BuzzFeed’s shift to video is taking hold in its U.K. operations. The digital media company is doubling the size of its London office so it can house two new studios with a particular focus on sponsor video.
The goal: to bring all video production made on behalf of U.K. advertisers in-house.
So, it’s all ads rather than editorial video – but it’s a telling sign of how important video is becoming to monetising content. And another step in Buzzfeed’s shift towards video.
Buzzfeed is restructuring by splitting into entertainment and news divisions. CEO Jonah Peretti makes an interesting point:
Having a single ‘video department’ in 2016 makes about as much sense as having a ‘mobile department.’ Instead of organizing around a format or technology, we will organize our work to take full advantage of many formats and technologies.”
Video has become so prevalent in both news and entertainment, and developed so many different forms, that a single video department makes little sense any more. The language and techniques used to produce reporting dn explainer videos are very different from short comedy, or cooking clips.
In fact, it makes as little sense as having a “writing department”.
[via Emily Jane Fox, Vanity Fair]
Interesting [announcement from Quartz editor Kevin Delaney, explaining why the business site is about to get serious about video:
We’re now entering into video production, with a small team of experienced digital video journalists experimenting ambitiously with new formats, techniques, and distribution.
That final word – distribution – is key. That suggests that Quartz will be pushing its video onto Facebook and YouTube as much as trying to drag people to the site to watch it. And they’re not just thinking about computer and mobile use, either:
[…] the over-the-top video disruption means unprecedented opportunities for upstart media players to distribute their content to users’ television sets and computers.
Pays for plays
The question, of course, is monetisation. Delaney explicitly says that the video production team won’t have to worry about that at first:
We’re liberating them for an initial period from ad inventory requirements and preconceptions about what they produce should look like.
However, they do have a revenue agenda:
We believe that respecting our users and their time means not placing 15- or 30-second pre-rolls in front of videos. We’d prefer to do the hard work of tackling the creative and business challenges of inventing non-preroll forms of sponsorship that maximize both user satisfaction and revenue.
In other words: “Go away, experiment, and when you figure out what works, we’ll figure out how to monetise it.”
It’s a good approach – I’ve seen some terrible video produced simply because there was money on the table from advertisers that needed video inventory. This way the product will lead the revenue.