How are media owners making the most of video content?

The first session at FIPP’s Innovation Forum today in London highlighted some of the ways in which media owners are using video content to entertain, surprise and delight their audiences.
Hamish White, head of emerging platforms at News UK discussed how the company’s video strategy has developed as they have learned more about the audiences they’re delivering to. 
Key video content categories are funny, sport, how to, music and news, said White. After producing VOD (video on demand) for some time, White gave the audience tips on things to look out for when producing content for their own businesses. “Video quality matters, but only to a point,” he said. “Film in plenty of light and keep the video in landscape mode.”
White spoke about video length, saying that while shorter videos are popular, easier to digest and more accessible on-the-go, there is evidence to suggest that people do watch longer videos (for example on a commute), so it might be worth producing different versions to suit viewers at different times of the day.
When thinking about who to put in front of the camera, White said that a video is more engaging if the speaker is “either passionate or an expert.” He went on to suggest that using celebrities does not always work, and that this is something to be aware of.
“VOD is going to be a bigger part of how people consume now,” said White. “The written word and pictures will be a supporting function around it. We have to let video enhance how we tell stories and make what we’ve done traditionally, even better,” he concluded.
Laura Rowley, VP video production and product, Meredith, USA, echoed White’s point about using celebrities to front videos: “We’ve had much more success with experts or brand editors,” she said.
Rowley presented an overview of Meredith’s video strategy, stressing how important promotion is. “We don’t shoot a video without knowing where it will be promoted from the outset. You can make the best video in the world, but if you don’t have a promotion strategy – forget it,” she said.
When deciding which videos to produce, Rowley said the decision is based on audience data. “We look at the most highly trafficked areas of our sites, and social sharing. All of these factors become the drivers for the content we produce.”
Meredith’s video strategy has doubled the number of views in the last year, and the company now achieves 40m views per month. On delivery platforms, Rowley said: “YouTube is an important distribution channel for us. It helps us reach new potential audiences, who are generally younger. This drives traffic to our site and enables us to capture feedback.” 
Richard Beer, the session’s final speaker and creative director of the UK’s Cannes Lions award-winning agency, Don’t Panic, gave the audience tips on how best to use Vine, although began with the caveat: “It’s still a new platform and no-one really understands it yet!”
Beer said the city with highest number of Vines, is London. “Brands are getting into it in a big way,” he added.
Beer’s five commandments of Vine:
1.Stop collaborate and listen
2.Be funny
3.Be spontaneous
4.Aim low
5.Stay open minded
“It’s a unique medium, and users are only just starting to explore what they can do with comedy, special effects and loops. The difference with Vine, is that it’s a video viewing app where you don’t follow friends/celebrities, but people who make really good Vines – it’s a meritocracy.”
Beer said that magazine brands such as Wired are beginning to use Vine, and this will increase as we start to figure out how we measure its success (eg. shares, views).

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