New patters of content consumption are emerging from the way teens and young adults access news. It’s not surprising that both smartphones and social media usage play a large role here. According to the James L. Knight Foundation’s new qualitative research, How Youth Navigates the News Landscape, young consumers don’t follow the news as much as it follows them. In fact, young adults often happen upon news content by accident and then share it on social media and messaging apps.
Findings from the Knight analysis include:
Most teens and young adults express little trust in the news media. They often seek out multiple resources to confirm information that is read.
Young people see today’s news as something that is often created outside of traditional journalism channels. In fact, what is defined as news among young consumers includes social media, aggregators, messaging apps, and user-generated content.
Young news consumers express much doubt about the accuracy of the news and assume that some level of bias is unavoidable in much of the information they encounter.
Social media plays a significant role in how news is disseminated in today’s marketplace. Young consumers are exposes to varying degrees of news quality as well as biasness.
Facebook leads as the primary social media news source.
Young consumers think of user-generated content, especially live video accounting of events, to be more truthful than traditional news outlets.
Young adults see most of the news as depressing and sad.
While the research speaks to young consumers’ lack of confidence in news content in general, it also speaks their high levels of trust in specific news brands. Importantly, news outlets should provide clear branding and identification as it aids in informing the younger audience of the information’s accuracy.
In an era when many publications are contracting, The Washington Post is expanding, particularly in the group charged with producing and hosting web videos. To understand why, we spoke with the Post’s Micah Gelman Senior Editor, Director of Editorial Video.
Tell us about the recent expansion in the video department.
We recently posted close to 30 new jobs in the video department to expand our efforts in two basic ways. First, we want to present videos with our news stories when it’s complementary to the story. Second, we’re developing content for over the top delivery, and delivery in UGC and social media sites, to position The Washington Post as a video destination.
Let’s look at the first focus. Where does video fit in for a newspaper?
Video has become a core part of our mission to present readers with a full 360 view of the news; it’s complementary to the written story, not either/or. Some news is inherently visual, so we present video as part of the story. Sometimes video enables a deeper dive into the content, so we present that.
Sometimes, the story is live and we produce that as well. For example, we broadcast the recent presidential election on Facebook Live for eight and a half hours, the inauguration for about nine hours, and the Women’s March for about six hours. Each event drew millions of viewers.
Overall, we want to become a one stop shop that presents our readers with the story produced in all the formats that it should be in.
What percentage of stories do you cover directly as opposed to using footage from other sources? How will this change over the next 12 months or so?
Today, about 40% is original, and 60% is from other sources. However, even when we use third-party video, we put our own editorial package around it, adding reporting, annotations, and other elements that makes it original. Over the next 12 months, we’ll double the size of our video staff and that’s probably going to flip to 65% original content.
Though our base is in DC, we’ve sent video journalists to North Korea, China, to cover multiple terror attacks overseas, as well as covering stories all over the United States. Our readers are global and so is our video coverage. And this will expand greatly over the next few months.
Can you elaborate on your over the top strategy?
The next phase of growth is to position The Washington Post as a destination for video. We want to change the perception of The Washington Post as a legacy newspaper with video, to a video-first enterprise, essentially re-imagining The Washington Post as a video destination, not only on Facebook Live, YouTube and other social media sites, but also over the top via Apple TV, Roku, and Fire TV.
Editorially, what works well in an article page typically isn’t as effective as a standalone video consumed on a living room TV. So, we’re producing longer, more scripted pieces with studio quality production value. We’re adding YouTube-style personalities, and producing video to distribute not only through our own OTT apps, but through other channels as well. Again, it’s video as the destination.
How do you market OTT content?
That’s the key question. We have to use all available megaphones to call attention to what’s new and what’s different and promote our discoverability, to let our readers and viewers know what’s available.
Talk about what you’re doing on social media.
We’re producing 150 to 175 events a month on Facebook Live, YouTube Live and our own website. While it’s easier to monetize video on our own site, Facebook Live and YouTube Live provide scale because we’re attracting an audience that wouldn’t come to our site. So, it’s very valuable to us to be on both sites, and other social media properties.
