BBC: Video for Video’s Sake Isn’t Worth It

With a pinch of video all your troubles will go away! That’s the recipe going around these days — and we at NewTeeVee have certainly helped spread it — but Pete Clifton, head of BBC News Interactive, offered an important warning speaking at a conferece in London today.

News video clips need to be relevant, embedded near the stories they relate to, and add something that’s not achieved by the text, Clifton told the Future of News Conference, according to Journalism.co.uk (found via the Daily Reel). According to BBC tests, he said, up to 40 percent of readers watch video that’s embedded in a story, while only two percent seek out video in dedicated sections on the news site.

“What irritates the hell out of people is if they click a story which says ‘Britain buys 100 new tanks for the war in Afghanistan’ they then click on the video and it’s just a bloke standing in Whitehall saying ‘they’re going to buy 100 new tanks for the war in Afghanistan.’ The viewer could say ‘you’ve wasted my time’.

Clifton’s proposal is to reduce output of video clips, using video only when it complements a story. Apparently the BBC has hired someone to help sort through source footage for good web items. Respecting the reader’s desire to get to the most relevant information the fastest? It makes a lot of sense.