Austrian Publisher Finds Secret to Video Revenue

In today’s newsletter, we look to Austria. Pivot to video became a much-maligned strategy, especially for digital pure plays that were focused on video as a way to grow organically on Facebook with the idea that they could somehow, some way monetise that audience. Nope. But now, Die Presse in Austria has found some new tricks that are at least driving revenue for their video efforts, Digiday reports. (I’m wary of saying something is profitable just because it earns money.) And that revenue came after six years of losses. Two of the tactics for the turnaround:

  • Autoplay but muted sound
  • They now add video to their own stories as well as licence it elsewhere using video platform Video Intelligence. That increased pre-roll impressions from 300,000 to 31 m.

In the rest of the newsletter, we have:

How Charleston paper grew subs by 250%. The best mobile journalism apps of 2019. The New York Times will sell ads based on the emotional response to an article. Facebook changes the News Feed in attempt to stop disinformation. What revenue streams work?

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Seesmix highlights my Seesmic US elections experiment

Seesmix, which gives a snapshot of 24-hours on the video conversation site Seesmic, highlighted my experiment of talking about the US elections.

As you can see, the feedback has been really positive from the Seesmic community, and I’m going to continue doing it. I’ve heard from voters in Iowa, Maine, Masschusetts, New York and Virginia. The time difference has been a bit of an issue with me going to bed just as the Seesmic users in the US warm up for the night, but the conversation still has been very interesting. There is definitely something very interesting going on here, and I’ll be curious to see what happens as Seesmic develops and grows. But one thing that I am sure, this form of video conversation creates a slightly different feeling than video sharing services like YouTube, Daily Motion or Metacafe. Well, I’ll let Deek Deekster describe it.

Technorati Tags: US elections

X|Media|Lab Melbourne: Dale Herigstad and new television

There was no WiFi in the hall at X|Media|Lab so I’m going to tidy up these posts and publish them over the next few days. The day started with Dale Herigstad with Schematic.

Dale Herigstad, the Chief Creative Officer with Schematic, has done with work with the BBC and iTV, and he wanted to talk about the ‘new television’.

Rich digital content on any screen, any where.

He talks about distance in terms of different types of video experiences, from the 3-10 foot traditional experience to the 2-foot experience on computers, iPhones or personal video players. He also talked about the 200 foot experience on large screens – either movie screens or large public spaces.

He moved through different types of paradigms from print, photography, television and film and now interactive media. Schematic works with EA Sports in Vancouver. He talked about pre-game space – the things that happen before the game actually loads. They are bringing in live feeds from ESPN ticker and video streams on an internet connected XBox 360. Broadband content is always in the game space. On the left hand of the basketball game is the interface for the game itself, but on the right hand is broadband-delivered, real-time ESPN sports content. The line between the game and traditional video content is blurred.

Dale talked about ‘new time’, about navigating not only by channel but also the line between now and next, between programming that is on air at the moment and ‘catch up watching’. Further back there is the archive, and further in the future, there is the promotional material.

He showed the blending of programmed content on discs – whether that is games or HD-DVDs – with dynamic IP content coming in over a broadband connection. He showed off the Miami Vice HD-DVD, which featured a live interface to Google Earth embedded in the player so that you could track the characters as they moved through the real world of Miami. But he emphasised that this was not simply embedding a web browser or web application into the DVD or cable TV experience. This was elegantly placing live, real-time information objects in the interface.

The content can also be advertorial content, and he showed off Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. You could ‘click’ on the phone that he was using in the film and see ordering information. At the end of the film, you could see your shopping cart or bookmarks in the film.

Schematic also did work with Microsoft Surfaces and a connected XBox 360 to navigate programming. The programmes all had additional information such as who had been ‘fired’ from the Apprentice. He showed off some prototypes for ABCs on demand player. They not only had the programmes, but they also had interactive ads embedded in streams, understanding that people using on-demand video also would expect interactive ads.

In closing, Dale said: New time. New space and new opportunities.

