After years of offering impressive growth rates but little substance in terms of actual revenues, online video is actually starting to produce meaningful numbers in dollars as well as viewers. Among all the major financial news outlets — Dow Jones (NSDQ: NWS), Reuters (NYSE: TRI), TheStreet.com (NSDQ: TST), even Bloomberg, which has its own TV network — CNBC (NSDQ: CMCSA) always had a bit of an advantage by dint of its long lead in focusing almost solely on video for a business audience. So as its rivals invest heavily in building up their own respective video assets, CNBC.com has revamped its player to make its large archives and constantly growing content easier to find and share.
But even though CNBC had the collection and the expertise with video, given the limitations in the days before mainstream broadband penetration, the early days of the network’s website had to mainly focus on text. But the last few years have not only made online video easier to watch, it’s also easier to make money on it.
The problem these days though, is that there’s a surfeit of video to watch on CNBC.com. So the updated player is meant to make watching it a more manageable, less time consuming experience. Viewers can now search and scroll through a “real-time” transcript that’s synced to the video that’s playing. There’s also a “jump to” feature allows users to click on any point in the transcript and start the video from that point.
“We run interviews with people impacting the market and the videos are very targeted to specific times throughout the day,” said *Meredith* Stark, VP, executive producer for CNBC.com. “The time it takes to view a video is longer than scanning headlines.”
In a bid to appeal to time-constrained traders and investors, not only are the videos’ specific subject matter scanable, portions of the videos can be clipped and saved. Those clips can then be e-mailed and posted to Facebook and other sites. (previously, only full videos could be added to blogs and social nets).
Lastly, commenting is now being introduced to its videos for the first time. The worry about whether comments can get out of hand and offend other viewers — and just as importantly, advertisers — is not a concern, Stark said. “We have a highly engaged, sophisticated business audience,” she said. “We’ll of course watch out for anything out of line, but for the most part, we trust our audience to police themselves.”