Deja video: different media, same storytelling

Some golden nuggets about online video that would be of value to any editor or journalist involved with their newspaper’s website came out of a Telstra Business event in Sydney last night, writes Brett Taylor.

Social networkers, broadcasters and businesses told how they are using online video in innovative ways at the Net Generation: The Future is Video event.

There were lessons for news publishers about how to best utilise this medium – with a strong focus on ‘audience first’ – amid the talk of monetising UBs and the usual technical hiccups with video (how ironic!).

SBS has leveraged its TV content to grow online video views by 223 percent, up to 500,000 views per week, the Australian broadcaster’s director commercial affairs, Richard Finlayson, revealed.

His advice was:

  • Maintain a strong brand: integrity will be rewarded in the age of infinite choice
  • Own the rights to quality content so you can leverage it and allow people to share it
  • Audience comes first

When the definition of ‘quality’ content was challenged from the floor (someone cited the example of a pimple getting squeezed garnering over 1m views on YouTube) Mr Finlayson insisted that as media fragments and more choice is created, quality content with high production value and deep narrative will float to the surface.

Alex Goddard, the young director of MySpace’s weekly online show Oyster Vision, went a step further by saying that your content must be steered by viewer feedback.

His team read every user comment on their page, and edit the show according to what rates and what doesn’t with the young audience. In turn, the interaction between show and viewer has created a genuine online community of fans.

Bebo’s Francisco Cordero had less relevant information for newspaper editors, although it was interesting to hear that production giants such as Warner Bros see enough in the immediate future of online video that they’re creating high-quality, TV-budget programs specifically for the net.

Marguerite Kramer of showed off some upcoming technology for her website, which she called “overlay”. A small box would appear in the bottom corner of the player during video playback, allowing the viewer to hover their cursor over it for more information. The video would automatically pause, and the viewer could view more information about an in-video product.

The application has obvious uses for advertising, but also in an editorial sense for newspapers which have countless articles, audio and other related content to most news stories.

I spoke to newspaper video producers in the field for the current PANPA Bulletin newspaper. It was valuable to take in the considerations of the other end of cycle – the video consumer – told from some perspectives outside our industry.

Many of the themes reflected those I heard at the PANPA conference: think reader, think community, think interactive, think quality, think integrity. It seems all media, and indeed all businesses, are facing the same challenges to be heard.

Finlayson nominated 2012 as the “killer app” year: superfast broadband, free digital TV channels popping up, etc. “If we can’t get our shit together by then, we’re stuffed,” he said. The race is on.


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