How the UK Tabloids use video: The Star

This week I’m looking at the way the UK tabloid newspapers use video taking one newspaper a day. Yesterday it was The Sun and today it’s the The Star.

Owned by Northern and Shell Media Publications who also own the Express, which I’ll be looking at later this week, the Star sits firmly in the mass market tabloid market.

The platform.

The Star's video player
The Star’s video player

The Star’s video offering is clearly available from the main menu with a ‘Star Videos’ link on every page. Clicking this takes you to a Jukebox player powered by Roo which splits the content in to sections but has none of the recommended or featured sections that others have. Many of the subsection pages have a small ‘featured video’ box highlighting two videos but the editorial selection of these is, well, questionable.

The featured news - Gordon Brown does Wii fit shock! Maybe not
The featured news – Gordon Brown does Wii fit shock! Maybe not

The presentation.
The video itself is mix of Star produced/commissioned content and bought in feeds which splits pretty much along the lines of news from The Press Association and Reuters and then anything with a ‘babe’ in it.

At least I can’t complain about the pre-roll ads at the Star. They don’t have any. Instead they have hit on the great wheeze of putting all the TV ads in the video player as content.

Credit where credit is due there is some in house video. This includes breaking the world record for eating six Ferrero Rocher in one minute and an interview with street magician Dynamo. The Dynamo piece is the only thing (outside the Reuters and PA content) that approaches a package and it’s not bad.

But that’s about it.

Overall.
No, that really is about it. Yesterday I commented that, if the broadsheets where a department store, the Sun was a Market. That makes the Star a seedy newsagents. Imagine a shop where there was one newspaper, a few days old, and the rest of the shelves where full of lads, TV and wrestling mags.

Not that it doesn’t aim at the right market. Like the Sun the mix of babes and celebs is where it pitches the paper, but the Sun does it better. It has a better mix of content and much ‘richer’ mix. The Star is just a nod to video, nothing more or less.

I actually found the whole thing pretty depressing. I know that in this part of the market that newspapers are morphing in to something else, like a daily gossip magazine, but this feels pretty cynical. When I see a video of a woman in a Bikini working out on a Wii highlighted as a top news story that’s a bit depressing.No offense to the lady I hope she got well paid.

Still, when a similar video appeared on Youtube even the mid-market papers picked it up so perhaps I’m being harsh. But at least they linked rather than ripping it off. And perhaps that’s the problem. The video offering from The Star is a very, very poor imitation of everything that the others are doing.

When you load the player a message appears it says

Online TV is very popular and can take a little while to appear, but its worth it!

No. It isn’t.

Tomorrow it’s The Mirror

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