(Editor’s Note: This is the last in a three-part series on local online news video, summarizing the findings of a thesis study that examined the Minnesota media market and their use of online video. Part one looked at content and part two examined design and usability. Love to hear feedback in the comments below.)
It is clear that the economy has damaged efforts to expand and improve online video. Many local news sites have had to cut staff, and they are working to produce content in survival mode. However, video advertising is expected to have the largest growth out of any sectors in online advertising. In December, eMarketer released predictions for video ad spending, saying that it would rise by 45 percent in 2009 to reach $850 million. Though ad spending has slowed a bit, video advertising remains strong. The opportunities are tremendous. However, half of the local news sites have yet to implement or even sell a video advertisement.
(Editor’s Note: This is the second in a three-part series on local online news video, summarizing the findings of a thesis study that examined the Minnesota media market and their use of online video. The second focuses on design and usability. Tomorrow’s part three will explore advertising. Love to hear feedback in the comments below.)
In addition to yesterday’s look at what’s working and what’s not in online video content, local news sites have a long way to go in reaching usability standards for video players, including location, presentation, buttons, hosting and more. Many news sites simply don’t have the resources for a redesign, especially at smaller organizations.
Corey Anderson, Web editor at the online-only Minnpost, said as a result of time and budget constraints, Minnpost.com has not been able to organize and showcase its video on the website. Clonts from the Pioneer Press had a similar sentiment, saying that the current focus is to develop a strategy in content and then build a strategically-designed multimedia page.
(Editor’s Note: This is the first in a three-part series on local online news video. The first focuses on content. Tomorrow’s part two will explore design and usability and part three will take a look at advertising.)
Though local news sites have expanded their production of content and made great strides in technological advances on their video platforms, they haven’t exactly reached the next threshold or industry standard in online video. In many cases, this “standard” is being set by media giants like CNN and user-generated social media sites like YouTube. In fact, a recent study shows that watching online video is more popular than Facebook or Twitter. The trend is continuing in that direction and the time spent watching online video has increased as well. And with YouTube now getting into the local news business with its News Near You feature that will grab news clips from sources that are 100 miles from your computer’s IP address, local news organizations should worry.
Many of the local news sites are still experimenting and beginning to define the type of video content they would like to produce. Below are lessons learned from a thesis study that examined how 10 local news sites in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA market used online video. The conclusions made here, are also gathered through interviews of editors at the respective organizations (Note: Several did not want or could not appear for publication as a result of organizational policies). The full study can be found here (beware it is about 60 pages in length). Below are the sites studied. However, I will also note that the study did not include TheUpTake, which actually provided a lot of online video content for many of the sites below and has had led some great innovations in online video.