Postscript: Dale works with Ball State University on design for new television interfaces. He says that he also has a lot of ideas about news projects and presentation. I’m going to try to catch up with him over coffee and brainstorm.

Technorati Tags: Australia, media 2.0, Melbourne, XMediaLab

Scary monsters: Does social software have fangs?

Last week I gave a tech talk at Google about social software within business, the difficulties we face when introducing it to people, and tactics for fostering adoption. I spoke for about 25 minutes, and then we had a lively Q&A for half an hour. I will admit that I was quite nervous about it – I mean, there are lots of very smart people at Google, and I wasn’t sure if what I was saying was just teaching grannie to suck eggs. I think about 20 – 30 people turned up, and most of them seemed to enjoy it, so I can only hope it was interesting and useful for them.

Google videoed it and had it up online in no time at all, so here it is:

If you don’t want to watch it all, then Steph Booth took written notes to go with it.

Thanks very much to Kevin Marks for organising it for me.

Rethinking video, rethinking journalism, rethinking priorites

I love blogs for the distributed conversation that they engender, and one of the discussions over the last few weeks has been about online video and how it is fundamentally different from television. There has long been a post in the back of my head that newspapers should focus on creating video and not recreating television.

Paul Bradshaw beat me to this post in calling for newspapers to stop trying to make television – it’s video. He makes some excellent points on how the grammar of TV does not translate directly to the web. For instance, on the web, why have an anchor pass to a video reporter?

My view is that TV shovelware not only translates poorly online, but adopting television production methods cedes the competitive economic advantage that newspapers now have over television. The argument for a 24-hour live broadcast television news operation is economically and journalistically dubious. Rocketboom’s daily downloads equal or outstrip the viewership for many cable news channel programmes. But I wonder how much more is spent per cable news programme versus Rocketboom’s production costs? OK, that analogy isn’t completely fair, but on-demand video divorced from television’s high overhead will begin to pressure rolling news channels. That is where the opportunity exists for newspapers and other non-traditional sources of video, not in jumping from one threatened business model to another.

Paul Mason, business reporter for the BBC’s Newsnight, actually read out an obituary for rolling news. Paul wrote:

In addition, the limitations of rolling news as a news medium are beginning to block its ability to set the pace in terms of design. When it first started, the bosses consoled themselves for the low viewing figures with the promise that, once viewers saw what they were missing – all those dramatic sound stings, breaking news straps, crawling text, blinking arrows and massive sets – they would be drawn to this visual feast. Today the feast is to be found online – and it is not just visual. It is the immersive experience of interaction in real time with real people that compels users to stay online for hours – whether on eBay or World of Warcraft.

Note, both Paul and I make a distinction between 24-hour live broadcast television and 24-hour newsgathering. I found Paul’s arguments really compelling, not least because he knows the business, but also because he was saying that the workflow and grammar developed for 24-hour rolling news operations didn’t necessarily provide compelling material for 24-hour on-demand news operations.

Adrian Monck has a great post based on a piece he wrote for the BBC College of Journalism. Check out the bullet points, Monck’s Maxims. I really took note of this line:

So, a quick review of video online tells you newspaper guys are still in charge of newspapers, and TV and radio people at the BBC control the commissioning strings for the content that ends up online.

Ah, the commissioning budget and old lines of editorial control. The bottom line is that as economic priorities shift to online, commissioning priorities for original journalism also have to shift in that direction. That’s a long term process. In the near term, media companies have to radically revamp their development process, but that is another blog post. Suffice to say, new media development cycles have to become incremental, iterative and measured in months, not in years.

But in this video discussion, it was great to see my former colleague Alf Hermida’s (new, at least new to me) blog post push this discussion a little further and call for some thinking outside the TV news box.

What I find surprising is that the industry is still having this discussion. It reflects how people in broadcasting and print have failed to realise that the internet is a new medium. It shows the deep lack of understanding of digital journalism and its potential.

Rethinking how we do video online is a start. But we need to rethink journalism for an interactive and participatory age.

