Washington Post announces two new TV shows

The Washington Post announced two new video shows as part of its PostTV initiative, which will gain traction in the coming weeks.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | June 17, 2013

Politics show In Play and in-depth interview segment On Background will join The Folda half-hour daily news program The Post launched in October. The shows will be broken into short, sharable segments, so viewers have the opportunity to watch the show from start-to-finish or focus on particular topics of interest.

“We think it will be consumed differently,” Senior Editor for Video Andrew Pergam said in an October interview with WAN-IFRA. The breakdown of shows into short segments was designed to optimize sharing.

In addition, PostTV will feature live-streaming segments and breaking news clips from the Associated PressBloomberg and CBS News, according to an announcement. Viewers can watch on the web, on Washington Post apps or on compatible TV devices, including Google TV.

The goal is to work up to 30 hours of programming per month, the Post announced in January. The initiative will continue to develop and expand in the coming months, Pergam said.

“There’s much more up our sleeves, but we were just bursting at the seams and couldn’t wait much longer to share this with you,” Pergam wrote in the announcement.

In October Pergram told WAN-IFRA that the Post has made a “pretty significant investment” in video, though he declined to specify figures. Similarly, the New York Times named video among its core investments in 2012.

PostTV will join other publications’ increased video efforts. The Huffington Post began streaming 12 hours of video per day on HuffPost Live in August, and Condé Nast announced video channels for Glamour and GQ in March, with similar series planned for other magazines. WSJ Live has been churning out videos in a similar fashion since September 2011.

Taking a page from The New York Times, which pulled videos from its paywall in April, PostTV clips will not count towards WaPo’s metered paywall, which began phasing in last week. This move is designed to drive up video ad revenue, as newspapers are struggling to meet advertisers’ demand for videos, which generate higher profits than traditional web ads.

The Wall Street Journal has even “sold out” of video ad opportunities, former Managing Editor Raju Nasrietti told Nieman Lab in June. “There is no shortage of demand to generate more video views,” he said.

A major issue for newspapers has been carving a niche in the video world. Text-centric news organizations can’t hope to compete with the polish of TV news crews, but they can work to produce something complementary to nightly news programs, according to David Hayward, head of the journalism programme at the BBC College of Journalism. He suggested that newspapers focus on creating three- to four-minute specialized clips that show viewers a “specific world.”

“Thank God we’ve moved away from the time when you think you can just put television online,” Hayward said at a conference in early 2012.

Finding a successful niche will be difficult, and most newspapers do not have the resources to make an attempt worthwhile, Hayward said. The Washington Post is attempting to strike a balance with its new programs.

“We’re not a newspaper, we’re not the evening news, we’d better not be a web video,” says presenter Brook Silva-Braga in an introductory video to The Fold, “but we’re some combination of all those things that hopefully is informative and fun to watch.”

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