Five Innovative Publishers and their Short Video Strategy


Over the coming weeks, we’ll be exploring the most innovative publishers in the web stories world, including interviews with the executives and teams who continue to use web stories as a cutting edge social media format to tell the most compelling, engaging stories to their audience. 

“Internetting with Amanda Hess,” another one of NY Times’ recent foray into video experimentation

We are starting this series by showcasing five publishing stars, and how they have used the new format, including web stories and short-form videos, and the results they have accomplished in a short period of time. 

  1. New York Times

The New York Times has always been at the forefront of innovation when it comes to storytelling. And they have invested a ton of time on experimenting with business models and media format, with the ultimate goal of it all adding up to adding tremendous value to their subscribers’ reading (and now) viewing habits. 

Stories is a format that allows for experimentation and breaking down a story into a snackable, bite-friendly content, and NYT experimented with a recent web video series “Conception,” which was 6 episodes of quick and binge-friendly 4 – 5 minute videos to much acclaim

“We are a subscriber-first business, so part of this is to offer people on our site and platform more than what’s available offsite. On YouTube, we have seen the weekly strategy work; YouTube has a broader audience, and while we still see binge-watching behavior there, we know that you can build an audience on YouTube over time by programming shows and engaging with the community week over week.” – Francesca Barber, Director of Audience Growth & Programming for video, New York Times 

  1. Financial Times

While the New York Times has bet on different short-form video content, Financial Times (who we featured in a previous story) experiments with both 50 minute documentaries and 50 second video clips on Stories. What’s of interest for us is how they accomplish that with a 15-person team that produces up to 200 video clips a month. 

For short-video purposes, they have recently hired a clips editor who helps produce those short binge-worthy Stories format videos, that gets up to 5X the shares on social media that their longer videos get. Here is a snapshot of some of their experimentation on their brand platform. 

For this the FT will continue to run numerous tests on things like annotations, font and text, and call to actions at the end of a video. Some videos will work best as introductions to topics, and require further reading, others will be more suited to being shared, and for some it’s fine to just get a Like. 

  1. Bloomberg Media

Bloomberg Media, like the other publishers on this list have always been on the cutting edge of creating innovative ideas on creating the most compelling stories using newer formats. QuickTake is Bloomberg Media’s newest version of their video platform, from a team of over 100. 

With thousands of journalists and a team that churns out videos each day, repurposing existing content, Quick Take — reinvented is focused more singularly on reaching a more youthful audience, by creating content that will resonate most closely with that audience.  

This move will attempt to further break the company’s video coverage away from the financial news content that its television network offers in order to reach a broader, younger audience from every business sector, said General Manager of Quick Take. 

  1. Hearst Magazines

Hearst Magazines and its multiple publisher properties, are famous for interesting video content hosted on their own properties as well as sites like YouTube, and they’ve recently announced that combined all their properties are getting close to a billion views. 

While NYT and FT above, talk about how content is helping grow their subscribers, Hearst is focused on ubiquity of their content wherever their audience is, and using that to grow the revenue while connecting with their audience. 

As the company’s senior vice president of video development and content strategy, Zuri Rice also wants to make sure it is publishing everywhere. “Platforms are parts of our audience and parts of the pie,” she said. “One might be a place where we are getting more revenue, another might be a place where we’re really connecting to the audience. Of course, it’s always great when we have places that do both.” 

  1. NBC News 

Another global media behemoth, NBC News has multiple teams to produce video content, including NBC News Digital’s video units — 20-person NBC News original video team, “Today” with over 20 people, and 14-person “Left Field,” and a 30-person team to “Stay Tuned.”

But despite this gargantuan team of editors and producers, NBC News continues to search for ways to connect with a more diverse and youthful audience, and that is where newer formats, like web stories and short-videos. 

“Media companies need to take more swings and produce a diversity of formats to see what resonates with users, The goal is to spend smartly and gather more user data. It’s learning at scale, which is the only way to outperform others in today’s crowded content marketplace.” – Chris Erwin, co-founder of media consultancy “Doing Work As”

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