How does Facebook Live compare to YouTube Live?
Facebook has been very aggressive in their own repositioning to a video destination, which obviously YouTube already was. YouTube viewers are on that site to watch multiple videos, which is obviously good for us, while Facebook viewers are a bit more passive and on the site for a range of content. They’re both really valuable audiences to us in different ways.
Can you briefly describe the tools you use to capture/edit/encode/deliver your streaming videos?
We shoot either using DSLRs, or with Sony FS5 cameras, which are 4K and deliver more broadcast quality. We use LiveU on-camera transcoders/transmitters for sending live feeds from the field, and edit in Adobe Premiere Pro.
Tell us about your staff.
We have about 40 on our video staff, almost all capable of shooting and producing events, with about 32 regularly shooting and producing. Fortunately, we’re far enough along in the evolution of video journalists that many of our staff have experience in other places. Otherwise, we have staff who worked in TV, some who came through photography, and some that were trained as multimedia journalists.
American adults are fooled by fake news headlines approximately 75% of the time. Those likely to turn to Facebook for news are more likely to think fake news headlines are correct than those using other platforms according to a survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for BuzzFeed News. Consumers find it difficult to filter out fake news headlines without the necessary background filled-in, particularly in social media channels. Interestingly, consumers are even likely to believe fake news headlines that don’t necessarily fit with their ideological beliefs.
Almost one-third of respondents recalled at least one of a selection of fake news headlines from the election. In comparison, 57% of respondents recalled at least one of the real news headlines tested in the survey. Interestingly, consumers who identified themselves as Republican are more likely to think fake election news stories are very or somewhat accurate. Eight in 10 Republicans rated fake news headlines as accurate (among those they recognized), compared seven in 10 Democrats.
The fake news headline recalled by the largest number of respondents, 22%, is the story from the website the Denver Guardian, “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide.” The highest awareness for a true news headline was at 34% of respondents for recalling Trump “absolutely” requiring Muslims to register.
One of the highest recalled true news headlines was the CBS News post-election story about Donald Trump stating he will not accept a presidential salary, “Donald Trump on Refusing Presidential Salary: ‘I’m Not Taking It.’” More than half of respondents (57%) recalled seeing this headline. Another news headline with a 90% accuracy rating, among the 157 respondents who recognized it, was the New York Times op-ed “I Ran the CIA. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton.”
Respondents rated the fake news story “FBI Director Comey Just Put a Trump Sign on His Front Lawn,” with the highest overall accuracy rating. Among the 186 people who recalled seeing it, 81% said it was very or somewhat accurate.
News headlines tested:
FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide (Fake, 22% recall)
Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President, Releases Statement (Fake, 19% recall)
Donald Trump Protester Speaks Out: “I Was Paid $3,500 to Protest Trump’s Rally” (Fake, 19% recall)
Donald Trump Sent His Own Plane to Transport 200 Stranded Marines (Fake, 14% recall)
FBI Director Comey Just Put a Trump Sign on His Front Lawn (Fake, 10% recall)
Donald Trump on Refusing Presidential Salary: “I’m Not Taking It” (True, 57% recall)
Donald Trump Says He’d “Absolutely” Require Muslims to Register (True, 34% recall)
Trump: “I Will Protect Our LGBTQ Citizens” (True, 27% recall)
Barbara Bush: “I Don’t Know How Women Can Vote” for Trump (True, 25% recall)
I Ran the CIA. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton (True, 11% recall)
Consumers frequently see fake news in their social media feeds according to another survey on fake news conducted by Morning Consult, a media and technology. They found that amost one-third of respondents (31%) reported seeing a fake news story online more than once a day. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they started to read a story online only to realize it was fake.
In terms of social platform usage, participants of the Ipsos survey cited Facebook as the most popular with just less than half (47%) visiting Facebook multiple times per day and another 15% report visiting once a day. YouTube was the second most popular social platform. Twenty percent stated they visit YouTube multiple times per day and 11% visit once a day. The fact that fake news headlines are often remembered and said to be accurate by a strong number of consumers points to the fact that consumers have a difficult time discerning between fact and fictional news on social media.
