It's hard to argue the opportunity that video presents for newspapers, especially after this week's release from comScore that showed there were 37 billion videos watched online in April.
The report said that 181 million Internet users in the United States watched video online in April and 20 percent of all videos surfaced an ad.
These kind of figures seem to grow and grow every month, both with traffic, plays and revenue. It's a story that is also playing out in our company. I have written in the past about how our video volume is significantly increasing each month. In fact, we produced more than 3,500 videos in April.
All this new video from companies like GateHouse is sending those figures through the roof.
One of the questions we grapple with is how to get more views and plays from all of the video content we're creating. We know that high-quality video definitely helps trigger more plays, but the right topics is almost, if not more, important.
Breaking news seems to still be king, but newspapers have to start paying attention to what's happening with the entertainment category. In the comScore release, Hulu is noted for driving more time on site than any other site. Hulu is also mentioned for huge numbers of video plays, rivaling the Yahoo's of the world. And You Tube's partner channels saw tons of music, movie and entertainment sites at the top of that list. The short: entertainment video is taking off.
Media companies have to start taking advantage of entertainment video in a few ways:
Syndications: As companies pick content partnerships, understanding what kind of entertainment video might be provided, has to be top of mind. When GateHouse picked the News Distribution Network two years ago as our video syndicate service, we were attracted to their desire to increase their entertainment category and they definitely have done that in recent months, with the addition of Hulu, which we'll be adding to our sites in the coming weeks. Our newspapers aren't going to create movie or TV clips, that's why we have to find services that do that. We have that in NDN and as we consider other partners, we'll be considering how they can bring entertainment video into the fold.
Locally: Newspapers should consider how they can increase their entertainment video offerings. That can mean a lot of things. 1) Weekend videos that profile what to do in the area. 2) Profiles of local bands, playing a song or two. Or school bands or choirs. 3) Coverage of weekend festivals with highlights and faces. 4) Weekend get-away videos of places to go and things to do. 5) Profiles of restaurants and other businesses that offer weekend fun. There are likely dozens of other entertainment ideas you could come up with.
Video is here to stay. Advertisers are hungry to play in front of our content, but to get more of them there and to increase our plays which will get more advertisers there, we have to hit the right topics. Entertainment isn't the only one that works, but you can't deny that it's one that carries lots of opportunity.
Are you — or more importantly, your readers — more inclined to click on a video about a vote in the Senate or American Idol? Maybe as a newsy, you don't like that answer, but analytics speak. I would be inclined to think that practice plays out locally too. What's more popular in your market, a video profiling things to do this weekend or a video about gas prices? We know the answer. Now we just have to act on it.
David Arkin is Vice President of Content & Audience for GateHouse Media. Contact him at email@example.com
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