Video’s rise to stardom in the magazine media industry

Laura Rowley, VP, video production and product at Meredith shares her views on video’s rapid rise to stardom and the innovations on the horizon.
Meet her at FIPP’s Innovation Forum from 26-27 June 2014 in London. Register to attend here.
What have been the real drivers behind video’s rapid rise?
There is certainly no disputing video’s credentials. Americans watched 52.4bn online videos from desktops and notebooks in December 2013 alone, surpassing the 50bn mark for the first time, according to comScore. From an audience perspective, online video is capturing more TV viewers, who want their video on demand and on whatever device they choose. Only 62 per cent of US female millennials watch television at home on a TV screen; 40 per cent are watching it on a video-sharing site or a free online video service. And more than a quarter are watching it on a mobile device or tablet.
YouTube and social media were enormous cultural game-changers, encouraging people to go online to view, create and share video. Advertisers recognise that the audience is going online, of course, and so their budgets are swiftly following.
Digital video is also feeding the appetite for niche content that cable channels have largely abandoned. In the US, food channels used to be about cooking – now they’re much more about chef competitions or restaurant reality shows. If you want to learn how to cook, you’re much better served by the videos at Meredith’s, for example.
Finally, the technology for creating video and the platforms for serving video are better and more cost-effective than ever.
What innovations really excite you around video right now?
I’ve been a content creator for 25 years, so for me, it’s the depth of analytics that allows us to discover exactly what our audience is looking for. Our video team works closely with our sophisticated audience development specialists to discern what people want to consume and what really engages them in a digital video environment. The result is that if you type a video topic into Google, more often than not, you’ll see a Meredith brand in the top three places. That marriage of analytics with authoritative and inspirational content has led to a more-than-doubling of traffic over the last year – to about 40m video views per month.
The creators of video are no longer just media owners – it’s the brands and the advertisers too. How is that changing the industry?
I think good storytelling can come from anywhere. Brands have done some incredibly inventive work – Unilever’s Dove Beauty Sketches series; Pepsi’s Uncle Drew series; and Honda’s recent April Fool’s Day ad on the DIY car are just a few. Brands have stories to tell, and audiences are savvy enough to appreciate that. In our Meredith Originals series, we are working on webisodes that have thoughtful, organic integration. The key is transparency – making it apparent to your audience right up front when a video is sponsored content.
What other innovations in the industry excite you right?
I’m really excited about the growth in mobile. Over the last nine months we’ve seen about a 60 per cent increase in mobile video views. I’m also excited by the emergence of video and mobile technology to offer our audience solutions, in addition to entertainment or information. So, for example, we know that a growing number of our audience is watching recipe videos on a mobile device – and up to half of that mobile viewing is happening in a grocery store. So we’ve optimised our mobile site so every recipe can turn into a shopping list where consumers can check off items as they shop. That’s incredibly powerful.
We have also invested in technologies and partnered with third parties to audit our video views – which helps us ensure we deliver high-quality audience to our marketing partners. It’s an important distinction.
Meet Laura at FIPP’s Innovation Forum in London from 26-27 June 2014.
About FIPP’s Innovation Forum
Those attending FIPP’s Innovation Forum will have a front-row seat to a world of innovation, an opportunity to disseminate case studies and engage with and question experts, to network with colleagues from a range of international markets, and among the innovation cases and examples presented by international experts look for ideas and opportunities for their own markets.
The Forum opens with an overview of the most successful innovations in magazine media worldwide in the past year, across eleven categories: smartphones, tablet, print, video, e-commerce, native advertising, programmatic advertising, e-newsletters and mobile-focused publishing, big (smart) data, events and conferences, and social media and video advertising.
Deep-dive sessions into each category follows, with real-life, successful case studies presented by experts from businesses and brands such as Applix, Blippar, Buzzfeed, Elle (Hearst UK), EMAP, Flow (Sanoma), Forbes, Google, Hubert Burda Media, IMC, Meredith, Quartz, Time Out Group, Unruly and Vice, and with more to come. The closing session on day two focuses on building a culture of innovation, which is a pre-requisite for innovation success.
For more information on the Innovation Forum, contact FIPP’s Claire Jones.

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