The advance of mobile and connected devices has caused a sea change in the way news is consumed and delivered. But knowing that people are spending a significant amount of time on mobile news sites and apps is not the input organizations need to architect an effective digital strategy. They also require more visibility into news consumption patterns across devices and demographic data that will help them to better understand and engage with an audience eager to access news and determined to explore new pathways.
This is where a new two-part series of insights based on custom research conducted with Nielsen and commissioned by Knight Foundation entitled Mobile-first news: How people use smartphones to access information sheds important light on how this audience of “news-seekers” is seeking, finding and interacting with news content across a variety of platforms and — more importantly — social media networks.
The good news is the audience of news-seekers across mobile sites and apps is “immense” and shows no signs of slowing. In fact, the research tells us that the vast majority (89%) of the U.S. mobile population (or 144 million users) now access news and information via their mobile devices. The not-so-good news is that the audience of news-seekers accessing and reading news on more traditional mobile sites and apps is decline compared with the numbers flocking to social networking platforms. (The Nielsen study reveals that the audience for news aggregator app Flipborad is the only one showing a steady increase — while audiences for all other top news apps are moving sideways.)
The social shift The shift to social is seismic. Overall, 27% of mobile time (more than 12 hours per month) is spent on social networking sites. Facebook leads the pack with over 70% of its members using Facebook for their news fix every day. But it’s not the network for everyone. Consumption patterns differ depending on the social networking platform — with LinkedIn standing out as a favorite for news-seekers looking for tech and financial and business news and Instagram dominating as the destination for life-style news and trends.
However, news-seekers aren’t just spending time accessing content via social networks; they are also taking “offline actions related to the content.” Whether they simply “like” the content on Facebook or Twitter, or start a discussion in a forum or in the real-world, it’s clear that audience group wants to actively engage with content, not passively consume it.
The pathways to news content are also evolving. Facebook and social networks may be where much of the action (and activity) is, but search and email are also “launching pads for news-seeking activity in both apps and mobile sites.” The challenge for publishers, the research says, is “to be nimble in not just one channel but several.”
It’s also important to know which destinations are driving traffic and encouraging audiences to explore news content. The research places Wikipedia top of the list of websites visited by news-seekers prior to “exploring sites as varied as BuzzFeed, Daily MailOnline, nytimes.com, usatoday.com, washingtonpost.com and those of the Tribune newspapers.” Wikipedia has become a top reference site because current news and events are often embedded within Wikipedia entries, providing news-seekers the opportunity to learn more about a topic after reading a news article.
Demographic impact But again, the top reference sites differ depending on demographics. News-seekers coming to news content from social sites and chat apps tend to be younger and more ethnically diverse, while referrals from mobile apps such as ESPN and Yahoo.com tend to bring in the 35+ crowd. Overall, news-seekers ages 18-24 are “3 and 4x more likely than typical online adults to go to news content from Instagram, Pinterst and Snapchat.”
Different ethnic groups also have different preferences. African-Americans are “2.5x more likely than typical online adults to go to news content from Twitter” while Hispanics lead mobile news-seeking in all categories and arrive at much of their news content through sources including BuzzFeed and Facebook.
Whether news-seekers come to the content they want via apps or aggregators, audiences share what the research calls a “a desire for news that is personalized to their interests.”
Read between the lines, and news consumption has grown rapidly — but so has the number of pathways to news content. While television remains the top source for all audiences, social media networks are also gaining traction as a trusted and even preferred source for news content and activity. Publishers are well advised to stop debating whether they should adopt a mobile or app strategy and focus on strategies that will allow them to distribute content in a way that reaches news-seekers on the devices they prefer and — more importantly — via the social networks they love.
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. 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.
Since its earliest days, the news has always been about stringing together sentences and paragraphs to tell stories for readers. Even in the Internet age when people lament over increasinglyshortattentionspans and stories are being told ever more succinctly, the general approach has held — that is until, the idea of delivering news as text messages came along.
