Digiday Research: Where publishers get their video revenues

At the Digiday Video Summit last month in Scottsdale, Arizona, we sat down with 51 publisher executives to learn about social platforms’ contributions to their video revenues. Check out our research on publishers’ growing concerns about their ability to monetize content for over-the-top services here. Learn more about our upcoming events here. Continue reading “Digiday Research: Where publishers get their video revenues”

Improving Our Video Experience

Part Three: Accessibility


Illustration by Jason Fujikuni

This is the third and final post in a series about the progress and achievements of our video delivery platform. The previous posts are Part One: Our On-Demand Video Platform and Part Two: Our Live Streaming Platform.

Improving the accessibility of the video experience on our web properties was one of our main goals for 2017. In this post, we will talk about how we built closed captions support into our video delivery platform and how we made the control set on our video player more accessible. Continue reading “Improving Our Video Experience”

The Economist’s video strategy shifts focus to YouTube

The Economist Films division gets most of its views on Facebook, but like other publishers, it’s turning its attention to YouTube, where audiences tend to be more loyal and engaged than on Facebook. The 20-plus person division began in mid-2015 with a focus on long-form series, like entrepreneur-focused “The Hub,” backed by Santander, and “The World in 2018,” supported by Thomson Reuters. This year, The Economist also started releasing three editorial videos a week, lasting under five minutes, like this on the gender pay gap or this on foreign aid distribution. Continue reading “The Economist’s video strategy shifts focus to YouTube”

One year in: What The New York Times learned from its 360-degree video project, The Daily 360

Every day for the past year, The New York Times has published a 360-degree video. The installments for the Samsung-sponsored project, called The Daily 360, were shot across 57 countries, with the help of over 200 different Times journalists. The videos gathered 94 million views on Facebook, and 2 million views on YouTube; the company declined to share view counts for its owned and operated properties. Continue reading “One year in: What The New York Times learned from its 360-degree video project, The Daily 360”

Google’s AI-powered video analyzer hits public beta

Google released its Cloud Video Intelligence API to the world today by making it available in public beta, as part of the company’s ongoing push to make AI accessible.

The Video Intelligence API is designed to let users upload a video and get information back about what objects are in it, using a system called label detection. With this release, the company also added support for detecting pornographic content, making it possible to use the service to spot videos that would be inappropriate to share with an audience that isn’t looking for that sort of content.

In addition, Google also announced a number of improvements to its Cloud Vision API to make various features more accurate. The label detection model, which names objects inside an image, now supports more than 10,000 different entities, so it can spot the difference between “breakfast cereal” and just “breakfast.” That model is also twice as good at recall, which means that it’s more likely to pick the most relevant label for an image.

The service’s safe search model, which detects adult content, saw a 30 percent reduction in errors. The Vision API’s text detection model saw a 25 percent increase in average speed of detection, and 5 percent increase in accuracy on latin languages. Google’s system is also better at reading human emotions: the face detection system is more than twice as good at recognizing sadness, surprise and anger than it was at launch.

Google’s services are designed to make it easier for people to implement AI capabilities inside their applications without building the machine learning systems needed to power them. Today’s news shows one of the key benefits of those systems: it’s possible to gain major improvements in applications that use them without doing anything, just because the company behind the system makes improvements in the background.

The Cloud Video Intelligence API launched in private beta earlier this year, as part of the announcements made at the Google Cloud Next conference.

Google is competing with a wide variety of companies in the intelligent API space, including titans like Microsoft, Amazon and IBM.

As part of the Video Intelligence API’s public beta launch, Google announced pricing for the service. Label and adult content detection is free for the first 1,000 minutes of video uploaded, and costs 10 cents per minute for the next 9,000 minutes. Shot detection, which finds scene changes within a video, is also free for the first 1,000 minutes, and then costs 5 cents per minute for the next 9,000 minutes.

Companies that need additional time should contact Google for additional pricing information.

How The Washington Post is training video polymaths

As The Washington Post continues to make investments in video, the publisher is ensuring that its video journalists can handle everything from short-form vertical videos to live broadcasts to longer news documentaries.

