The best uses of video on the Web – sales and commercial videos, extending stories, gotta-see-it-to-believe-it videos, story packages.
We need to run our newspaper websites like we run our newspaper: Profit first, then operations, then editorial.
When will local newspaper websites and hyper local blogs start making money with video? Short answer: When they start sharing their video equipment with the sales department.
For now, the big money in online video is in promotion, demonstration and advertorial-based video content — not in editorial and news content. Watch short clip to the left to see how some production companies like TurnHere and AOL’s StudioNow are taking advantage of this fact.
It’s insane that newspapers and independent websites aren’t paying more attention to this trend. Instead, newspaper is still primarily focused on editorial and news video where journalists mimic the old-school techniques of TV reporters. Investment in digital video cameras for the staff, Final Cut Pro editing software and training are good things. But who decided these smart investments were for newsrooms only?
Producing video-based editorial or enhancing text-based stories with video is powerful and compelling. Unfortunately, it’s been a money pit.
TV-like video ‘packages’ might work in a linear 30-minute newscast, but they usually fall flat when online. A well-produced 3.5 minute report on the 11 p.m. news looks sweet with footage of a fire, quick sound bites and an attractive field reporter. Place that same clip online and on-demand — and it usually gets limited viewership. I’ve seen it first hand in my work with TV. Even if you could get a $50 cpm, the limited video views will make it difficult to adequately monetize.
TIP: If you MUST find a way to sell your editorial-based video, offer advertisers a share of voice (SOV) in the pre-roll position. Bundle it with banners and other digital sponsorships for now.
“My newspaper tried to make money with video, but it didn’t work.” Boy, do we hear that a lot. But the truth is, online video DOES make money…..just not in the way local news sites have been doing it.
Lately, we’re seeing more anecdotal evidence that the enthusiasm for online news video is waning. Not from the video journalists, but from high-level newsrooms and sales execs. These bottom-line focused executives echo a common refrain in their weekly meetings: even the best production value and subject matter doesn’t always translate into journalistic and revenue success.
Some culprits that contribute to this issue
Does the video on left bring anything of value to the piece? While the journalist is comfortable in front of a camera, this is just placing a camera in front of a radio talk show. It’s not helpful to the viewer at all, and advertisers wonder why they want to be associated with this content. While the basic production quality is solid, it cries out for still image overlays or video b-roll of the hockey game being discussed.
Sound like too much work? Then don’t do this type of video. Especially if you can’t attract viewers and a sponsor.
When to Consider Editorial Video?
We recommend that video should only be used if the story can be made better by sound and motion, otherwise it’s just ‘shooting video for video sake’.
Editorial video can be done in three basic ways
- Story Teller: A TV-like, fully produced ‘package’ that includes editing, stand-up reporter, graphics and narration. Typically 3.5 minutes in length.
- Story Extender: Raw footage that works as a complement and provides greater understanding to a text-based story. Footage can be embedded within or adjacent to the body of the online text story.
- Have to See It, to Believe It :Example: by monitoring police/fire scanners, you may be able to capture some exciting fire footage, a 20 car pile-up, or a perp walk, etc. This type of video could go viral.