The case for video in the newsrooms formerly known as newspapers has two parts. 1.) On desktop and mobile, audiences tend to click and watch it. 2.) The advertising revenue is there for the taking, if the product is good. Video is one of the few areas where there is not enough “inventory”— strong content to advertise against.
In October 2014 the Times unveiled a new and much larger video player in its site. It also expanded the video team from about 30 people in 2013 to 60, including six in business development. The team is led by Rebecca Howard, the general manager of video, and Bruce Headlam, managing editor for video, who used to run the media desk.
Instead of just supplementing print stories with video, Headlam has pushed for video that can stand on its own. “More and more, we’re seeing video first, with a print story that comes later,” he said. “That leads to our best work, because people are thinking about what makes a great video story.” The newsroom has learned to take advantage of its own archive, and often repurposes old videos to make them relevant again.
The Times has also built video “channels” to align with its established verticals, as with science, culture, style. It also has its own YouTube channel (with close to half a million subscribers) and built a network of distribution partners, including AOL, Yahoo, and MSN.
The Times did not put videos behind the paywall; the potential growth in ad revenues was too great. The strategy is to get the videos in front of as large an audience as possible, which means not only on the Times site or in its own apps but all over the web.
- The 36 Hours channel complements the established travel section in the paper.
- The Fashion Week: In the Studio channel coincides with fashion week, combining new videos produced for the occasion (ex. J.W. Anderson, Feb. 2015) with work from the Times’ archive (ex. Vera Wang, Sept. 2014).
- Mark Bittman’s cooking channel is a good illustration of a renowned Times journalist’s voice crossing over into video.
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