The Post has big plans for its video business in 2017. Earlier this year, the publisher opened a new outdoor studio at its K Street headquarters and announced plans to nearly double its video team to 70 people by the end of 2017. Key content initiatives include doing more longer-form documentaries, personality-driven shows, scripted series and even a Snapchat Discover channel. This sort of effort requires video creators that have expertise in multiple types of storytelling and video formats — a skill set that is still hard to find today, according to Phoebe Connelly, deputy director of video for the Post.

“When we were sitting down for open positions and looking at hundreds of resumes, we were seeing candidates who were coming from top news organizations, who had incredibly impressive resumes, but were still narrow in their focus and skill set,” Connelly said.

For instance, some candidates who were talented when it came to shooting and editing videos were only familiar with shooting and editing for mid-form videos or a traditional broadcast news package. On the other end, interviewees that had more of a web background could easily demonstrate their knowledge about what kind of video makes sense for Snapchat or Instagram — and understood the audiences that watches videos on those platforms — but did not have the shooting skills required to create those videos.

To fix this, the Post started to cross-train its video team across all of the different video platforms and storytelling formats it focuses on. “Cross-training came out of our realization that the talent that we needed just wasn’t out there,” Connelly said.

The video polymath is a necessity in the current environment, where platforms like Facebook often drive video strategies. One minute the algorithm favors short videos, then long ones the next, then virtual reality.

Today, the Post’s video team is broken down into several different units: There are video editors embedded within desks across the newsroom; a universal news desk, which focuses on breaking news videos for the homepage, apps and Snapchat Discover; and a third team focused on long-form storytelling. More recently, the Post has also built out an on-camera team for personality-driven shows and a scripted team, which is working with the Post’s opinions desk to create shows.

The Post regularly rotates its video staffers from one group to the next: Video staffers embedded within various news desks will spend some time every month doing shifts on the universal news desk, where they can become more familiar with breaking news and live video. “When they go back to the politics or world desk, they’re taking that sensibility back with them — should something be a quick edit or a more thought-out package?” said Connelly.

The approaches other news publishers take vary. Reuters, for instance, is primarily focused on mid-form and live video within its mobile and TV apps, which means having its producers focus on more traditional video formats. Both Vox and Quartz prize video polymaths. NBC News, meanwhile, has a 30-person original video team that’s organized into several units: an “enterprise” team focused on longer form features and documentaries; a news team creating shorter breaking news and human interest pieces; and a couple of staffers focused on emerging video formats. NBC News also just launched a new 12-person digital studio — similar to CNN’s Great Big Story — that focuses on longer, less newsy and more cinematic storytelling. There is very little criss-cross between these divisions.

At The Washington Post, the broader newsroom is also getting involved with its video efforts. Reporter David Fahrenthold and other journalists will frequently do video interviews and field pieces, which require working with different parts of the video team. “The idea that maybe we can do a short vertical video piece [for a story] becomes part of their vocabulary and how they pitch story ideas,” Connelly said.

Supporting all of these efforts is a database of guidelines for different video formats and features. Routinely updated, these guidelines cover everything from how to upload 360-degree video to the assets any video staffer needs for publishing short videos to Facebook.

“It’s bananas as an industry if we expect and teach our talent to think, edit and report for a single platform,” said Connelly. “We have to set the expectation that the platform you’re using is going to change based on assignments, months or the audience you’re targeting for the story.”

The post How The Washington Post is training video polymaths appeared first on Digiday.

The Economist, Bloomberg Media Distribution Ink Video Licensing Deal

Screen-Shot-2017-06-01-at-1.42.55-PMAs media brands continue to embrace content licensing and synidcation as an alternative revenue source, two of the biggest names in financial news are teaming up to form a global video distribution partnership.

Beginning in Q3, Bloomberg Media Distribution will offer clients access to The Economist‘s Daily Watch series of original short films covering everything from news and finance to politics, tech, and science.

It’s all part of an effort to offer clients the best consumer experience possible across any device, Josh Rucci, general manger of Bloomberg Media Distribution, tells Folio:.

