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News UK launches V-Studio to create better mobile ad experiences

June 12, 2017 | By Peggy Anne Salz, Founder and Lead Analyst – Mobile Groove @peggyanne

News UK, whose brands include The Times, The Sunday Times, and The Sun newspapers as well as social video ad platform Unruly, has opened the doors of its new vertical video studio. The new V-Studio, which sits in News UK’s commercial division The Bridge,  is a bid to boost the amount and quality of video on News UK-owned properties and elsewhere on the Web.

Naturally, V-Studio will both create vertical video advertising for its clients to distribute via its owned properties and platforms. However, it will also allow those same clients (for a fee) to distribute the mobile optimized videos across the Web.

The approach has raised concerns the vertical video studio aims to take on  full-service digital agencies. However, while V-Studio certainly has the capabilities to do so, Milton Elias, head of mobile and video at News UK, says the strategy is to create, not compete. It’s all about producing “better video, better inventory and better engagement” to monetize an audience that has become “by default mobile-first,” he explains. Data that shows 91% of readers accessed The Sun newspaper on their mobile device in April, compared with 82% for The Times News UK. What’s more, The Sun also counted 8.7 million video views in the same month.

“Monetizing audiences and delivering a great user experience requires mobile video that has been created for mobile. That means thinking vertically,” Elias says. Easier said than done in a market where many brands somehow believe they can simply squeeze TV ads and assets onto a smaller screen, regardless of the user experience. “Effective mobile advertising needs video that was created for consumption on that device and fit for that purpose,” he adds.

This is where V-Studio comes in “offering clients and brands a canvas they can use to create vertical video assets seamlessly,” he explains. Less than a week after launch, Elias says the studio already boasts a “well-known luxry brand” as its first client, with more in the pipeline.

The top priority is to drive better results through higher engagement. The goal will be to enhance, rather than interrupt,  the user experience. The seven video formats currently produced by the studio sit in the mobile scrolling flow, where users can choose to click on videos, or simply scroll past them.

Another focus of the V-Studio launch is harnessing News UK first party-data and touch points around content users engage with. This will allow marketers order to hone audience targeting and advertising relevancy . “In the beginning we’re selling them [ads] on a direct buy basis and we’re hoping to make that available on a programmatic guaranteed basis,” Elias says.

As he points out, the industry has seen a fundamental shift in how people consume media, particularly via mobile channels. Given that so much of today’s high impact ads are created for consumption on large horizontal screens, News UK wants to lead the charge in optimizing marketing messages for mobile engagement on its sites, and across the web.

Peggy Anne Salz is the Content Marketing Strategist and Chief Analyst of Mobile Groove, a top 50 influential technology site providing custom research to the global mobile industry and consulting to tech startups. Full disclosure: She is a frequent contributor to Forbes on the topic of mobile marketing, engagement and apps. Her work also regularly appears in a range of publications from Venture Beat to Harvard Business Review. Peggy is a top 30 Mobile Marketing influencer and a nine-time author based in Europe. Follow her @peggyanne.


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