How is it possible, those of you who grew up pre-Internet might wonder, to deliver the news in a sentence or two? How concise can one get before rendering the exercise meaningless? The fact is that with some creativity, it is possible and even fun to receive the news in this fashion. The key is linking back to longer articles to give you depth if you want it. Otherwise you can just dip in and have a look whenever you have a moment (or within the flow of other conversations inside the chat application).
The fact is that venerable news organizations that are steeped in that pre-Internet past like the New York Times, Washington Post and The Economist are all experimenting with delivering news to a new generation of readers using chat apps, opening up new audiences in fresh markets who might have otherwise chosen to ignore their news brand altogether.
How chat became a channel The idea of delivering news in a chat app is a matter of following the audience. This is particularly true in Asia where people are using chat apps for far more than chatting, says Eytan Oren, CEO of BlockParty, a messaging app consultancy and co-author of a comprehensive GuidetoChatApps report published by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia Journalism School.
“There are now more people using messaging apps than traditional social networks, so to a large extent it’s a matter of going where the audiences go. Chat app users are also a natural place for users to share and discuss news with friends and family, so publishers have the opportunity to facilitate and enhance those conversations,” Oren explained.
That’s precisely why TheEconomist went after this market, in spite of being well known for writing smart stories about world events, says community editor, Denise Law. “We concluded that chat apps are yet another effective distribution network through which to build our reach, particularly among new communities who may have never heard of The Economist,” she explained.
It’s also a way to diversify your audience and not become too dependent on a single social channel, particularly Facebook or Google.
“If you’re getting more than half of your traffic from one social networking site, you’re vulnerable to unexpected changes in that platform’s algorithm that can greatly impact your business. Chat apps are also a great place to connect with teens and millennials that may not spend as much time on traditional social networks,” Oren explained.
Build or buy Once publications decide to deliver news in a chat app, the next issue is whether you plug into an existing one and the audience that comes with it, or you build your own and control the message, branding and audience. The Economist decided to use the chat app LINE, rather than build its own because it’s expensive to build and maintain an app like this. It also offered the ability to build a branded page.
“LINE allows publishers to host content on a homepage, something that you can’t do on WhatsApp or Messenger. Users can visit your homepage, subscribe to your news alerts and receive both content posted to a timeline or via a push alert. We liked that you can publish content using two different distribution channels,” Law said.
Quartz, an Atlantic Monthly Media publication, born online decided to build its own and experiment within their own product, according to Zack Seward, VP of product and executive editor at Quartz. “We started by pursuing the idea that we could create notifications and built an app to do that. Then the question was, what goes inside the app? We tried a bunch of different ideas but eventually came back around to the simple idea that it’s all just messages,” Seward explained.
A work in progress While chat apps provide a way for publications to diversify across multiple channels, it still lacks some basic analytics and audience measurement tools you get with Google, Facebook and Twitter. There are also many chat apps and it’s hard to know where to put your resources and attention. Even though The Economist is using LINE now, it’s exploring other options and plans to support additional apps in the near future.
For now, chat may seem like an unlikely news channel, but it offers a great way to reach people you might have otherwise missed. Just keep in mind it’s still in the experimental stage and plan accordingly.
Ron Miller (@ron_miller ) is a Freelance Technology Journalist and blogger. He is enterprise reporter at TechCrunch and a Contributing Editor at EContent Magazine.
A fortuitous result of the ever-proliferating sources for news has been that Americans are consuming more of it than they have in a long time. And the majority of Americans—nine out of ten—follow news about their local area very closely or somewhat closely. However, the proportion of Americans who get news from traditional media platforms—television, radio and print—has been stable or declining in the last few years (though for local news, television still holds its own).
Along with a glut of “news” content we’re also seeing content consumption habits evolve: more and more people consume news on mobile—which is not simply a result of the popularity of mobile devices, but reflective of consumers’ anytime, on-demand expectations. This proliferation of news sources and changing consumption patterns has created issues for content companies and consumers alike. Certainly, it increases competition. But it also causes quality issues, as it can be difficult to find trusted and reliable information, particularly for an audience unlikely to sit down to watch the evening news every night at six.