“The Daily Watch series covers a range of topics, each comprising a sub-series under The Economist’s Daily Watch brand,” Rucci says. “We think these strengthen our offering of smart, insightful content, and will look to build upon this based on customer demand.”

For Bloomberg, the Economist partnership comes on the heels of similar distribution deals signed last October with The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Mexican-based outlet El Financierio, and STAT.

The Economist is one of the great global brands in high-quality business journalism,” adds Rucci. “Bloomberg strives to present the best user experience to our customers… Our relationship with The Economist is a natural fit with our portfolio and global customer base.”

As for The Economist, access to Bloomberg clients likely offers the London-based outlet a valuable opportunity for brand positioning as it aims to raise its global profile, particularly in North America.

The post The Economist, Bloomberg Media Distribution Ink Video Licensing Deal appeared first on Folio:.

Newsonomics: In Norway, a newspaper’s digital video startup is now generating more revenue than print

— Yes, there’s even a Trump Bump in Oslo.

Take 56 million, the number of views VGTV has gotten so far on its “satirical masterpiece” of “tupéfabrikk”, the company’s discovery of Donald Trump’s secret wig field in Tromsø, Norway’s Arctic Circle city. But that bump is just a collateral benefit of VGTV’s innovation engine.

In the three and a half years since its founding, VGTV has become a global model, with its leaders speaking at numerous media forums.

This spring, the latest spun-off Schibsted division passed an important milestone: VGTV, the video operation of the leading Norwegian daily VG, now produces more monthly revenue than does VG’s seven-day print product. VG, like many dailies, is losing double digit percentages of print revenue each year, but that revenue loss is being made up by the video operation. Of course, the new money is not nearly as profitable as the old — but for Schibsted, it’s all about the all-in bet on the longer-term digital future.

“What I hear [from journalists at conferences] is that people get inspired…that we are optimistic of the fact that we think we are going to manage to monetize video,” explains Helje Solberg, VGTV’s CEO and editor. Solberg moved over to VGTV more than three years ago, after serving for nine years as VG’s executive managing editor.

In 2016, VGTV pulled in 83 million Norwegian kroner, or about $10 million in total revenue. Into early 2017, it’s now seeing a steep ramp in growth, with a 51 percent increase year over year in the first quarter.

It’s not simply a maturing of the market — it’s audience growth. Year over year, VGTV grew audience 29 percent, accounting for 420,000 daily unique users in the first quarter. It can count more than 25 million video streams started per month, or almost a million a day.

That’s a good number given the sparsely populated northern terrain — Norway’s only got 5 million people.

Given that small, well-read population, why do so many publishers buttonhole Solberg at media events?

First and foremost, it’s the unique story of Schibsted’s serial and widening innovation. Schibsted is the biggest publisher most other publishers have never heard about. Based in Oslo, with strong newspaper publishing positions in both its home country and Sweden, Schibsted has become a Top 10 global company in revenue among legacy news providers, with operations in 30 countries and three continents, employing almost 7,000 people. As one executive of the now hyper-innovative Washington Post recently told me: “We like Schibsted. Some smart people there.”

Today, Schibsted’s media houses (publishing) contribute about 25 percent of its overall revenues, with the company’s marketplace/classifieds business and “growth” divisions still generating good growth. (We’ve chronicled Schibsted here at the Lab for years.)

It’s the innovation at Schibsted’s media houses that compels attention — for its early impact, its restructuring, and its results, with VGTV only the latest installment. The most recent critical result: Schibsted’s Norwegian news businesses now show small growth. In the first quarter, revenues were up 4 percent, with earnings (EBITDA) up 8 percent.

Overall, for VG (a popular Oslo daily, which operates alongside Aftenposten, Schibsted’s “quality” daily), the numbers show that investments in innovation are paying off. In the first quarter, VG saw 27 percent growth in digital subscribers (to 108,000) and a 28 percent growth in digital advertising, a good amount of that attributable to VGTV. Another good print-to-digital crossover number: Operating expenses were down 7 percent.

