Last month, UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph, made what seems a very bold move for a "newspaper of record." They launched Telegraph Now Showing Hub, essentially a streaming "channel" where audiences can view long-form premium content. The programming, in line with the Telegraph's "establishment" brand, features dramas and documentaries, all available free of charge.
It's an interesting development in the ongoing transformation of the publishing industry, and one that results from a couple of media's biggest trends. First, there's the increasing appetite for video, and second, there's the migration of audiences from owned and operated sites to social networks. With Now Showing, The Telegraph is investing in the former to prevent the latter.
The Telegraph is but one of many publishers - both "traditional" and "digital native" - that are adapting to the increasingly complicated digital content landscape. Here are a just a few of the players using noteworthy strategies to stay on top of the rapid changes throughout the environment.
The Transitioning "Traditionals"
The company that essentially invented the news magazine is a great example of a "legacy" media company that has managed to remain a vital part of the mediascape. Nearly 100 years old, they've sustained relevancy through a progressive digital strategy and an aggressive use of video as a path to growth.
With titles including Sports Illustrated, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Fortune, People, InStyle, Essence, Real Simple, and Entertainment Weekly, Time Inc. has gone "all in" with video, and it's paying off when it comes to viewership. In February, they reported 119 million unique visits to their digital sites, which is nearly double what it was two years ago. Furthermore, video views were up 78% year-over-year.
Despite a recent takeover bid and management shake up, Time Inc. is shaping up into the "multi-platform, multimedia enterprise" that infuses "digital culture into our day-to-day operations," as former CEO Joe Ripp put it. From my perspective, they're succeeding in their goal to be a major player in digital video for years to come.
French news organization L'Opinion is driving both audience and revenue growth using short-form social video. This has been particularly effective in attracting millennials and other digital natives.
The initiative by L'Opinion that I find particularly interesting is the launch of a dedicated social video channel on Facebook called O'Play. In less than 6 months, L'Opinion grew views over 50 times. At the same time, they've distributed across sites like Dailymotion, where they've been successful at monetizing approximately 75% of their videos.
The "New Media" Natives
Arguably one of the biggest names in new media, Buzzfeed has gone above and beyond just making video a priority. They've put it at the heart of their organization, with CEO Jonah Peretti declaring, "Every major initiative at BuzzFeed around the world will find an expression as video." And video is driving big value for the company - NBCUniversal has doubled its investment and the company is now valued at over $1.7Billion.
One of Buzzfeed's most innovative aspects is their fearlessness about trying new things. When Facebook Video debuted, they were among the first to hop on board. While they started with a similar approach to the social network as they did for YouTube, they didn't just settle there. Instead, they tested and refined until they developed an identifiable brand. Recently, BuzzFeed even added classic movies to its Facebook Live offering, bringing Monty Python And The Holy Grail to its 8.8 million followers.
Whereas Buzzfeed built itself on a social news foundation, NowThis News was created with an equal footing in video and mobile from the very beginning. They completely skipped the uphill battle of destination building, instead focusing 100% on distributing short-form video across the platforms where audiences already are. They're now the largest video news publisher on Facebook, garnering an impressive 3 billion video views each month across properties.
The model isn't just innovative, it's incredibly smart and turns challenges of the new media landscape into advantages. It's a great example of business adaptation and it really demonstrates how resource-limited publishers today can leverage mobile and social to their benefit.
These are just a few of the companies who have forged unique, video-centric approaches to success. The lesson here for publishers and brands of every size is that there's no one correct way to use video. Instead, you should experiment and investigate how bringing video into your strategy will work best for you.