After becoming the best-selling and most read newspaper in Croatia, and creating a successful news portal, 24sata launched an ambitious project: to start the first Croatian live news television.
The intention was both to provide excellent news coverage live and to become the “Croatian CNN.”
Our definition of “live news coverage” consists of broadcasting video transmission of an event on the 24sata news portal and official Facebook page, which has more than one million followers and is currently the strongest media Web page in Croatia.
Since starting the Facebook live video approximately two months ago, we have set new media standards on the national scene.
One of our first live broadcasts was an on-site inquest of a terrible traffic accident in the centre of Zagreb. That video reached 567,000 followers, and was seen by more than 350,000 people.
In another live video newscast, we combined the broadcast from massive protests in several of the largest Croatian cities with simultaneous live interviews with some of the leading intellectuals in the country. The entire protest was recorded by a 360-degree camera. This level of coverage was not provided even by the largest national TV stations.
How did 24sata accomplish this, becoming the leading Croatian media innovator in video content from the largest daily newspaper? The project was definitely a learning experience.
We built a large television studio, acquired the best equipment, and employed top television anchormen and editors. In spite of this, we initially failed. Our news television launch coincided with the beginning of a huge economic crisis.
We also faced powerful competition in the form of big television companies that started similar channels. Branches of major TV houses like Al-Jazeera and CNN also entered the market.
Although the situation was challenging, we didn’t give up. We competed with an even richer studio programme, new lifestyle and show business broadcasts; yet still our results didn’t improve.
We realised we needed to completely change the strategy and development of our online video department. This would require that several important conditions be met:
- The portal 24sata.com and connected specialised portals together must have an outreach of more than 1.5 million users on their respective Facebook pages.
- We needed to assemble an innovative and creative team for the video department, one that knew what kind of content the public demands online and on social networks.
- We needed cooperation with readers as citizen-reporters, whom we have always encouraged to send in photographs of events to publish in our newspapers and digital portal. We could implement these in our video content, awarding readers for their video materials.
- We needed to develop new video formats, such as no competing media publisher had before.
We began producing fresh, brief, and entertaining video news clips, two minutes in duration, on a daily basis. At least three times a week we broadcast video specials dedicated to special events or anniversaries.
24sata joined forces with most popular YouTubers in Croatia and launched the YouTube channel JoomBoos, which received 40,000 subscribers. This content is entirely produced by the YouTubers and generates income from Google AdSense and product placement.
Although our video news channel is not yet profitable, it does not require any additional expenses since reporters from our print and online platforms produce the content with our video department.
This experience has taught us that a completely opposite set of rules should be applied to digital and social media video portals than the ones applied by television broadcasters.
Instead of standard television formats produced in traditional studios with professional cameras, our online video reporters use smartphones or tablets to produces short, witty pieces from several seconds to two minutes long. They might record in the street or our editorial hallways, using various ad hoc tools such as cardboards of politicians, caps, hats, banners, and other items.
The 24sata video content is harmonized with the style and content of the entire 24sata brand: concise and important information, provocative political content, stories of ordinary people, and funny or entertaining stories.
We have been able to achieve this goal by erasing borders between these platforms, and through the mutual cooperation of our print, online, and video editors.