Digital news: How to maximise video content

Amer Attyeh, Head of MENA, Exponential Interactive, discusses the increasing move towards digital content in news, as well as how to utilise video content to maximum effect…

“In order for journalists and PR professionals to simply keep their jobs, digital and social needs to be a key part of their skill set and experience.”

There has been a massive change to the editorial ecosystem in recent years. Many positions have been cut, with a growing number of jobs appearing in the native digital news sector, and a significant number of high profile international journalists leading the charge to the digital space as online news sites such as Mashable, Buzzfeed and Yahoo become increasingly attractive. Some digital news producers are filling the gaps produced by increasing pressure on traditional news outlets, while others are developing new forms of storytelling such as video, crowdsourcing and new styles of documentary.

As the popularity of digital newsrooms continues to increase, particularly for the younger audience, traditional media outlets are having to transform themselves to keep up, offering more and more digital and social options to satisfy their audiences. Now it’s not even about staying ahead – in order for journalists and PR professionals to simply keep their jobs, digital and social needs to be a key part of their skill set and experience.

Video is set to be a key focus for online moving forwards, with companies dramatically increasing digital video advertising spend as a result of the increasing viewership in 2014. According to eMarketer, by the end of 2015, buyers and sellers will transact more than two billion dollars worth of video ads on programmatic platforms – nearly triple the spend of 2014. Successful journalists and PR professionals will need to continue to find ways to embrace the increasing growth in demand for video and content-driven marketing.

Engaging content goes far beyond one good video however; with the attention spans of our customers getting shorter, people are looking for more visual and memorable experiences, and one good video on its own is not enough. As a leading global provider of digital advertising solutions, we have plenty of insight into engaging users with online video:

  • The three key components to video are sight, sound and motion which need to work seamlessly together to create an emotive experience. If you take one of these (i.e. sound) away, the other two need to compensate together – using visual text or other prompts can be highly effective in these situations.
  • Attention spans are getting shorter, so it is important to focus on the first three seconds of the video and use the strongest asset as soon as possible, for example, if you have a celebrity, show them at the start.
  • Make sure you are familiar with analytics so that you can assess the success of your video, whether this is based on views, engagement or time spent on the video. Video should be a key component of your strategy, and therefore needs to be continually updated to reflect your audience’s needs and desires, as well as your results and objectives.

The digital evolution has impacted what news is reported, how it is reported, and even the language used to report. It has had an effect on our awareness, perceptions and demands, and created a much more convoluted and difficult to manage communications process. In order to avoid extinction, newspapers and TV networks need to embrace digital and create a revenue model that supports it – leveraging the value of their classifieds in order to stay ahead. Radio networks have their own issues thanks to the onslaught of digital players such as Spotify, with budgets that would have been purely for radio now being split to include these.

This movement has been more sudden and dramatic for the media industry than any we have seen before, and for those of us working in media and marketing, it offers both golden opportunities and nightmare-inducing fears. The only clear message is that this shift is not likely to slow down at any point, and only those who are open to change and who can see the opportunities provided by integration will succeed.