However, broadcast media veterans are not standing idly by. NewsON—launched by ABC Owned Television Station Group, Cox Media Group, Hearst Television, Media General, Hubbard Broadcasting Inc., and Raycom Media (with Sinclair Broadcast Group joining as a partner)—was founded to provide local news to mobile consumers nationwide. As CEO Louis Gump put it, “In an age where fragmentation is common, we believe creating something that makes it easy for viewers to find trusted news brings great consumer benefit.”
The NewsON app provides access to live and on-demand local newscasts and local news clips. The free, ad-supported app features flexible navigation that encourages discovery, offering instant access to broadcast-quality video. It also enables people to search by market via an interactive map and for curated content that links coverage of breaking news events from multiple stations. NewsON is available for Apple iPhone and iPad, Android phone and tablet, and on the Roku platform.
While many of the broadcasters with whom NewsON works have individual apps and make much of their content available digitally, Gump points out that the app has the advantage of offering information from multiple sources within a given local market, which allows consumers to dig in on topics of interest. It also allows people anywhere to find locally-produced video on a given topic, which is likely to offer insights and depth not available from national sources. As examples, Gump sites the New Hampshire Presidential primary and weather events such as the January 2016 blizzard that affected several east coast states, with distinct coverage being offered in local markets.
For the broadcasters that work with NewsON—120 stations in 92 markets, covering 76% of the U.S. population—Gump says NewsON delivers expanded audience reach across all demographics. While Gump would not comment on specific financial terms, he says “the economics at NewsON are weighted heavily in favor of the stations.”
A third benefit, which Gump describes as “kind of extra credit,” is shared learning. “Any TV station group that doesn’t have a strong digital offering and isn’t investing in innovation probably has some big problems,” he said, also pointing out that NewsON provides additional opportunities for experimentation and shared learning among participants. He’s seen confirmation that there’s an increasing desire to time-shift news viewing, but also sees behaviors that debunk the popular notion that people only want to watch short-form video.
NewsON, says Gump, was founded on three main principles: “Do the right thing; serve our customers; and move forward.” As he points out, people are looking for content that meets their needs, on their terms and it is essential to focus on those needs and expectations—with a consistent future-focus. And to that end, he says we can expect to see more partnerships this year, with the goal of increasing local content offerings in existing markets and adding new markets to the mix, as well as significant product updates and evolved advertising capabilities.
The International News Media Association (INMA) has released a report highlighting 17 media companies implementing innovation processes to transform their corporate cultures for better outcomes in the Digital Age. Inspired by the road map created at Stanford University’s d.school, How Media Companies Embrace the Process of Innovation aims to surface the best examples of outcome-based design thinking.
The INMA report looks at media company innovation in three ways, providing multiple case studies and specific insights in each area:
1. Innovation as a seedling for ideas. Case Study Subjects/Key Takeaway include:
• The Dallas Morning News/Organic Growth Strategy Leads to Launch of 6 Revenue-Generating Initiatives
• The Economist/Editorial-led Development Team Changes Innovation Internally
• Gannett/Innovation Grants Give Employees: Space for New Product Incubation
• La Presse/Lab Days Allow Digital Team to Innovate for a Day
2. Connecting your brand to innovation. Case Study Subjects/Key Takeaway include:
• Chicago Tribune/ Blue Sky Innovation Programme Engages Local Thought Leaders
• The Irish Times/Start-Up Incubator Fusion Responds to Advertiser Needs
• Sanoma Oyj/ Innovation Begins With an Entrepreneurial Spirit in the SanomaLab
3. Innovation as a cultural accelerator. Case Study Subjects/Key Takeaway include:
• El Colombiano/ ECOlab Innovation Laboratory Reinvents Company from Web Site to Company Culture
• Die Welt/ From “Print-Only” to “Digital-to-Print”
• Expressen/ Social Media Desk Creates Viral Journalism for a Younger Audience
• Fairfax Media/ “Evolving Our Workplace” Brings Innovation to the Workplace Structure
• Independent News & Media/ Legacy Company Comes “Home,” Achieves 4 Transformation Goals
• MittMedia/ FutureWorks Initiative Accelerates Innovation Through Shared Leadership
• Storyful/ Social News Agency Builds on the Tools News Corp’s Buyout Offers
• The Times of India/ Times of Innovation Programme Seeks, Values Disruption
The rise of mobile among digital news audiences has been swift and relentless, and in just the past half year has gone from being neck-and-neck with desktop audiences to nearly 50% greater. How has mobile been able to surge ahead so quickly, and what are the implications for digital media economics as audiences shift?
