The New York Times: purveyor of “All The News That’s Fit To Print.” And now, all the news that’s fit to stream too?
A Nieman Lab reports, The Times has struck a licensing agreement with Hulu, making some of its video content available through the popular online streaming service. For the moment, the only Times video that is on offer with Hulu is a documentary about hockey named “Punched Out: The Life and Death of an N.H.L. Enforcer,” but Nieman Lab writes that more content is due to be uploaded soon.
Author of the article Justin Ellis suggests that putting content on Hulu has both pros and cons for the Times. “On Hulu, a viewer may be more likely to seek a lean-back entertainment and watch a video longer than five minutes,” writes Ellis, “But by putting the videos on Hulu, the Times is also sending eyeballs off their property and adding an intermediary who’ll expect a cut of the ad revenue.”
Nevertheless, even with these extra charges, there’s big money to be made from online video, as the Times itself has pointed out. In an article published last February, the paper noted that video content commands particularly high advertising revenues: for video ads, advertisers can pay $20 - $50 per thousand views. Video ad spending is expected to be more that $3 billion this year, rising from $2.16 billion last year. Ken Doctor writes it is expected to rise to $7.15 billion in 2015. These numbers make it the fastest–growing type of digital ad spending.
The Times, like many other organisations, is vying for a slice of the pie. Speaking at WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Europe event in London in April, Chairman, CEO and Publisher of the New York Times Company Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr said that video was one of the four key areas that the Times would be focusing on for future growth. He said the Times aims to create video content that “inspires the same interest, trust and loyalty” as the rest of its journalism.
A major competitor in the field is the Huffington Post, which announced in February that it would be launching its own live video network, which would “combine broadcast news with social media.” Capital New York gave an update on the new network’s progress last week: it will be known as HuffPost Live, it is set to launch at the beginning of July and aims to produce 12 hours of live video content every weekday, with the help of more than 100 staff.
According to Capital New York, the Huffington Post’s founding editor Roy Sekoff has stressed that HuffPost Live is not planning to compete with traditional broadcasters like CNN or MSNBC. Instead, it will focus all its efforts on promoting audience engagement. “People don’t want to be talked to. They want to be talked with,” Sekoff told The New York Times in February.
The Wall Street Journal is also a big player in the live video streaming field. WSJ Live, launched in September 2011, won big praise from media analyst Ken Doctor, who called it a “milestone product” and a “model for the news industry.” As Doctor explains, WSJ Live offers both scheduled programming and on-demand content, and its format is well adapted to tablet and mobile platforms. As Nieman points out, the Journal is also already on Hulu. What’s more, The New York Times has quoted Alan Murray, Executive Editor of wsj.com, who says that video attracts “the highest C.P.M.’s of anything we do.”
The many examples point to the same trend: video content can mean big audiences and big money for news organisations that started out based in text. The challenge now is to work out the best way to get in the game.