By Daniel Hunter
A new report for the Associated Press, produced by Deloitte, with research by GfK provides the first in-depth study into video news consumption. The report entitled White Smoke, the new era for video news, demonstrates the increasingly critical role of video in online news sites.
The report, based on a survey of respondents in UK, Germany, and Spain examines demand for video news content and the implications for broadcasters, publishers and other organisations offering online news.
The research findings clearly demonstrate the importance of news to online consumers. Most (86%) UK consumers have accessed news online frequently; of these nearly half (47%) watch video news clips on a regular basis. 85% of UK consumers believe video brings a news story to life, and 77% feel it improves their understanding of a story, suggesting that a video-rich news experience could result in a more informed and interested viewer.
The research found that a third of respondents (32%) would go elsewhere if video content was not available at their preferred news source. In addition, the research found that respondents who watch news videos online also place the greatest importance on keeping up-to-date with news.
The research showed the important role online plays in breaking news stories. While TV predominates as the first source (41%) for breaking news, online is the key source for greater depth on a story, with 69% turning to their PC, smart phone or tablet.
The report advises online publishers, especially TV broadcasters, that their online video news strategy should not simply replicate the editorial strategy for TV news. The findings clearly indicate that online video offers opportunities for engaging different types of viewers, particularly the young: while 16-24 year-olds appear the least engaged with news in general they are the heaviest users of online video news. Two-thirds watch video news once a week, the highest proportion of any age group.
Deloitte’s expectation is that consumption of video news online should increase over time, driven by the continuing spread of smart phones, strong growth in tablets, as well as steadily increasing broadband speeds, via fixed and mobile connections. Further the rising resolution of smartphone and tablet screens will enable video to become more vivid.
The research found that tablet owners are enthusiastic consumers of video news online. In the UK, 91 of respondents have watched a news video on a tablet. As well as clearly indicating that smart phone and tablet proliferation will drive the need for online publishers to include video news content, it also showed that the format of video news needs to be appropriate for these mobile platforms.
Sue Brooks, director of video transformation at AP, said: “Tens of millions of people recently watched the smoke turn white signifying the election of the new Pope on TV and many more on were watching live online. That is the nature of today’s news where video plays a vital role in bringing a story alive, not just for TV broadcasters but for any online publisher.
“But this is a shift in news consumption that is still in flux, and the ubiquity of smart phones and tablets will ensure that this remains the case for some time to come. That is why, as the first study into online video news consumption, this report should be a must read for both TV news broadcasters and online publishers.”
Matthew Guest, Deloitte media director, said: “This research has shown that video is no longer a luxury option for a professional news site; it is becoming an obligation. Most consumers, in most markets regard video as essential to the news experience - in conjunction with text and images. Video increases loyalty, adds differentiation between services among a crowded online news marketplace. Video enables news organisations of all kinds to engage with the social media generation in a way that text-only websites, newspapers and TV do not.
“The news industry must challenge itself to think about the way consumers will enjoy content on all of these platforms, providing news to consumers when they want it, in the format and on the device they prefer. Online video provides another option for doing this and an exciting opportunity to engage the younger audiences that are often - and inaccurately, based on our survey - perceived to be uninterested in news.”
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