If you despise vertical or portrait video as much as some of us do, bad news: according to recent comments from ad agencies and media executives, you'll be seeing a lot more of them. The awkward format has been in our crosshairs since the iPhone 4 came out in 2010 and we felt the need to explain how to fix it. It's used by cellphone-wielders who are either too lazy to turn their phone 90 degrees or are just unaware that they should. The result is video that's okay on smartphones but horrible on computer screens or TVs due to unsightly vertical bars. In addition, Snapchat and new livestreaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat will soon make the format seem normal for many users.
For instance, Daily Mail North America's CEO Jon Steinberg recently said that "we need to move even more aggressively to develop vertical content, (because) vertical video ads have up to 9x more completed views than horizontal video ads." As to why that might be, he added that "the whole notion of turning your phone on its side to watch a video is awkward and a bit of a hassle." As a result, the Daily Mail will create free vertical ads for companies with a "reasonable media buy" on its Snapchat Discover channel.
Another kick to the head of horizontal video is from Periscope and Meerkat. The popular new livestream video feeds from the apps are only available in vertical mode to make them more convenient for one-handed viewing. Neither app supports horizontal (landscape) video at all, but Periscope's CEO thinks most users would stick with portrait video even if it added the capability.
Critics say the vertical format limits the artistic possibilities of video and doesn't match how our vision works. However, ad agency creative director Tom Westerlin told Digiday that those people might as well get over it now. "Haters are gonna hate. People love to talk shit. That's great, good for them. It basically just fuels the buzz around the future of (new video formats)."