Andy Dickinson thought that Alf was calling for a focus on journalism and not the medium. Andy, I might be respectfully disagreeing, but I took away from Alf’s post that the industry needed to rethink journalism in light of interactivity and participation. I might just be misreading Andy’s post because it looks like something I’ve heard over the years that journalism is journalism no matter the medium, which I have always disagreed with.

Regardless, I think Alf is spot on in calling for a rethink of journalism that considers the opportunities of digital journalism and multimedia storytelling. These days, I focus on the interactive and participatory possibilities. That still escapes most broadcasters and publishers. They don’t really understand the social dynamics and psychology of social media because in most part they don’t understand how media can be social.

I think at the end, the opportunity for video exists, not in replicating television, but in:

  • Taking advantage of the disruptive economic potential in pro-sumer video production, not in trying to replicate TV production methods.
  • Developing a workflow that supports on-demand video not rolling television news.
  • Developing an editorial voice and grammar that works in an online, on-demand world, not one that apes CNN and other rolling news channels.

Technorati Tags: media 2.0

Monaco Media Forum: Peer-to-peer grows up

It looks like the industry is finally getting over its fear of peer-to-peer. Programmers and network operators understand the elegance of peer-to-peer. There was always a business paradox with centralised digital content distribution. The more successful you are, the higher your bandwidth bills are. But with peer-to-peer, every consumer becomes a distributor.

It was really interesting to see peer-to-peer companies trying new business models. Companies like Kontiki are setting up a legal peer-to-peer business, and Warner Brothers is launching a P2P service in Europe.

In Monaco, I met one of the developers behind Azureus. I’ve used their free BitTorrent Client. Azureus has now developed another service that uses its own seed servers in a legal BitTorrent distribution network. This allows companies to distribute high-quality video, huge files, without insanely high bandwidth costs. That’s the beauty of peer-to-peer. Seed servers help distribute the files. The distribution happens on the public internet, the files are stored not on central servers but on the customers personal computers. From the demo, it looked like BBC America is one of their clients.

AllPeers embeds peer-to-peer technology in the browser and allows people to distribute content directly to a group of friends. It is also using a system of micro-payments to allow musicians, movie makers and other artists to distribute their content, easily and cheaply. AllPeers makes a commission on the micropayments.

But I’m just having a brainstorm here. I have to look into how this works, but I’m wondering if I could use something like AllPeers to send video back to base when I’m in the field? They say that communications is encrypted with standard SSL, but I wonder how secure the file transmission is? I probably will have to do a little more research before I try to run this by our IT people.

technorati tags:BitTorrent, P2P, Azureus, AllPeers, video, Monaco Media Forum

Monaco Media Forum: Creating video online

There is a theme running through the first session this morning: There are a lot of companies gunning for GooTube. Douglas Warshaw showed off Motionbox which definitely builds on YouTube. Just yesterday as I was uploading video to YouTube, I was wishing that they had some simple editing tools. All I wanted to do was to ‘top and tail’ the video, cut off the bit where I told the person I was interviewing that we were recording. Motionbox allows that.

The web is truly becoming a platform, and these new video services definitely show that. Motionbox generates a series of thumbnails that make scanning and editing video easier.

Douglas was pitching Motionbox to media companies who wanted to set up a service to take in videos from their audience. One of the most problems that companies face in opening up to a lot of video is evaluating all of the material. Creating a stream of thumbnails allow editors to quickly scan video.

Rodrigo Sepulveda-Schulz of allows companies or people to set up their own online TV channel. The tools were very elegant, especially when you consider that it was all done within a web browser. It’s was like embedding iMovie in a web browser. Before broadband, this would have been impossible, but it also showed how far interface design online is evolving.

Video clips are just drag-and-dropped into a channel schedule. Sites on can be ‘reskinned’ at the click of a button, just selecting a drop down menu, the entire look of the site changes. These tools are going to allow a lot of entrants into the online video business.

technorati tags:video, online, YouTube, TV, BitTorrent