Video Essentials

Five Lessons Newspapers Have Learned About Online Video

The transition from old media to new media hasn’t been smooth for newspapers and it’s not over yet, but along the way news sites have learned important lessons about serving up video.

Beet.TV spoke to Ann Derry, editorial director for video and television for the New York Times, and Shawn Bender, editorial director for video for the Wall Street Journal Online, about why site visitors hit the Play button on a video.

The answers are applicable for any type of site, as content creators try to convince site visitors that they have videos worth watching.

1. Video creates a connection with the person telling the story.

There’s a personal connection in video that’s often missing in print. It’s easier for the viewer to get a feel for the person telling the story. As your site creates videos, make sure the voice doing the telling is a person with a point of view, not a detached narrator.

2. Video conveys excitement that doesn’t come through in text.

Video is a visual medium, so take advantage of that. Plunge your viewers right into the middle of your story and make them feel like they’re experiencing it themselves.

3. Videos can include great visuals and characters.

“If you’re doing a hang gliding story, you want to see the hang gliding,” said Derry. Visual storytelling isn’t about telling, but about showing. Bring in the sites, sounds, and people of your story and let those elements tell the tale.

4. Gain your viewers’ trust by giving them a good experience.

Viewers are giving you their time and they need to feel like they’re getting a fair bargain. They’ll come back often if they enjoy the experience and trust that your videos will show them something worthwhile.

5. Watching a video can be faster than reading a story.

People move around quickly online, and the visitors to your site will go for whichever version of a story seems quicker. If you have both text and video versions of the same story, visitors will go for the video if they believe watching will be faster than reading. Don’t feel like you have to present the entire story in your video: “People are getting used to the idea that if they go to a video for news analysis, especially analysis of breaking news, they’re going to get maybe two or three really critical points to take away. That is, in many cases, is all that people have time for,” said Bender.

Scroll down for the entire video (used courtesy of Beet.TV).


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. Informative article. Too bad the video didn’t open. Thank you.

    Posted by Bill Burke | December 6, 2011, 6:19 am
  2. Another great thing about video is that you can see people in the background eating and licking their fingers.

    Posted by Mike Wallace | December 22, 2011, 11:16 am
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