Video storytelling: Keys to making popular, profitable video content

Quality, placement, production, advertising, and integration of videos were the main topics of debate during Video Storytelling: Ad Sales Meets Popular Content. The panel discussion, sponsored by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, took place as part of the INK+BEYOND newspaper conference in Toronto on April 26, 2012.

The discussion brought together representatives from both online and print media and included Rashida Jeeva, general manager, Huffington Post Canada; Julian Liurette, video coordinator at The Globe and Mail and Peter Vamos, director of content solutions for Postmedia Network. Moderator Patricia Graham, vice-president, digital, for Postmedia's Pacific Newspaper Group, led the panel in their conversation about the various strategies newspapers can take when creating and publishing videos online.

The panel was at a consensus that video is now integral to online publications.
“If you’re in the digital realm, you should always be thinking about video,” noted Vamos. “Digital is a video media,”

Vamos went so far as to suggest that video content is now becoming more important than print for an online publication.“The print stuff should be supplemental, and the video should be primary in as many cases as possible, which is kind of (a) blasphemous (thing to say) when coming into a print organization,” he said. “If we’re going to make a lot of money online…it’s going to be through video.”

Making money online through video means one thing: advertisements. Most online publications have started using pre-roll advertisements – ads that play without choice before the video starts.

The panel agreed that although advertisements may cause some complaints, pre-roll ads are a necessity to the industry.

Making money with videos is also about saving money. Videos can be very expensive to make, and Liurette noted that productivity is key for making money with videos.

“If you want to be in this business and you want it to be sustainable, it’s so expensive to shoot a video… you want to be efficient. First of all, you have to try and make videos that are short. At The Globe and Mail we try to do between 90 second and two minute long videos – not longer than that,” he said.

The panel also discussed the necessity for newsroom training. Developing the proper skills necessary to produce and edit video content is an essential factor in publishing high-quality online content.

“A lot of people just go out there and shoot and come back with three hours of footage, which takes five days to edit. So it’s already very inefficient in that sense,” said Liurette.

“Once people embrace (shooting video), it is a totally different story,” said Jeeva.
“It’s pretty empowering, but it takes a lot of education.”

The panel emphasized the importance of producing your own content. Whenever possible, newsrooms should endeavor to shoot their own quality video content, instead of relying on websites like YouTube.