WNIP Interview: Andrew Petherick, co-owner of Videobuilder
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 - 11:13am
WNIP Interview: Andrew Petherick, co-owner of Videobuilder
As the company prepares for the launch of its PressApp mobile service for publishers at Publishing and Media Expo 2013, WNIP asked for his views on how publishers are using video and where he thinks the world of video and publishers is heading.
I started by asking him why he changed course from video production to video technology?
Four years go, when online video in magazines was still in its relative infancy, we started as an outsourced video production film-maker network for publishers. The model was based on a service that allowed ad sales teams to offer fixed rate video production to advertisers all over the UK. Publishers then added whatever margin they liked to our production costs for providing the finished film with media exposure on their websites and digital editions. This model works well although some less experienced ad sales teams find it difficult to offer advertisers services; most just like selling space because its simple.
When we started offering this service it was also too early for many publishers to think about video and we were a little ahead of the curve. Our first two clients for this video production model were Centaur Media and IPC Media, both companies with huge clout. During the process of providing this production model to them, it became evident that even these publishers faced a bigger issue with video. They all wanted video content all over their sites, as did their readers. The problem came down to where the magazines and newspapers got the video content from; they simply couldn’t afford to spend money on producing it themselves.
Coupled with this issue, many publishers had also invested significant sums on video streaming platforms without having the content to stream on them which proved to be costly.
To overcome this issue, we sat down with Cathy Williams from IPC Media, who very sadly passed away recently, to work out how we could help them devise a system that allowed them to fill their sites with video without them having to either produce it professionally of have any IT or technical skills. These discussions formed the basis of Videobuilder, a service we launched in November 2012. It proved to be a turning point.
We started from the ground up, asking the simple question to publishers “Why do you want video on your sites in the first place?”. The answers we got back showed that magazines and newspapers wanted video because their readers wanted it, because they wanted to create revenue from it, and because they wanted to keep people on their web and mobile sites for longer. Because you can achieve all of these aims without having your own inventory of video content, we chose to help them focus on maximising 3rd party video rather than them having to make it themselves. Curate, don’t create is Videobuilder’s mantra. When we tell publishers this, there’s usually a huge sigh of relief!
Why would a magazine or newspaper publisher want someone else’s content on their sites?
A few years ago I’d have agreed with you; this would have been unheard of. A few years ago, there was enough investment in magazine and newspapers to warrant robust investment in video content creation. The web has turned this on its head; there’s now so much content out there, and someone needs to be responsible for curating it, picking the best bits, discarding the rubbish, adding value to it and presenting it to readers in a way they’ll appreciate. Magazine and newspaper editors are perfectly placed to do this. They have always been in the business of content curation in one form or another; picking feature topics, news and ideas presented to them, choosing the most appropriate and placing their own spins on it.
If you’re editing a business title on health, you can’t afford to regularly produce video to support your news features. Why bother, when the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, UK Parliament, No 10, Sky and thousands of others have spent money doing it already? We say, why re-invent the wheel? Why feel pressured to film the Junior Health Minister on a certain new initiative when the major networks have already done it and are happy for the content to be used?
It doesn’t stop there either. Northcliffe recently announced that in its view, by 2020, almost 50% of its content will be user generated. What a great opportunity for publishers. This is a trend that’s being followed by other newspaper groups around the World, as well. We added a citizen journalism feature to Videobuilder specifically for this reason and we’re shortly adding a mobile citizen journalism products to our stable too called PressApp, designed specifically to help newspapers & magazines build up stocks of UGC. OK, so a video filmed by a reader of a bus stuck under a bridge might be a little shaky, but so what? It’s great content, it’s relevant, it’s immediate, and the editor has a fantastic opportunity he never had before, which is to create value from 3rd party content he’s not had to pay to create. And assuming Northcliffe’s correct in its assumption, I can only assume that the users who supply this content will also read the newspaper or magazines that they’re supplying the content for. What a great way to create a loyal readership!
Where next for magazines and video?
The majority of magazine publishers still have some way to go but it’s not difficult to get started and a great opportunity. I read in The Metro recently that 45% of 18-25 year olds now prefer video as their favoured method of receiving information. As a publisher of information, you cannot ignore this. Those that are embracing it are seeing huge success. Those that are ignoring it are putting themselves in great danger, some fatally I’m sad to see.
Making video content’s now easy. Where it starts getting exciting is where publishers are starting to be creative in find ways of getting hold of it and republishing it A parenting magazine in Holland recently ran an advertiser sponsored video competition and received 230 web video entries; all of it totally unique content. Another regional paper is using Videobuilder to run a Battle of the Bands competition on their newspaper website.
The next major opportunity is mobile. The technology exists to allow editorial teams to request, receive, moderate and virally publish user-generated video and images from readers or journalists in minutes. For regional newspaper publishers that have set their sites on UGC, this will form a vital element of their content strategies over the next few years.
The advertising opportunities offered by this technology are also huge. PressApp will give publishers the ability to sell advertising based on their reader’s geographic location, which is enormously exciting for regional newspapers.
Thank you very much and good luck with the launch of PressApp