To better understand the audience dynamics in today’s digital news environment, I conducted an analysis of leading digital news properties along with Andrew Lipsman, comScore VP of Marketing & Insights. We pulled together a selection of 25 leading news publishers, which ran the gamut from traditional print publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post to digital-first news entities like Buzzfeed and Vox, and computed their average audience and engagement metrics across desktop and mobile, app and mobile web.
As the above graph shows, the average number of desktop unique visitors to news sites was moving more or less in tandem with the average number of mobile unique visitors until late 2014. At that point there began to be a noticeable divergence in the two curves. As mobile unique visitors continued to quickly rise, desktop unique visitors softened. These opposing trends have continued on through June, indicating that more and more people are choosing to get the news on smartphones and tablets rather than on desktop.
Is Mobile Now Cannibalizing Desktop in the News Category? The question arises whether it’s fair to suggest that mobile may finally be cannibalizing desktop. But first, some good news: on balance, news audiences are growing overall because the huge gains in mobile audience are substantially outweighing any softening on desktop. So in theory, this should be a boon to the digital news business because bigger audiences should translate into more ad or subscription dollars.
But the economics are not that simple. If mobile ad CPMs are, on average, lower than desktop ad CPMs the potential for cannibalization is real.
What is actually happening in terms of content audiences and engagement? The metrics below suggest that cannibalization might indeed be happening. When we looked at the six-month period beginning December 2014, which marked the start of the trend divergence, desktop news experienced a 13% drop in average audience while mobile news jumped 14% during that span. We also observed a 5% drop in desktop news engagement while mobile engagement jumped 21%.
Mobile is picking up the slack for desktop, and then some. And while desktop is in no real risk of cratering, it’s clear that audience growth today is coming from mobile and that digital news organizations should be pointing their strategy in the direction of that opportunity. This begs another important question as to what is the best path for mobile growth: apps or mobile web?
Apps vs. Mobile Web: Which Matters More to News Publishers?When a news consumer reads a New York Times article on their phone, are they more likely to do so via the newspaper’s app or on the mobile web, and which access method drives more overall consumption of content? The answer is while the mobile web is a much more important driver of audience, apps have a disproportionately high impact on engagement.
The graph above shows that an overwhelming majority – 93% – of these news publishers’ mobile audiences come from the mobile web rather than from an app. This is likely because many people get their news fix by way of social referral, particularly on Facebook and Twitter. This has the positive benefit of expanding news brands out to new audiences, but many of these “drive-by” visitors are more promiscuous with their news consumption. Loyalty is generally not their forte.
On the other hand, while apps comprise an average of just 6% of the 25 news properties’ mobile audiences, they account for nearly half (45%) of the time that audience spends with those properties. So although news apps may not be the most popular access method, their audience is clearly engaged in a way that the mobile web audience is not.
Someone who absently scrolls through their newsfeed on their phone and opens an interesting story only to close it moments later, might also open the New York Times app and spend a considerable amount of time cycling through each section. How they arrive at that content matters, and how they feel about that brand before engaging with the content determines how much time they’re likely to spend with it. “The mobile browser on a smartphone is a point of convenience,” Dow Jones’ chief innovation officer said recently. The app, on the other hand, “is the place where you discover engagement.”
But – and this is a big but – it’s not enough for a publisher to simply get their app on someone’s phone. The app must also occupy that hallowed real estate – often the homescreen – where users are more likely to engage with it. This is easier said than done. However, there are many clever strategies out there that publishers have yet to employ or even yet to discover.
Jacob L. Nelson (@JNelz) is a doctoral student in Northwestern University’s Media, Technology, and Society program and spent the summer working as an intern at comScore. A former journalist, his research looks at news consumption and media metrics.
From as early as 1953, when millions of people around the world watched the live coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey in London, the need to watch an event as it unfolds has been there.
