Shifting the editorial mindset to unlock revenues through video

There is a universal understanding that all reporters must report events as quickly as possible with credibility.

In the sports world, this means monitoring the games, tournaments, and off-court developments (and antics) of leagues, teams, and players and sharing this news with their readership. It typically involves researching and writing a compelling story and then scrambling to locate related imagery and video content to support and enhance this new editorial.

A recent article in AdWeek highlights the growth of a player like Bleacher Report and its ability to capture these moments:

“Journalism has been forced to keep up with sites like Bleacher Report,” says Jason Sullivan, executive vice president and managing director at Publicis Seattle. “It has the urgency of Twitter, the ability to use localisation to follow your favourite team, and a constantly improving level of quality and legitimacy to keep fans tuned in during the sports world's biggest moments.”

However, in the new age of digital news publishing and in the face of competitors like Bleacher Report or SB Nation, we see two major factors that are driving many sports reporters and editorial desks to at least partially rethink this process.

1. Growth in digital advertising: Digital ad spending is growing. In fact, it will nearly double to US$12.8 billion in the United States alone by 2018, with approximately half of this spend directed toward mobile viewership.

Following in the footsteps of industry leaders like USA Today, digital news teams need to develop the ability to produce an enormous amount of online content on a daily basis to capitalise on the shift in ad spend.

In addition, and perhaps more importantly, viewers are expecting near real-time publishing. The traditional reporting model doesn’t allow for this kind of scalability.

2. The availability of video content: News media companies need to fully capitalise on the growth of quality, timely video content that is now being generated by leagues and teams directly, as well as custom content that is being made available to them through digital content syndicators. They need to use as much video as possible on their site(s) to engage the reader longer and generally help tell their stories.

By using outside vendors to look after the video and related ad revenue, news media companies can leverage their valuable readership and become competitive in digital publishing.

In addition, it’s not just about the game highlight, but what surrounds the game and the team. News media companies can leverage syndicators to provide a more comprehensive video offering.

As an example, The Houston Chronicle recently published a video with the following headline “Video: Why the Texans should trade J.J. Watt.” The post drove 10 times the normal views of a game highlight.

Media companies need to tap into the video content pipelines at their disposal and develop or utilise a process for categorising, grading, and flowing this content quickly to their readership and supporting the videos with custom editorial (versus the other way around).

Why? Keeping readers engaged is not just about quality any more. Quantity, speed, and the content’s relationship to trending topics all play major roles in keeping readers engaged, viewing videos, and driving ad revenues.

To summarise, it is important to balance the editorial process with the new reality and pace of digital news publishing. To keep your readership on your news site longer, explore the outstanding opportunity presented by your video content syndicator to expand your daily production of sports video content.

It’s not about quality over quantity; these days there needs to be both quality and quantity to realise the full revenue potential of your readership.

About Philippe Guay

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