Six things you need to know about online video news now

By Claire • NewsCred Blog • May 21, 2012

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Online video has come a long way in a short while. "When I first started at the Times," said Ann Derry, editorial director of video and television at the New York Times, "I went to the person who was running the website at the time and said, 'I think we should start producing video for the web.' And he told me, 'People will never watch video on the web.'"

Data, however, proves otherwise. According to comScore, the average viewer watched 21.8 hours of online video. More importantly, U.S. consumers saw 9.5 billion video ads in the month of April alone. This growth in the audience of online media is playing out in news organizations. Video, for example, commands its own news desk at the Times.

Barion Grant, co-founder and director of sales at NBC's "The Grio"; Jeremy Chilnick, head of production and development at Warrior Poets; and Solana Pyne, senior video producer at GlobalPost; are making similar strides. Interested in further exploring this facet of the industry, the Online News Association (ONA) gathered Derry, Grant, Chilnick and Pyne together at Columbia University's Pulitzer Center May 17 for an interactive panel on video news moderated by Alicia Stewart, a senior editor and producer at CNN's "In America."

In case you missed it, here are six things you need to know about online video news now:

  1. When it comes to online video, we're at the beginning of the golden age -- "I actually don't think we're in the golden age of video online yet. I think we're at the beginning of it. I think we're just starting to see what's going to happen, and how video and television are going to come together and move forward. We're just at the start. It is a time of huge opportunity because it is so open ended and people are trying so many things," Derry said.
  2. Online video is profitable -- "When we launched [The Grio], we didn't realize how much money there was in the space," Grant said. "Now we're starting to package in our sales sponsorships, not just banners in terms of advertising, but including videos, saying, 'We can make this video brought to you buy.'"
  3. More pipelines are available for filmmakers -- "There are more places than ever to get your video on: Hulu, Yahoo, the New York Times. There are giant, giant websites that have real, active pipelines to fill. It's an amazing opportunity for filmmakers that we really never had," Chilnick said.
  4. Storytelling isn't going anywhere -- "Storytelling is always going to be the most prominent thing," Chilnick said. "There's short-form filmmaking; there's long-form filmmaker. I think the Internet right now is trying to figure out is where that in-between thing is. We make pieces for Yahoo that are five minutes; we make things for Hulu that are 22-minutes. What you make for Yahoo for five minutes has a very different feeling to it and a very different budget. At the end of the day you're still trying to tell a story."
  5. "There's an opportunity to do a lot, a lot cheaper" -- "If you need a Sat[ellite] truck to get a story out there, that's not out strength, that's not what we're trying to do," Pyne said. "If you want someone whose been in Libya for four or five months, whose been traveling with the rebels, who has a kind of access, and who can do that because they're traveling with a small camera that now can shoot really amazingly-great, high-quality HD video. When something happens they have a different perspective. They're able to get things that other people can't get because they've been able to travel lightly and spend a lot of time in a place."
  6. You don't need a network to build an audience -- "Now, a lot of people can create their own audience and then come to the table with that, and say, 'This is what I've already created. This is why you have to hire me.' Building up that type of audience is something you couldn't have done 10 years ago," Grant said.

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