News Leadership 3.0

May 14, 2008

NAA: The march to video

Newspaper Web sites
jump into online video
What’s your video strategy?

The Newspaper Association of America‘s new survey of newspaper Web site’s production of local video provides one of the best snapshot’s I’ve seen lately of newsrooms in transition, and the transition may be significant. A year ago, many of the newsroom leaders at Knight Digital Media Center’s annual Leadership Conference saw aggressive pursuit of local video as a priority for 2007. Like many of their peers, they saw the value of video in enriching news coverage, increasing traffic and possibly creating a new advertising revenue stream. They were searching for tools and strategies.
The new NAA report suggests many traditional news organizations have leapt into video—or at least have a toe in the water. It also suggests there is more work to be done.

Here are a few highlights of the NAA survey, entitled “Newspapers’ Online Video:”
- News (breaking), features sports and entertainment dominate online local video content. Interestingly, the report notes, while people frequently go to a news site for weather information, only about a third of the sites surveyed feature weather or traffic video.
- Most site visitors watch video in the morning (32 percent from 6 to 10 a.m.) or in the middle of the day (27 percent 10 am. to 2 p.m.). Nearly a third of those responding didn’t know the most popular times for visiting their Web sites. (It’s also important to keep in mind, as Rick Hirsch at the Miami Herald and others have noted, that readers of different topics may be hitting the site at different times.)
- Photographers are most often shooting video (86 percent) but reporters are not far behind (74 percent).
- Most newsrooms provide video training (58 to 80 percent provide it, depending on size).
- Pre-roll is the dominant format for online video advertising. About half of the newspapers surveyed feature pre-roll. At smaller newspapers, 43 percent reported selling pre-roll advertising. At larger newspapers, 78 percent feature pre-roll advertising. Banner adds and sponsorships also are popular. Fewer than 10 percent feature post-roll advertising or ads that run across the bottom of the screen.

The NAA survey is based on 213 responses out of 1,117 solicitations that went to newspapers. That’s a decent response rate (19 percent) and newspapers of all sizes are represented. But NAA notes that “it is possible the conclusions may not fully represent the entire U.S. newspaper industry.” My own guess is that those who were more engaged with video were more likely to respond, so the survey may be a snapshot of early adopters rather than the industry as a whole. Still it’s encouraging.

How does your news organization compare with organizations in the NAA study? What tips can you offer other editors seeking to improve their online video offerings?


Great stats!  I am surprised how often photographers are shooting video!

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Exploring innovation, transformation and leadership in a new ecosystem of news, by journalist and change advocate Michele McLellan.

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