Over the past six months, all my conversations with publishers seem to come back to a singular challenge. The consistency of this challenge is remarkable, and faced by publishers across the globe and across all verticals: there is increasing demand from advertisers for more video inventory, but not enough video being produced internally to meet it.
Essentially, there’s money on the table and publishers are hunting for new ways to reach it.
And it’s not just advertisers demanding video, the audience is too — as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg himself said (emphasis mine):
“…we’re seeing more and more rich content online. Instead of just text and photos, we’re now seeing more and more videos. This will continue into the future and we’ll see more immersive content like VR. For now though, making sure news organizations are delivering increasingly rich content is important and it’s what people want.”
To address this shift, many media outlets are faced with a serious challenge: they know how video has traditionally been produced, but they recognise that the old model is not going to get them where they need to be in terms of volume and engagement.
— Garrett Goodman (@GarrettGoodman) June 19, 2015
Setting up teams of video experts with pricey editing suites is a significant investment, both in time and money, and the result still creates a bottleneck as all video has to come out of one (often small) video unit.
So, with video resources at a premium, how do you increase video output in a way that has maximum impact?
A core part of what I do at wochit (the video creation platform used by USA Today, Spiegel Online, Axel Springer and many others) is work with leading publishers to determine how to address this issue from a strategic and organisational standpoint.
Here are three ways to organise video operations that have emerged over the past months out of my conversations with premium European news publishers:
You’ve probably got a fancy suite of real-time analytics at your disposal like Chartbeat or Parse.ly, why not put this to use by guiding which stories get a video treatment? Make a point to check at peak traffic times during the day, identify your most popular stories and those picking up speed, and create videos for them quickly to ride the spike in audience.
This approach is about making sure the videos you create get the maximum number of eyeballs. For this to work well, you need a quick way to put these videos together to ensure that you can get them published while the audience is still there.
The traditional video team sits horizontally across all categories, and generally the producers aren’t experts in any field (except producing video, of course). “Verticalising video” involves training up one journalist from each content vertical to create a regular flow of videos that really resonate with that audience.
The videos can be short-form, but it’s the tone and deeper knowledge of the expert journalist that better targets and engages specific audiences through video. For this tactic to work, it is essential to choose the right candidates from each vertical, and to give them ample support to really run with this.
Many operations are looking to overcome the bottleneck of small video teams and democratise video creation across the newsroom, while keeping a certain standard of quality and style. This approach has the experts in the video team create a series of template videos for different formats: 60 second explainer, list video, social video, etc. Use these as the models that journalists and newer video creators work towards when crafting their own video pieces.
With this strategy, the video team itself takes on a leadership and guidance role for the newsroom in its day-to-day creation of video, while freeing themselves up to do more of the deeper and highly produced pieces.
With such dramatic shifts in distribution, consumption, and monetization of video over the past few years, it follows that smart media outlets are responding by also evolving their approaches to video creation (here are some new approaches to video from four digital leaders). Perhaps even more important than simply exploring new video formats, is also taking a more deliberate approach to the strategic rollout of video across the organisation.
So, how is your publishing organisation choosing what stories get a video treatment? Does data around audience engagement play a role?