A few months ago, a video of New York City popped up on YouTube. There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about that statement, thousands of videos of New York are uploaded to YouTube every day. However, this video was different. It was a compilation of footage that was shot between 1896 and 1905, making it the oldest surviving footage of recognizable parts of New York City.


The video, produced by Yestervid, juxtaposes the video of New York with a map of the City, giving context to the images of a bygone era in New York history. In just a few short months, the video has amassed over a million views and been the subject of quite a few articles.

So why, when there are hundreds and thousands of photos and written accounts of New York from the turn of the 20th century, is this video so popular? Because video can do it better.

Seeing actual people moving around, going about their daily business, captured authentically (check out the guy who loses his hat at 1:32) gives us a feeling of connection that just isn’t possible with simple words or images. Beyond just that sense of connection, Yestervid added maps in realtime, enhancing the experience of being transported back in time by grounding the images in the New York of today.

What can this video tell your business?

  • Whether it’s for prospects or internal employees, video excels at engaging an audience, going beyond what just images and words can.
  • Video spans time. Assuming the content is still relevant, video can still be as interesting and engaging 120 years in the future as it was on the day it was filmed. Maybe even more so.
  • It’s simple to add supplementary information to videos. Whether it’s a PowerPoint in addition to a thought leadership video or the map of present day NYC in the oldest video footage of New York, it’s easy to create a rich content experience for your audience with video as the centerpiece.

Video is the perfect medium to convey information, whether it’s from another century or just from last week. And speaking of video in New York, it’s not too late to sign up for the webcast of our Enterprise Video Summit in NYC, broadcasting live from 2-5PM EST on March 11.