By Debbie Goh
Publishers should invest in producing quality video and audio that inform and entertain to gain value in reach, intellectual property and advertising, a panel of digital content experts shared at Digital Media Asia 2020.
Lottie Laws (pictured above), Head of Global Video Solutions at Twitter Australia, said people expect publishers and brands to be useful and informative, but they also want to be entertained.
“Being a news outlet doesn’t mean you have to do the same types of news all the time. You can have your kind of current affairs news, but you can also be entertaining if it makes sense for your brand as well,” said Laws.
News engagement on Twitter is at an all-time high, with a surge in video news consumption, said Laws. News on Twitter, she said, received 2.3 billion views in April and engagement per news tweet is up 27 percent. Video watch time in Australia has also increased 70 percent, said Laws.
“We’re seeing a huge increase in the amount of videos shared on the platform but also watch time, so it’s definitely continuing on an upward trend, and I think that’s a reflection of what consumers want,” – Lottie Laws, Twitter Australia
To capitalise on the audience appetite for video, publishers should “put out the best possible content,” said Ajay Chacko, co-founder and CEO of Arré.
“Create investigative stuff, create top-notch stuff using news or the understanding of journalism as the bedrock of it because I think there’s enough and more appetite to move away just from fiction-based to actual real stuff that is happening.”
Arré, founded in 2015, has quickly become one of India’s foremost digital content brands, winning numerous international awards for its work in digital fiction and non-fiction, including Best Lifestyle Website at WAN-IFRA’s World Digital Media Awards in 2019.
Chacko recommended looking at quality benchmarks created by entertainment platforms.
“Take the story and build something universal around it and package it into a show, whether it’s a non-fiction show or a fiction show,” he said.
While this would require journalists to change the way they think of news reporting, good stories that are packaged well, he said, would have higher shelf-life and reach.
Value in production investment
Good content also makes the audience say, “Hey, this is worth my time,” said Roby Alampay, founder and CEO of Puma Public Productions. Puma Public, the first podcast network in the Philippines, started a year-and-a-half ago with fewer than 100 listeners a month.
It currently has 20,000 to 30,000 listeners monthly for its podcasts, with 64 percent of its listeners aged 14 to 34. This audience, said Alampay, spends “12 to 18 minutes of uninterrupted listening on our own content.”
“It means we are keeping 70 percent of our listeners all the way to the end of our podcast. It means the opening billboard for our podcast and the mid-roll insertions are all highly monetisable,” he said.
While investing in good production will be more expensive, Alampay said the content is replicable and generates its own intellectual property.
“That is something that you can then plan for and build into your business,” he said. Audio and podcast can be repurposed with video images “very, very cheaply,” he said, and producers can distribute the podcasts and videos over different platforms including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and Viber.
“You can serve up your podcasts over these platforms and have them discovered and then try to bring them to the streaming platform where the real UX and UI is intended,” Alampay said.
Discovery of videos on Twitter offers publishers an opportunity to partner with advertisers and monetise their content, Laws said.
Through Amplify Pre-roll, Twitter’s advertising program, publishers can place their videos into 15 content categories including automotive, entertainment, food, financial and business news, politics and technology.
Advertisers purchase access to all or specific categories to align their video ads with publishers’ content.
Laws said many brands pivot to light-hearted news so “it’s a smart thing for publishers to recognise that, too.”
Twitter also provides for one-on-one partnerships between advertisers and publishers, which gives publishers control over the advertisers they work with. Advertisers also know in advance what kind of content they’re aligning to.
“Where an advertiser can align to your content, it gives you an expanded platform and maybe you have the opportunity as a publisher to reach an audience you would otherwise not have and who may not be in your following,” said Laws.
“It’s a great opportunity to get more distribution for the content that you’re doing, monetise some really great content that you may be doing anyway so it may not even be a big additional kind of production cost for you,” she added.
About the author: Debbie Goh, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Culture, Media & Performance at the California University of Pennsylvania. Before joining academe, she was a journalist with The Straits Times, Singapore.
Edited by Bill Poorman.