Web Video 2.0?

A couple of articles out this week are giving me a bit of whiplash. Newspapers rushed to start doing video a few years ago, many with little equipment, training and (most importantly) little strategy for journalism or for sales. The result? Largely amateur quality, not-terribly-interesting videos, or a few great videos that got little traffic (for a whole lot of reasons). With staff cuts, morale loss and an unclear motivation for producing video, there came a backlash — dumping video storytelling altogether.

It’s starting to look like we should have hung in there. An article this week in the New York Times highlights how a number of larger news organizations are beefing up their video efforts in both live and on-demand video. Newspapers that built up and then scaled back their video efforts are trying again, in different ways:

The Los Angeles Times, which has several regular on-demand video segments, is in the planning stages for several live video shows. The Washington Post, which streams a live sports show each week, will have “more original programming” in the next few months, said Andrew Pergam, director of video for The Post.

A post on the World Editors Forum blog has insight on how several British news organizations are beefing up their video efforts. It’s interesting to see that there still does not appear to be any one right answer for what kinds of video stories do best on all sites, but newspaper organizations seem to be getting better at understanding what works for their own particular audience.

That should be good news at a time when lots and lots of articles and research reports released in the last week or so predict a big uptick in online video ad sales, including a video (!) this week from Bloomberg talks about the growth of video advertising demand.

Let’s do it right this time. Let’s start with a goal in mind, train our news staffs to do video, train our sales staffs to sell it, and be flexible as we watch what our audience wants.