If video is all the rager, why aren't people using it more?
We’re in the early stages of a visual revolution in journalism The secret cost of pivoting to video BuzzFeed News embraces video, skips the ‘pivot’ How Al Jazeera’s AJ+ Became One of the Biggest Video Publishers on Facebook Ten examples of great digital news video Hacking Journalism spent the weekend reimagining video — here’s what they came up with AJ+ website Now This News website
In the age of technological advancement increasing faster than our abilities to change devices, we are bombarded with information on social platforms. We've all been scrolling through social media and seen a video such as:
And what's one of the first things we do when we see a video? We check the length of it.
Attention spans have steadily decreased alongside the development of technology. As Laura Hazard Owen, deputy editor of the Nieman Lab, suggests, people enjoy video content but not about certain things.
According to the Reuters Institute, online video news driven by technology, publishers and platforms but not consumers. So what is the differentiation between what we (journalists, students, academia, etc) are hearing about video content and the reality of video content?
Well first and foremost, Owen distinguishes between “news video” hosted on publishers’ own sites and video on social networks or centered around “softer news and lifestyle content (or premium drama and sports on demand)” rather than hard news. For example, even Facebook adds an element of confusion to the mix when about 40% of the most successful videos on Facebook are 'lifestyle' content (i.e. fashion, cooking, animals). This can be caused to off-site news video consumption growing as well, meaning that the majority of publisher's videos are now consumed through Facebook and other platforms.
And again, the biggest contributing factor to the success of certain video content can be seen in the measurement of length. The digital news report organization for example, found that the most successful off-site and social videos tend to be short (under one minute), are designed to work with no sound (with subtitles), focus on soft news, and have a strong emotional element. The same report went as far as concluding that although there has been a significant growth in online video, much of this has been in social networks and around softer news and lifestyle content (or premium drama and sports on demand), not news.
However a very interesting comment I've stumbled upon is the idea of not just a video revolution but also a reduction in text embodiment. So while we have increased our video footage within articles online, we have also reduced the text limit within our articles. For example, Cory Haik pointed out that video that is currently soaring across social media is less an evolution of video itself and more of an evolution of the hundreds and thousands of pieces of text-based journalism that are produced and consumed digitally.
But one of the greatest hurdles of video content has had to face on the side of the producers of said content is that video is the most expensive and time-consuming of the multimedia disciplines. To cut a 30-second video can take hours of detailed work—which requires a good eye, good physical reflexes to capture the right moments, enormous patience, and the ability to time images, sound, text, and graphics seamlessly.
So what do organizations such as AJ+ and NewsNow, the top social producers of video content have in common?
Those two very aspects mentioned above. Video content and visuals in general have become crucial to storytelling in the news room, it's just a matter of journalists adapting to the new consumer-framework and offering orginality.