As it crosses over, the video strategy fits well with Schibsted’s vision of a next-generation platform vision. That plan emphasizes a signed-in engagement that seeks to compete against the always-signed-in world of Facebook.

For innovation watchers, the short story of the Schibsted model is clear: Transforming the news business means separate and reintegrate, separate and reintegrate. That’s what Schibsted did in 1999 when, ahead of its peers, it funded a separate — and competitive to print for audience — digital operation. Later, it did the same with mobile.

Then, in late October 2013, it applied the successful model once again, to video and VGTV. Both “digital” and “mobile” have been folded back into the VG mothership. Solberg says she expects that VGTV will be soon as well. Once innovation is well enough established, resourced, and acculturated, it folds back into a bigger, smarter, and now digital savvy newsroom and company.

Today, VGTV includes a staff of 65. They remain organizationally separate from VG, though the operation is housed in the VG offices and works often as if the two are one — which is the point.

When I first wrote about VGTV three years ago, then-VG CEO and editor Torry Pedersen told me of this and other Schibsted forays: “Make sure you lose money for at least three years.” In fact, VGTV first became profitable in April, a few months past its three-year anniversary, says Solberg, though she doesn’t expect 2017 to be in the black overall.

It’s telling that both Solberg and Pedersen have held both top editorial and business-side titles simultaneously. The Schibsted model seems to recognize and promote shapers, and some of those shapers should come from the editorial side of the business as well. Earlier this year, Pedersen, well known and respected in the broader media world, became head of Schibsted’s media house businesses in Norway overall.

Live news, and the challenge of a Facebook-like integrated experience

In those three years, Solberg, a long-time VG news executive, has learned lots about what works and what doesn’t in digital video. She’s now intent on better integrating the VGTV experience into VG’s wider news delivery, and wants to apply lessons from its Snapchat and Facebook tests.

She’s had to make ongoing decisions about the kinds of video VGTV emphasizes. The site offers a lively mix — its offerings translate fairly well with Google Translate — of news, interviews, and popular culture. News and sports lead viewing time, with a variety of other programming, created and licensed, filling out the picture.

Given VG’s overall pre-eminence as a breaking news site, VGTV prizes its advances in live programming. “In the terrorist attack in Belgium last year, it was the first time we documented a major breaking news story with live images before still images,” she says. “Now, that happens again and again. On U.S. election day, more people followed our live coverage than read the most-read article on VG.no.”

For global coverage, VGTV uses both wire services and its own correspondents, transmitting live images from the news spot. Its anchors also host news programs.

“We don’t necessarily go live every day,” says Solberg. “It’s very important for us to go live if there is news that we have to report. All we need to go live is a journalist and an iPhone. The technology works with us. It’s easier and easier to go live.” By the numbers, viewers responded, with “live” viewing more than quadrupling in 2016 over 2015.

At this point, somewhat surprisingly, more viewers watch VGTV on their desktops than on mobile, though in April, mobile topped desktop. Why is desktop so strong? Solberg believes getting the mobile user experience right is one of her greatest challenges. A prime goal: “integrated native video.”

“We need to integrate video much better into the news journey. I used to say that you have peer-based video, [where] users go to the platform to watch video, [and] push-based video. Users go to the platforms again to get updated. Both are served video seamlessly like Facebook. For us, the big question is: Is it possible to challenge the peer-based platforms such as YouTube, that established play channels on time spent? We think we need a different approach. Facebook did some smart moves — it’s muted, it goes very fast, it has no ads interrupting the content — while we have a click-to-play model and interrupting ads.”

So, Solberg’s team studies Facebook, and its new partner, Snapchat. VGTV began producing VG’s first-in-Norway Snapchat Discover channel in January. “Snapchat is a good place to learn and experiment what makes a good video on the mobile phone. We really like it as a place to publish stories. It’s also a good carrier of advertising. It remains to be seen, however, how easy or how difficult this will be to monetize. It’s still an investment case for us. The test period for six months was sold out within two weeks.”

Steady, above-web digital ad rates

In its short history, VGTV has managed to gain healthy ad rate for its video ads — a CPM of 180 kroner, or a little more than $20. That’s better than VG’s average non-video digital ad yield, says Solberg.

