Blog Post

Video Killed the Radio Star, But Might Save Newspapers

What comes to mind when you think of newspapers? Whatever it is, it’s probably not streaming video. Yet one of the interesting facts in a new survey of the online video market (PDF link) from video-hosting platform Brightcove and analytics provider TubeMogul is that newspapers overtook broadcasters in terms of the total number of video minutes streamed in the third quarter of 2010. As news publishers of all kinds try to move their operations online, more and more seem to be getting the message that the future includes video.

The Brightcove and TubeMogul report shows that the number of video titles uploaded by newspapers climbed by more than 50 percent in the quarter to almost half a million, and that was more than double the number of videos that newspaper sites uploaded in the same quarter of 2009. The total number of minutes streamed rose to 313 million in the most recent quarter, the report says, compared with 290 million for broadcasters. As Brightcove and TubeMogul note in the study, their figures are not necessarily representative of the entire video market, but the data is still interesting.

Some of the growth in video streaming was likely a result of the major news events during the third quarter, including the World Cup soccer tournament and the mid-term elections in the U.S., but that doesn’t explain why newspapers outpaced broadcasters in terms of videos (although it’s possible some broadcasters no longer use Brightcove or TubeMogul and therefore aren’t reflected in the data). In addition to leading in total minutes streamed, newspapers also took the lead in terms of the total number of videos, with close to 500,000 uploaded — more than twice as many as the broadcasting group.

The one area in which broadcasters led the pack, however, is the average number of minutes watched, where broadcasters as a group were far ahead of newspapers. This suggests that while newspapers are uploading more video, readers (or viewers) aren’t finding that content as engaging as they do videos that come from broadcasters. That’s probably not surprising, considering many newspapers are still grappling with how to produce video, something that doesn’t come naturally to print publications, while most broadcasters have learned how to create video content that grabs viewers.

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Post and thumbnail photo courtesy of Flickr user Jim Kelly

7 Responses to “Video Killed the Radio Star, But Might Save Newspapers”

  1. It’s good to see that newspapers get that video is an important (and missing) component of their work.

    But what they don’t get is the fact that great video is provided via the brevity of what television stations have learned and perfected over decades.

    And that’s exactly why you have the multitude of uploaded minutes you see in this survey — long, unfocused video production by newspapers.

  2. Sorry I skimmed the survey report so maybe this was covered, but I didn’t catch if live viewing of sport events would be skewing the broadcast numbers higher? One chart I saw showed broadcast viewing times skewed towards nighttime viewing which could support sports as the culprit…..or Hulu?

    Be helpful to compare news as the content, then see compare stats between broadcast and newspapers.

    Great story though, thanks for sharing!

  3. Velvet Elvis

    Glad to see newspaper websites are picking up the ball that local tv websites have so clearly dropped.

    So many local tv websites are cookie-cutters of each other (most are “developed” by a handful of companies that, er, “specialize” in tv website production). Yet so many do a poor job featuring even their own content — and very rarely, do they even attempt to produce video as a promo for their upcoming tv broadcasts (i.e. – “Here’s what’s in store for you tonight at 6”) … even more rare is the attempt to really engage users with live streaming video.

  4. Try Focusing

    Minutes watched ? “This suggests that while newspapers are uploading more video, readers (or viewers) aren’t finding that content as engaging as they do videos that come from broadcasters.”
    It could also suggest that the newspaper videos are shorter, with fewer talking heads, allowing viewers to get the desired content in a shorter amount of time.

  5. Guy Lucas

    Are you sure the lower number of minutes watched for videos from newspapers is because they are of lower quality? Everything I have read giving advice to newspaper people producing video is to keep the videos pretty darn short, under 2 minutes, and just get to the point quickly.