When I first thought about writing this article the original title was going to be "We made a 12 minute film. Will anybody watch it?". Since then, the final film in question lost a couple of sequences prior to release, dropping the run time to just over 10 minutes, and despite worrying that online films that aren't short form or long form (medium form?) don't really cut it with audiences any more (certainly in a business space anyway) it has racked up just short of 300,000 views.
The film "Incredible Journeys - Vietnam" is part of a series for Embraer, the Brazilian airline manufacturer, that features presenter Arthur Williams traveling the globe visiting the markets in which Embraer's new jet is starting to serve. The episode in Vietnam focusses on booming tourism in the South East Asia region and how growing demand for air travel means this particular type of plane could enable operators to open up new direct routes in the area, helping to relieve congestion in some of the existing airport hubs.
It's a fairly straightforward presenter led film much like a lot of content you would traditionally see on TV, and it benefits greatly from Arthur's engaging style and knowledge of his subject, as well as some beautiful locations. However it's 2019 and popular thinking would suggest viewers generally have pretty short attention spans, and that many of them would probably be turned off from watching the film by the duration alone.
Now we don't have access to the full range of statistics for the film on YouTube, but we do know that of the first 60k views, 10% of those were completions. Assuming that trend continued that could suggest around 30k completed views of the film so far which is a pretty decent return for what in essence is a corporate film. Furthermore as this is the third episode in a series (and now the most popular) it would seem people are coming back for more. As I write this the total aggregated number of views for the series is well over half a million.
With another 10 minute episode released this week - Episode 4 | USA - and a further episode currently in post production, it will be interesting to see if the trend continues. If the series continues to get the green light there's every chance it could reach 1 million views at some point.
Part of the success of the film can certainly be attributed to the subject matter. Even if you watch it purely as a travelogue then it does stand up as an interesting piece about Arthur's visit to Vietnam. Regardless of how it's viewed it's really refreshing to see a client really get behind a project, and a series such as this, and take a little bit of a risk to stand out from the crowd.
Ultimately for us as a production company it is great to be able to work on a project of this type. Spending 5 days shooting in one of the most exciting and beautiful parts of the world is a huge privilege, and the freedom that an abundance of footage gives you in the edit is fantastic. It really is a project you can get your teeth into. Hopefully the end product is something an audience can get their teeth into as well, even if it is over 10 minutes long.