Digital video ads come out of digital ad budgets, she says, so in this arena, VG is up against Facebook and Google. Together, the two dominate Nordic digital advertising, with a two-thirds share of the market.

At this point, 15-second pre-rolls predominate, but VGTV is experimenting with shorter forms less than 10 seconds.

“It is possible to tell a story, even in six seconds,” she says. Storytelling is key: It’s noteworthy that, along with VGTV’s increased ad revenues, it’s branded content that has also helped make up for print losses. Initiatives such as The New York Times’ T Brand Studio have found that combination of branded storytelling and video, the virtuous mating of two post-display ad formats.

Solberg hopes to find other ad rhythms that work, just as VGTV is doing editorially. “We saw two years ago most of the clips were, like, two and a half to three minutes. Now they are less — about one minute. But the time spent on VGTV has increased. So we make shorter news videos, but people spend more time with us. We also have a higher completion rate,” says Solberg. “We make the short videos and then we make the longer videos and documentaries and programs.”

“It’s possible to tell a smart story in 43 seconds,” says the former political journalist. She shows me one video — a quick-moving, graphics-centric piece, one that indeed tells its story well in less than a minute.

Very short, or longer and explanatory. The web isn’t a medium medium.

One goal: The digital news leadership

For long-time print journalists like Solberg and Pedersen, “TV” learnings have opened unexpected doors. Yet, all the efforts remain focused on a singular goal, which Solberg puts simply: “If VG is to keep and strengthen our No. 1 position as Norway’s largest online news site, we need to succeed with video.”

As it strategizes, VG also makes interesting use of old-fashioned linear TV. VGTV runs several channels on cable and satellite and gets payments from companies for carriage. Solberg is quite clear that Oslo’s two major TV news providers — commercial TV 2, and public broadcaster NRK — will remain the near-term linear TV choice of consumers. As strong as VG is for breaking digital news, consumers haven’t transferred that habit to old-fashioned TV. “What we learned was that, when there is big news happening, people go to VG, digitally, and to established TV channels. That didn’t turn out — that people would also watch us on linear TV,” says Solberg.

How likely is that to change? “I don’t think that’s possible to change,” acknowledges Solberg. “We have said from the very beginning with the linear TV channel, that everything we do has to gain us digitally. Our core strategy is digital.”

And that strategy includes ad revenue that is now “broadcast,” even if current VGTV revenues largely are bought out of the digital bucket.

“Traditional TV is still very strong in Norway,” says Solberg. “Norwegians like TV and watch almost three hours a day on linear TV. I think it’s just a matter of time before this shift [to digital video] in consumption will pay off.”

Put it all together and linear TV is a means to VG’s digital end. Those cable and satellite distribution payments represent the majority of linear TV revenue, with advertising a secondary source there.

After testing news on linear TV, VGTV now runs largely documentaries on the channel around the clock. “It’s about six to eight documentaries a day,” says Solberg. “Some news — a news loop and a sports loop.”

Intriguingly, it is these same documentaries — about 20 were produced last year — that have now moved behind a digital paywall. Documentaries such as “Stuck,” a series on human trafficking, used to be largely free via the web; now they support that significant digital subscription growth. And yet they remain free on VGTV’s linear channel. Consumer confusion? Not really — just a different distribution channel.

As VG and Schibsted’s other dailies in Norway and Stockholm work through the possible delivery channels of 2020, they have to deal with the economics of 2017. How well is that big overall strategy going — the establishment of VG, a brand established out of the ashes of World War II, as a digital brand of today and tomorrow.

In 2017’s first quarter, digital revenues — including VGTV’s — totaled 48 percent of all VG income. That’s close to a real crossover, and the highest percentage of any daily-based operation of which I’ve heard.

‘Focused on profitability’: Why The Atlantic is shifting its focus to YouTube

Forget food videos on the feed: The Atlantic is sailing against the winds, opting for longer videos as part of series that are distributed through YouTube.

