Opinions

NewFront Day 1 Wrap-up: Part 1

Posted by Katharine Panessidi on April 28th, 2014 at 10:32 pm

New York Times' CEO Mark Thompson says that the company is wholeheartedly behind the push into video, and going to back it with the investment and resources to help you meet your marketing needs.

The company’s big message today was, “We are The New York Times, and there is nothing like us when it comes to journalistic integrity.” Which, as a marketer, is one reason to believe that partnering with them will lend credibility. Another reason to invest in NYT video is its extraordinary reach across print and online.

Meredith Kopit Levien, EVP of Advertising explained that their sponsorships foster native experiences via branded playlists, where “marketing storytelling” aka branded content is shown alongside NYT video storytelling. Their first branded video partnership launched today with Sotheby’s show called “Extraordinary Angles,” taking you into some of most beautiful homes in the world. http://vimeo.com/album/2771367. Acura has also signed on to be their premium sponsor, though details of this sponsorship were not divulged.

The big reveal in my opinion was that NYT has joined forces with Vimeo to co-produce shows. http://vimeo.com/newyorktimes. This appears to be a win-win: NYT adds credibility to Vimeo and differentiates it from its competitors with unique programming, while Vimeo provides experienced, creative production chops.

NYT has built a channel ecosystem, launching 30 series including the transformation of written columns into videos in cool and unexpected ways. As Kopit Levien said, “It’s video – formerly known as television.” And maybe it’s video – formerly known as your favorite NYT column.

Bottom line: Consumers want choice – to be the curators of the content they watch – but is that the extent of the interactivity for NYT video? And is branded content the creative ad formats for NYT video? These questions were left unanswered. Or maybe no answer is the answer.

BuzzFeed:

Andy Weidlen, CRO of Buzzfeed explained that 3 years ago, the site had 6 million uniques. Today it has 166 million uniques according to Google Analytics. Not surprising when you hear that 1 million people took a quiz in Feb of this year called, “How Would You Die In ‘Game of Thrones?’” http://www.buzzfeed.com/hbogameofthrones/how-would-you-die-in-game-of-thrones… An advertisement.

Weidlen says that video is their next big bet. A year and a half ago, BuzzFeed didn’t have a video business. Then they hired Ze Frank, who is now EVP of Video. He built a full video studio in LA to produce original content and it’s paying off. Jonathan Perelman, GM of Video & Agency Strategy shared that the company recently crossed the 1 billion view threshold on original video content.

Part of the reason video has been so successful for BuzzFeed is Frank’s approach to social, shareable video. He explained that videos worth sharing hone in on one of three things: Identity, Emotion, or Information.

  • Identity: Videos that elicit a feeling of, “this is just like me” become a way to express yourself better than you can… so you share it.
  • Emotion: Videos that elicit a feeling like, “this made me laugh hysterically” inspire people to “emotionally gift.” For example during finals or after a national tragedy you will see a lift in this type of video’s virality as a way for people to care for one another (lift spirits, gift a smile, etc.).
  • Information: Videos that support your views elicit feelings of, “I want you to know this information is important to me,” or “this proves a point I’ve been saying all along…” so you share it.

BuzzFeed has had success working with brand marketers on native video content, including Purina, Clean & Clear, and GE. We were able to see entertaining branded video content from all three advertisers.

Bottom line: So what makes this different? While NYT adds a level of sophistication and credibility, BuzzFeed content focuses on shareability with proven results. It speaks to the way people are consuming media today – as Jonah Peretti said, social and mobile are the new distribution. More than 50% of their traffic is mobile and 86% originates from social. Peretti explains that short-form content, not long-form content, works in mobile and social environments. And while BuzzFeed is investing in long-form content (hiring Mark Schoofs, a serious investigative reporter http://jimromenesko.com/2013/10/21/mark-schoofs-leaves-propublica-to-head-buzzfeeds-investigative-unit/, as well as foreign correspondents), BuzzFeed probably sees the writing on the wall: Brands will invest where they can see and measure positive engagement results = Shareable video that’s mobile friendly. BuzzFeed’s current specialty.

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