On the Move Online

By Ross Cullen

The future of video in online journalism should be secure if journalists look to the developing world.

I recently attended a panel discussion on ‘Latin America and the British Press’ at Canning House. The panellists agreed on four significant points:

1) Newspaper readership in the UK is falling

2) UK newspaper coverage of Latin America is falling

3) Views of online versions of newspapers (with their video content that is obviously missing from the print copies) were growing, both in Latin America and the UK.

4) Radio audiences are also dropping; it was noted that the BBC had recently ceased its Spanish-language radio broadcasts for the region.

These problems afflict both the UK and overseas and I suggested one way news providers could adapt to the changing journalistic environment was by exploring the world of online video. There is no doubt that the biggest growth area in journalism is online and of that online content, it is the moving, interactive items that will engage the future generations.

In the UK, but especially in developing countries such as those in Latin America, South East Asia and some parts of Africa, the young are mobile in two important senses.

Firstly, the use of mobile phones in emerging economies is increasing, particularly smartphones, which offer users the chance to surf the web and also carry video-capturing and video-viewing capabilities.

Secondly, the young are on the move. They travel more than their parents and they are connected in a totally different way from how previous generations were. They maintain international links through their mobile phones and social media sites. They Skype; they send picture text-messages; they share and discuss videos online.

If news providers in the UK and in these developing regions want to hold onto their consumers, then they need to follow them online, and they need to do so with video content that will engage a new generation in the medium.

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It’s A Numbers Game

By Ross Cullen

The Financial Times and The Economist use their online video content to engage and exploit the universal interest in ‘people’ and ‘celebrities’.

Last month, Emily Craig gave an in-depth look at the Wall Street Journal and the idea of paywalls on financial newspapers’ websites. In this post, we pick up on the same topic, but with a focus on the ‘personality-orientated’ use of video in the two major British financial publications.

Even hardened economists need a break from fiscal data and share indexes at some point. The FT has recognised this and come up with a clever way of introducing interviews into its coverage without losing its serious focus. It understands the interest that its readers have in the leading public figures from their financial world but does not want to expand that coverage into its print edition. As a result, the newspaper normally reserves interviews and profiles of public figures for its online video content.

The Economist also recognises the clamour for public interaction with political and business personae and has expanded its online video operations to facilitate expansion into this area. Moreover, just like the FT, it does not want to compromise its print versions with lots of magazine-style feature interviews.

By doing this, both publications can use their printed versions to deliver economic analysis and political reports whilst not neglecting the importance of interactive content. There are three main points that they have recognised:

1) Video is a key component of the online face of any printed publications

2) There is an interest amongst their readerships for profiles and interviews with leading people in the financial and business fields

3) The best medium for offering these profiles and engagements with important figures is through online video content

Interestingly, and as we have seen before, journalists are increasingly having to spread out from their traditional medium in order to maintain that vivacity and freshness which landed them their jobs in the first place. As in other publications, print journalists from the FT and The Economist are now presenting video content as well as writing print copy.

Finally, and arguably most significantly, putting such videos online facilitates reader and/or viewer interaction in a way which is absent from the newspaper. Put crudely, talking at the pages in your hand does not work; you have to use the internet to encourage reaction, comment, linking and debate from your readership. Uploading video interviews of interesting people is an intelligent and simple way to do this.

Source – Video One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4Qb_NezAf4

Source – Video Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4yN00qGBbI