The 160-year-old publication, which has a small video operation compared to the distributed-media publishers that get billions of monthly views on Facebook, is focusing on creating longer videos that dive into serious topics such as science and politics. This includes weekly video series featuring its lineup of star editors and reporters, as well as animated videos and documentary features. At the same time, The Atlantic is prioritizing YouTube as the platform to distribute this content. The reason: Not only is YouTube the place where this type of content performs best, but YouTube is still the best place for publishers — especially smaller ones with a limited amount of resources — to reach a lot of viewers while also generating consistent revenue from pre-rolls. (YouTube typically takes a 45 percent cut of ad revenue from pre-rolls.)

“We tend to be pretty focused on profitability — new investments require that revenue comes along with them,” said Kim Lau, vp and gm at The Atlantic. “The big shift for us is the realization over time that while our audience at TheAtlantic.com is interested in and increasingly aware of our video, being able to grow [our video business] with just that audience is a little bit of a limitation.”

With a billion daily users on YouTube and countless videos to watch, YouTube certainly offers a reach that few others can match. It also offers a lot of noise.

The Atlantic’s approach to standing out is focusing on distinctive content that works well on YouTube’s platform, rather than pushing out as many videos as possible. Today, it’s launching a new science video series called “You Are Here,” which will feature The Atlantic’s science, health and technology writers exploring topics such as why Americans smile so much, the science of cool and whether social media is changing friendships. “You Are Here” joins other weekly video series such as “The Atlantic Argument,” a commentary series covering the latest news and political issues, and “Unpresidented,” which explores the new American political landscape. These shows follow a weekly release schedule.

“We know YouTube rewards consistency,” said Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg, gm and executive producer for Atlantic Studios, “but we also try to jump on the news cycle, especially with ‘The Atlantic Argument,’ when there is something of huge interest for our audience.”

The Atlantic is also focusing on animation and explainer videos. These can be a combination of animations placed within existing editorial video series as well as animated interviews with interesting guests like Bill Nye. Both formats have performed well on YouTube; CNN’s Great Big Story, for instance, has an entire team devoted to creating cartoons, while Vox has grown a substantial YouTube following by focusing on in-depth (longer) explainer videos that frequently feature animation.

While these shows aim to bring more regular viewers — and subscribers — back to The Atlantic’s YouTube channel, they are also in the service of a handful of longer documentaries The Atlantic puts out every month. The publisher typically releases two or three documentary features, typically running for 10 minutes or longer, every month. These go in-depth on topics ranging from Nazi Richard Spencer to American towns that welcome refugees.

With this approach, people are beginning to come to The Atlantic’s YouTube channel and spend time watching videos. The average watch time among The Atlantic’s 41,000 subscribers was more than three minutes last month, the publisher said.

“Among the distributed video platforms, YouTube is so strong at creating an experience where people are watching longer videos and with the sound on,” said Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg.

Of course, many scale-seeking digital publishers are still prioritizing Facebook because that still remains the best place to grab a lot of views in a short period of time. The Atlantic, like other publishers, is not ignoring Facebook. But it’s honest about Facebook’s limitations right now. The Atlantic will cut shorter versions of its videos — and include captions — for Facebook.

“Focusing on YouTube now allows us to bring monetization and high-quality storytelling all together in one place,” said Lau. “We’ll continue to dabble on Facebook.”

The post ‘Focused on profitability’: Why The Atlantic is shifting its focus to YouTube appeared first on Digiday.

How Video is Changing the News in the Czech Republic

Video Czech Republic

Czech news video

DVTV, a popular independent online news site, is one of two Prague-based sites reinventing news in Czech Republic: its content is entirely video-based.

News organisations in the Czech Republic have made significant investments in video content in the past three years. While most include video as part of their news package, two Prague-based online news platforms have made video central to their business model.

DVTV, a popular web-based TV platform, and Seznam Zprávy, a daily news site, use video almost exclusively. Using the format to tell stories, report investigations and broadcast interviews online.

The popularity of these two sites, as well as growing evidence that video attracts audiences and advertisers, is leading others to follow their example.

DVTV – video interviews and debates

Czech audiences like interviews. They like to read interviews with well-known personalities, and also to watch them, online or on television. DVTV (Drtinová-Veselovský TV), the first Czech news site entirely based on video content, has capitalised on this.