These days, live video is on the rise with news consumers increasingly expecting to see events as they actually happen. They are still looking for breaking and key news events but now they also want to see political, cultural and religious events, red carpet coverage, product launches, technology shows, sports news and more. However the television platform is far from the only place people are consuming video. Today’s digital publishers are responding to increased demand, integrating video into their websites and thereby bringing richer storytelling to their audiences.
Never before, though, has there been such experimentation in live video content. Improvements in streaming technologies and increased Internet speeds have made it easier than ever to stream live content across digital platforms, and digital publishers, approaching live video from a fresh perspective, have been quick to adapt.
It was in 2013 when digital publishers really saw the power of live video. Ahead of the birth of Prince George, AP streamed a shot of the hospital’s front door to many of the UK’s online newspaper sites. The results: a stark increase in site visitors and engagement levels that was more akin to traditional linear TV viewing times than the usual brisk online viewing. Viewers gathered online to watch and wait, be there the moment the birth was announced, and to chat with one another during this exciting event.
It’s a formula that’s proven successful time and again, with events that take days or even weeks proving incredibly popular. From full coverage of the Oscar Pistorius trial, to 24/7 coverage of the Hong Kong protests, these breaking news events have proven live video’s capabilities to attract and engage an audience on an ongoing basis.
These are the kind of events where audiences can lean forward and get real insight into the story, or lean back and keep an eye on events while continuing with their day-to-day tasks. It’s a concept we call “slow news”.
In addition, streaming planned live events – like awards shows or technology events – gives publishers the opportunity to promote ahead of time on their site and across social media to attract an audience. It also gives important time to sell advertising or sponsorship around an event.
The experimentation continues as sites try to determine what works and what doesn’t—and the fact is that there is no one size fits all for live content. Digital publishers need to see what resonates with their audience while also staying true to their brand voice. In a social media world where Facebook and other platforms are becoming increasingly important to the overall news experience, staying true to the brand regardless of the medium used to tell the story has never been more important.
The needs of broadcasters are also changing when it comes to live video, along with the audiences they serve. Not only do they now have more television channels to fill, but many of them also have a digital offering. They are reaching consumers across several platforms and audiences want a different experience on each one. As a result, live video is playing a significant role in broadcasters’ strategies and they need to remain focused and flexible in order to retain and attract audiences across all platforms.
As technology continues to evolve and consumers consider watching live news unfold with video, rather than just text and images, understanding how to develop a story with live video will become more important than ever. At AP we’re offering around 400 live events a month and we’re continuing to invest in technology and newsgathering that will ensure we keep up with the continued growth in the importance of live video news.
As technology continues to evolve and consumers consider watching live news unfold with video, rather than just text and images, understanding how to develop a story with live video will become more important than ever.
Paul Shanley (@psshanley) is director of international business development and partnerships at AP (@AP). He joined the company in 2011, as part of the team leading the business strategy for the development of AP Video Hub which launched in 2012. Since then he has gone on to drive the global strategy for the platform as well as a number of other international products, focusing on revenue growth and customer engagement.
New research from the American Press Institute supports Twitter’s role as a real-time news network for social media users. Approximately nine in 10 users (86%) report using Twitter for the news with nearly three-quarters (74%) using it daily for this purpose.
Interestingly, nine in 10 Twitter news users get their news by either scrolling through their timeline or looking through tweets they follow. Close to three-quarters of Twitter news users (73%) follow individual journalists, writers and commentators and 30% report getting their news from trending topics.
News publishers incorporating Twitter into their game plan will find it valuable. API recommends that journalists are active on Twitter and focus on the present with live events and breaking news. Offer new angles to storylines and know that sports and politics work well on Twitter. Use hashtags only when related to breaking news since most hashtags draw small followings and ensure your tweets are mobile friendly. Eight in 10 Twitter users are accessing via their smartphone with almost three-quarters (72%) using its mobile app.
Overall Twitter users tend to be younger (median age 36) than the average social media user (median age 46). Almost half of Twitter users are single (49%) and 22% are likely to be married. More than half of Twitter users (57%) have a college degree or higher.