The Lies of Wistia

by: Zoe Gieringer

Screenshot of Wistia Video Campaign

Recently there has been a dramatic increase in video platform companies pushing the idea that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on video. In a recent campaign, Wistia, a video platform company,  asserts that it partnered with Sandwich Video to create three versions of the same video with different budgets: 1k, 10k, and 100k. 

Wistia’s goal: to persuade its current and prospective clients (you) that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on video. 

The messaging alone already bothered me, but I decided to do a little digging because those price points and the corresponding videos just did not match up. Fairly quickly I found this ironic piece of information from the FAQ of Sandwich Video (emphasis added by me) “Over the course of six years, nearly 300 videos for 200 clients, we’ve built a team of talented professionals who do stellar work. So, a million dollars. Just kidding, but the point is it costs real money. Typically, $150K is a good starting point, though we also work on multimillion dollar commercials.”

(https://sandwichvideo.com/how-it-works)

So Wistia just used a production house with a starting price of $150k to prove that video can be produced with a budget as low as $1k. Not only that, but the total of all three videos is $111k, which is 39k lower than Sandwich Video’s starting price. 

Here’s why this matters. Wistia isn’t alone. There are plenty of voices pushing the DIY message; Vidyard and SproutVideo also champion DIY to varying degrees. I even hear this message in online courses about content creation. According to them, companies can create their own content easy peasy. They don’t need the skill, expertise, years of practice, industry know-how, or understanding of the various tools of the trade to create video.

Videos come in many shapes and sizes, and price points vary. Sandwich Video produces commercial quality videos, hence the high starting price. Here at Outlier, we are focused on video as part of internal communications; our suggested starting price point is 10k.  

Still not convinced? Then join me in a game of true or false: 

You should be creating video. 

True! Video is an amazing way to disseminate information, reinforce your brand, connect with your audience (whether internal or external), and maintain engagement. 

You should not be afraid of creating video. 

True! Video production can be loads of fun when you have an expert team (like us, wink wink). 

You should begin creating video right away. 

True! Video may be more difficult to track than e-mail or web traffic but no one will argue that video isn’t powerful. Video analytics are also becoming more sophisticated as more businesses adopt video as part of their strategy. Metrics like average viewing duration, drop off rate, and viewing heat maps can reveal more about engagement than just bounce and click through rates. 

Creating video is easy. 

False. Sure, pointing your iPhone at something is pretty dang easy. But is that the video you want? Probably not. Creating video that impacts your audience, whether that’s creating brand loyalty, energizing and motivating employees, or educating your audience- that takes a lot of dedication. 

Let’s break it down into the things that need to happen in order to create a successful video:

 

As you can see, there are a lot of steps in video production - and the above list is just a high-level breakdown! 

You can create video by yourself. 

False. Even the most seasoned professionals avoid creating video solo (we call it being a one-man-band). As you can see above, it is a lot of work. Even if you boil down or combine some of the development steps, it’s still too much for one person to handle. Which is why there are teams dedicated to just video production. Because you need a team. And you need a team of people who know what they’re doing. 

Video is cheap. 

False. Is your time cheap? Then why should a time-consuming, people-powered asset be cheap?  

Yes, the price point of video equipment and software has decreased and continues to do so. 

Yes, video is more accessible than it has ever been! 

Yes, you can record a video on your phone. 

No, you don’t need the most expensive gear or the most elaborate idea (sometimes simple is truly better). Yes, prices can fluctuate. But you still need a solid budget if you want to drive results like brand loyalty, product awareness, or employee retention. 

Platforms like Wistia and Vidyard are urging customers to create video content because they want you to use their platform. This is misleading if not an outright lie, and it helps create a market where creative work is undervalued and underpaid. Cinematographers, editors, graphic designers, directors, producers - these are skilled personnel who deserve to be paid what they’re worth. Especially when they are creating an asset that is in such high demand. 

In the end, many who decide to go the DIY route will end up disappointed. It’s not what they imagined, it doesn’t look that great, it probably won’t have good ROI because it doesn’t stand up to audience expectations, and they’ve just diverted their energy away from their own core competencies. 

That’s a really sucky feeling. 

So skip all of that frustration and heartache, and instead work with us. You’ll still get to be a part of the creative process and excitement of video production, but you get to pass all that difficult expertise stuff on to our talented team at Outlier. 

 

 

Outlier

Video, Web, and Design Agency