The platform broadcasts studio-based interviews with politicians, artists, and public figures. They also produce news stories, combined with interviews, on location.

Live streaming is an important part of DVTV programming. DVTV uses various streaming platforms, such as Facebook and YouTube, as well as its own website, to stream programmes such as DVTV Forum, an hour long, live-streamed interview or debate with a broad range of guests from different fields. The audience submits the questions asked in the Forum, via social networks.

DVTV was launched in 2014 by journalists, Daniela Drtinová and Martin Vesolovský, and their editorial team. Drtinová and Vesolovský had resigned from their jobs at Czech TV, the public broadcaster, following a 2013 presidential election coverage controversy: Drtinová was one of 23 Czech TV journalists who had complained to the government’s broadcasting watchdog about threats to Czech TV’s independence during the elections.

In 2015, a year after its launch, DVTV started a successful crowd-funding campaign which earned over two millions Czech crown (approximately 80,000 euro). The money was used to develop and extend the content, and to hire new staff.

According to Jan Rozkosny, DVTV’s editor, the investment paid off. He reported that, according to metrics from Google Analytics, the site reached 5.5 million unique users in January 2017. The average time spent on one video page is 11.5 minutes, Rozkosny said.

Seznam Zprávy – mobile journalists producing video news

In November 2016, leading Czech search engine Seznam.cz launched the news site, Seznam Zprávy (Seznam News). The site is also video-based, although it uses a ‘hybrid format’ with articles also appearing on the site in text form.

Seznam hired Jakub Unger, an experienced journalist, to run Seznam Zprávy. Unger was one of the original founders of Aktualne.cz, the Czech Republic’s first digital-native independent news project. Before that, every Czech news site had been supported by one of the larger news publisher or broadcasters.

Jakub Unger drafted other respected journalists, such as political commentator Jindřich Šídlo from daily Hospodářské noviny, foreign correspondent Martin Jonáš, financial journalist Zuzana Hodková from Czech TV, plus investigative journalists Jiří Kubík and Sabina Slonková. With these experienced reporters, Seznam Zprávy now produces a wide range of online video programmes – from short newscasts broadcast from a studio, to longer – 20 minute – investigative features.

Seznam Zprávy broadcasts regular, scheduled news programmes. For example, every evening at 6pm a news video summing up the major events of the day is posted. The site also posts several news stories each day.

Seznam Zprávy innovates in other ways, including using mobile journalism to make its video content. Using only a smartphone or tablet, the site’s journalists not only write and narrate the videos, they are also cameraperson, editor and producer. The devices are used for filming, live streaming, sometimes even for editing.

A recent examples of mobile journalism on Seznam Zprávy is a journey by reporter Pavel Cyprich. He travelled to Poland with a US army convoy in March this year. His report of the journey was produced, filmed and edited on his mobile device. Seznam Zprávy published his video news reports and Cyprich was also a remote participant – via his mobile – in a live interview with the presenter in the Prague studio.

A video news report made entirely on the reporter’s mobile device as he travelled through Poland with a US army convoy.


Additionally, Seznam Zprávy produces investigative programmes such as Special Investigation in which  political or business scandals are uncovered and reported.

According to a Czech metrics site, Netmonitor Online, which monitors traffic to news sites, Seznam Zprávy had 3,530,953 unique views in January 2017.

Better mobile networks

The growth of video in news has been enabled by improving Czech mobile networks, which now provide sufficient download speed for video content.

Another contributing factor is the increase in media advertising spend in the Czech Republic overall (up 8% overall in 2015). Online ad spend has become a significant proportion (20%) of the total media market – the same level as print, which is on a downward trend, according to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report, 2016.


Other EJO stories you might like: Media Predictions Survey 2017, Facts, Quality, Revenue and Video


Online Video News Driven by Technology, Publishers and Platforms, not Consumers


Images: screen shots, DVTV and Seznam



The post How Video is Changing the News in the Czech Republic appeared first on European Journalism Observatory – EJO.

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