned YouTube.

Most of that content is user-generated, though, so Firework represents the first effort to adapt this concept for scripted content, thus delivering a more polished and produced video for consumers to watch.

Epics these are not. Firework Originals is taking a "more is less" approach to video content, offering something that could appeal to younger mobile users who seek out something to watch while in line at the store or during a work break.

"Short-form videos are terrific ways to snack on content," said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

"People love to share a quick laugh or something breathtaking with friends and family," he told TechNewsWorld.

Firework App: Watch Short Videos, Find New Favorites

"Consumers like short, snackable content that thrives in the frictionless media market," noted Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics.

The question is how good the content is that can be conveyed in 15 seconds," he told TechNewsWorld. "Unscripted Darwin Awards or Fail video snippets are certainly very successful."

Short Content for Short Attention Spans

This type of video certainly could be a way for content creators to reach an audience of individuals who are practically always staring at their screens.

"People today, especially the millennials, all have attention deficit disorder caused my being raised with technology in their hands instead of a rattle," remarked social media consultant Lon Safko.

"Everyone is so inundated with content, we have gotten to the point of oversaturation," he told TechNewsWorld.

"Even our entertainment has to be in short bursts and on our schedule; this is why on-demand has gotten more popular than commercial television," Safko added.

"Crafted short-form video is very attractive; as a serial medium, video is very expensive to consume in terms of time and level of engagement," explained Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates.

"Short saves a lot of time, perhaps conveying as much as a longer piece," he told TechNewsWorld. "Reading can be done in a parallel way, like scanning, reading back, looking for key ideas. Video you just have to sit through, and there's more information to sort through every day."

Firework App: It's Show Time, Edit Videos Easily

The market for short content may be large enough that others follow suit with similar offerings.

"If the business model supports the creative development necessary to build a library of great little episodes, then consumers will be willing to distribute the videos," suggested Netpop Research's Crandall.

Firework Making a Big Bang

Whether a smaller firm such as Firework will be able to compete against the social media giants, and whether an app will be the way that this content is best viewed and shared are among the unknowns.

"I'm curious to see how easy they make it to share videos across different platforms like Facebook, Instagram, texts and email," said Crandall.

"You can't lock people into an app download or account to access this type of content. The barriers are too high for most consumers," he explained.

For Firework to gain traction, it may need to be as easy as pasting the videos to a clipboard and sharing on other sites and services, suggested Crandall. "Once hooked, maybe consumers will wait to watch a second episode, and ultimately sign up for future episodes."

Short Could go Long

Whether content producers opt to create more original scripted and polished content, or if it remains largely a domain of user-generated content, ultra short-form videos probably are here for the long haul.

"This is more than just a trend. It's the way we have rewired our brains because of our technology, in particular, our smartphones," said Safko. "Entertainment is instant, specific, and in short bursts. The goldfish are winning!"


Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile phones, displays, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous vehicles. He has written and edited for numerous publications and websites, including Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com. Email Peter.


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