Will video replace all images in the future?


In this day and age, images share a peaceful coexistence with video on the Internet. In the future, as download speeds get faster and broadband access reaches all 3rd world countries, is it possible that all images be replaced by video? If so, it might not be smart to create an Internet startup based around images.

Video contains much more information than images. Video is basically a moving series of images plus audio. Video can be decomposed back to an image by pausing it. Video has every advantage over image, except for file size, which is of no concern in the infrastructurally advanced future.

Of the 50 highest trafficked sites as of March 2011, the only two video sites ranked higher than the only image site. Furthermore, those two video sites saw an increase from last year's traffic, while the image site saw a decrease.

  • #27 Netflix (+41%)
  • #4 Youtube (+19%)
  • #38 Flickr (-10%)

This seems to say that media consumption is swaying towards video and away from images.

What are your predictions on the future of images? Will it be a lost art-form once the Internet supports blazing fast downloads. Should a startup interested in media focus all their attention on video? As the song goes, "video killed the radio star " and it might also kill images.

Video Internet

asked Jul 28 '11 at 14:30
Jo Jo
148 points
  • This is akin to asking if paintings or theater will be obsolete. They are still going strong :) – Ryan Doherty 13 years ago
  • Paintings and theater are not as popular as Hollywood blockbusters with the younger crowd. This young generation will be shaping our businesses in the future. – Jo Jo 13 years ago
  • 40 years ago paintings and theater were not popular with the 'younger crowd'. I honestly think you are extrapolating far too much. – Ryan Doherty 13 years ago

5 Answers



Videos need too much attention. You cannot scan over videos as you can scan over a bunch of images. And you have no indication where to forward to find the piece you wanted. And if the video is embedded into textual information, it disturbs your reading flow.

It's more difficult to make good videos. For an amateur it's easier to make a series of photos and select the most forgiving, you don't have that advantage with videos.

Videos are tools as Images are. If it's not about art, you have to choose the right medium to transfer information to reach the audience. Often it's better to mix an article with images than just providing a video. For example I don't like tutorial videos for IT topics, because most of them need a speaker, whereas I don't have headphones at my working place (and don't like to put them on).

answered Jul 28 '11 at 15:50
Chris... S...
169 points
  • By the way, how is this question related to startups? – Chris... S... 13 years ago
  • +1 was about to write the same. If I imagine to make all images to videos... my customer would kill me, it is way to expensive (besides looking bad) – Christian 13 years ago
  • A) In an image slideshow you have well chosen photos, in a video you just get random shots. B) I'm not sure if your question targeted private or professional products. Most people fail at even sorting their private photos, so there is no chance, that they will enhance their videos. C) You're right about my example, in future people won't think like me. But anyhow it's important to think about if it's better to use photos or videos for one's purpose. – Chris... S... 13 years ago
  • JoJo, what you described in you comment sounds like Flash. Isn't Flash Homepage the "Video Homepage" you want? Look at the success of Flash. I don't think this will change. And in addition, Videos are so static. If you can render your animation on the fly in the browser, then ok - but then it is no longer a video. – Christian 13 years ago
  • When I speak of video, I mean something shot through a camcorder. I don't mean useless fancy animations which Flash was infamous for a decade ago. – Jo Jo 13 years ago


I'd say that video's importance is definitely increasing, but the other media types won't go away.

When audio tape came on the scene in the early 1960's, people thought it would replace books.

When TV came along, people thought that we wouldn't travel anymore, instead we would look at images from foreign locations on TV, and radio would be a thing of the past too.

And when CD's came along, people thought that they would completely replace vinyl (still hasn't happened after 30 years) and -- again -- radio.

I think all types of media -- including text, still images, video -- will continue to coexist peacefully.

answered Jul 28 '11 at 15:53
Roy Dictus
343 points
  • Do old and new technology only coexist because old and young people coexist? Arguably, older people respect and still use older technologies. But people don't live forever and thus, their culture and technologies can't live on forever. – Jo Jo 13 years ago
  • You call JavaScript old technology? I doubt. – Christian 13 years ago
  • Javascript is old, but it's still widely used because no better language has replaced it. There exist many langauges that are being eradicated - Fortran and COBOL. In 50 years, I assure you JS will also be eradicated with a better language, perhaps even called Javascript2. – Jo Jo 13 years ago
  • This totally misses the point and the question. The question is not whether individual technologies will survive, but media types. Will people drop still images for video all the way? No, because still images are too convenient. That's the scope of this question. – Roy Dictus 13 years ago


No. Because people value Time and that will never change.

No matter how fast you can scan a video, I can scan an image a magnitude faster.

answered Jul 28 '11 at 17:43
317 points


Different mediums communicate in different ways. New mediums rarely replace old mediums. They may change the desire or the focus or the presentation, or the profitability.

If at the core of your questions is "does it make sense to project growth in video as part of the substantiation of a new company?" -- the answer is yes. But if you need to convince folks that the new disruptive technology of video will completely erase or eliminate a demand for images -- well, that is going to be a hard sale.

Telling stories is still popular. Writing them down is still popular. Illustrating books with drawings is still popular. Black and white photography is still popular. Printing pictures and putting them in frames will never be all replaced by digital frames.

It is not just an age thing-- though from the vantage point of the young it often feels that way. It is an aesthetic thing. And aesthetics change and go in cycles. (Reinforced by marketing dollars that always need to define the next new thing)

Once it seemed that the technology of plastic and metal made old wood furniture out of date. Young people wanted modern lines. But now a new generations has rediscovered the authenticity and quality of handmade wood furniture and craftsmen that have kept the skill alive are growing. As a percentage of total sales i think their growth may exceed the modern furniture makers. But that doesn't mean that modern furniture will dissapear. It just means that at this point of time the market is experiencing shifts.

(Furniture metaphor not work for you try the relationship between "natural organic" foods and "agribusiness foods" The demand for organic and local is exploding -- but does that mean it will put the agribusiness out-of-business? Hardly.)

And if there is anything the internet has shown and demonstrated -- the ability to aggregate niche markets often creates the most lucrative markets.

I am not a futurologist. But I will project that in 10-25-50 years there will be a question on a board just like this that goes something like this:

Will holograms replace all video in the future?

answered Jul 29 '11 at 05:54
Joseph Barisonzi
12,141 points
  • Well said, great historical and cultural explanation. – Ryan Doherty 13 years ago
  • Super Target, Jewel, Dominicks, etc... with their agribusiness foods are dominating Whole Foods with their organics foods in both revenue and profit. You can always run a business with old school technologies, but it's not going to make the maximum money because the niche markets who like old technologies are getting smaller and smaller. Walmart, McDonalds, and their huge conglomerate counterparts are spreading across the world like wildfire and squashing the old school mom and pop stores. Yeah, those small stores will still struggle, but how long can they last? – Jo Jo 13 years ago


No, video cannot replace all the images since there are many things which videos cant convey but image can.

Making videos is not so easy the exactly the conveyer wanted to convey anything.

answered Jul 30 '11 at 20:21
Dart Consulting
16 points

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