Ec­stasy Labs: a New Breed of Pro­duc­ers

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A new breed of pro­duc­ers has emerged rep­re­sent­ing a novel gen­er­a­tion of pro­ducer/cre­ator who seem to be at the fore­front of re­shap­ing the me­dia land­scape of to­mor­row. One such com­pany is Beirut-based Ec­stasy Labs, which of­fi­cially launched oper­a­tions in Septem­ber 2015. This pro­duc­tion com­pany was, from the start, keen on defin­ing its edge by po­si­tion­ing it­self as 'The So­cial Video Agency'. Arabad caught up with Ziad Takla, man­ag­ing part­ner at Ec­stasy Labs to learn more about the in­cred­i­ble rise of video and the man­i­fold op­por­tu­ni­ties this medium holds.

Every­one has a story to tell, and it is best told in video.

Could you pro­vide us with a brief over­view on the cur­rent state of the pro­duc­tion in­dus­try in Le­banon and evoke the dif­fi­cul­ties and chal­lenges you've faced so far (if any)?

Pro­duc­tion bud­gets are glob­ally de­creas­ing, not just in Le­banon. In con­trast, the pro­duc­tion mar­ket is boom­ing ex­po­nen­tially. This is why I be­lieve that video pro­duc­tion in our coun­try, which has been in­creas­ing in de­mand over the past few years, is en­ter­ing a golden era, es­pe­cially in terms of rich con­tent for on­line. There is a grow­ing re­al­i­sa­tion among every­one from big cor­po­ra­tions to would-be in­vestors and star­tups that to ex­ist in the mar­ket re­quires ex­ist­ing in the vir­tual world and vice versa.

This par­a­digm shift in the mar­ket­ing strate­gies re­quires solid backup from the video cre­ators to be flex­i­ble and adapt­able to con­stantly evolv­ing tech­nolo­gies and me­dia. To il­lus­trate that, con­sider the value for money of a short-lived TVC, com­pared to a vi­ral video that’s con­stantly shared or boosted, po­ten­tially with no time lim­its. One of the fastest grow­ing seg­ments of dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing is in­deed on­line videos. Has pro­duc­ing for the web changed the game for you as a com­pany?

So­cial videos are chang­ing the game for every­one. They have proven to be the most ef­fec­tive on­line mar­ket­ing tool to date with the high­est ROI by far. I pre­dict that every­one will even­tu­ally hop on that band­wagon, and those smart enough to re­serve their places in the front rows will soon be wit­ness­ing in­crease in their fig­ures caused by their 24/7 on­line rep­re­sen­ta­tives that are videos. We cre­ated our so­cial video agency to fill the much-needed gap of pro­duc­ing this type of videos, and we have been de­tect­ing the no­table re­sponse from mar­keters who are be­gin­ning to grasp their im­por­tant value. Video is huge -- and will be mak­ing its way into many com­pa­nies’ over­all mar­ket­ing strat­egy in 2016 and be­yond. Nielsen claims 64 per­cent of mar­keters ex­pect video to dom­i­nate their strate­gies in the near fu­ture. It's easy to see why. To­day, if a busi­ness isn't cre­at­ing on­line videos, it will be miss­ing out on one of the fastest grow­ing seg­ments of dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing. 76 per­cent of mar­keters at small and large com­pa­nies plan to pro­duce

more videos this year, mak­ing it the top sec­tor they will in­vest in, ac­cord­ing to a So­cial Me­dia Ex­am­iner re­port; a fig­ure that's pre­dicted to rise as more and more re­alise the po­ten­tial.

Do you think the era of TVCS is be­hind us?

TV is quickly fall­ing be­hind as a medium, hand­ing the lead to mo­bile tech­nolo­gies. It is only nat­u­ral that the TVC is los­ing its 'com­mer­cial­ity'. With the en­tire world go­ing mo­bile, soon so­cial ad­ver­tis­ing is go­ing to take TV'S ad­ver­tis­ing crown.

Some ar­gue that pro­duc­tion costs have fallen sig­nif­i­cantly in re­cent years. What's your say and how do you ex­plain such a fact?

Pro­duc­tion costs de­creased be­cause of the com­mer­cial avail­abil­ity of the pro­duc­tion tech­nol­ogy. It is more af­ford­able than ever to pro­duce a video with high stan­dards even on an in­di­vid­ual level with smart­phones. This evo­lu­tion is a dou­ble-edged sword: more videos be­ing pro­duced make it in­creas­ingly chal­leng­ing to have an edge on the con­tent level.

This is why you still need pro­fes­sion­als to do this job, and this is why we work on cre­at­ing teams that can han­dle this new pro­duc­tion model ef­fec­tively.

Ad­ver­tis­ers need to dare in­vest­ing in new ideas, work on in­no­va­tive con­cepts, and most im­por­tantly cre­ate en­gag­ing in­ter­ac­tive lo­cal and cul­tural con­tent. Dras­tic change must oc­cur in or­der to evolve and adapt to the cur­rent needs and op­por­tu­ni­ties.

What are the main trends that you've no­ticed and how are these af­fect­ing your work­flow?

The in­creased con­sump­tion of on­line video con­tent should come as no sur­prise. Af­ter all, there’s a rea­son why Youtube is the sec­ond largest search en­gine and one of the web­sites with high­est traf­fic. emar­keter noted that more than 70 per­cent of In­ter­net users watched on­line video con­tent last year and in­dus­try ex­perts pre­dict that this fig­ure will rise to more than 77 per­cent this year.

With Face­book, Twit­ter, Snapchat, In­sta­gram and oth­ers (Vlogs, e-learn­ing, web­sites ex­plain­ers…etc) lead­ing the way, video con­tent is the fu­ture of the dig­i­tal con­tent busi­ness. Brands and ad­ver­tis­ers now un­der­stand the prom­ise of dis­trib­uted video con­tent and you can ex­pect the in­dus­try to dra­mat­i­cally ex­pand in the com­ing years, which pos­i­tively af­fects and al­lows us to work on be­com­ing the lead­ers in this space.

What's the lat­est projects and big ideas you've been in­volved in?

We re­cently worked on the pro­duc­tion of the lat­est Barista com­mer­cial with In­ter­mar­kets, as well as re­tain­ing their monthly video pro­duc­tion. We also pro­duced a spot for Khoury Home and Le Mall with M&C Saatchi, City Cen­ter ac­ti­va­tions with Grey World­wide Beirut in ad­di­tion to vi­ral videos for Se­so­bel, and many oth­ers listed on our web­site.

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