Pre-roll idents should go

Steve Outing talks about Newspapers in an unbundled world in an article over at Editor and Publisher

The whole article draws a number of parallels with the changing distribution and business the models the music industry deal with and the problems newspapers are facing.  Steve highlights ways that we can learn from the music biz’s move from a model that was based on buying a CD to a more open model of music shareing:

As many a music and tech industry pundit has pronounced lately, the CD is nearly dead.

Anybody notice the parallel with newspapers?

It’s Interesting stuff and a worthwhile take on trying to get people to understand the way the newspaper industry is changing (interestingly Howard Owens takes music as his theme for expanding on the development of online video.)

Outings main point seems to be get your content out there rather than expect people to come to you and you will benefit from this new consumption and distribution model.

He has specific advice for video:

If you’re going to the trouble and expense of getting into video news, then make sure you spread it around; don’t horde it on your own website and expect that to be enough.

Unlike some of the TV networks these days — which send out the lawyers when one of their clips gets uploaded to YouTube by zealous fans — newspaper companies should jump for joy that their video work can be distributed and seen by Youtube’s huge audience. Think about getting your video work on multiple video services (there are lots of them).

Important, of course, is effectively incorporating your branding onto the videos. In caption fields, include the URL to get viewers to your website. Include a watermark logo in the video, and an intro that covers who produced this video, and perhaps sponsors.

Just as with newsworthy photos and Flickr, major news video can attract a significant audience on Youtube, et al. Newspaper companies should take advantage of what these online video services can offer in terms of exposure. And don’t just tolerate your video work showing up on such services — actively encourage and promote it!

Radical stuff for an industry that still (for the majority) cant get beyond thinking that online is a way to get more people reading your newspaper rather than developing new audiences. Give our stuff away! Why would we do that?

But I’m not going there (not today) What piqued my interest was the idea of branding your content to get your name out there.

Pre-roll overload

I’ve been watching a lot of online video lately just to keep an eye in and as part of my training course with newspaper journo’s and the issue of branding became one of those things that bugged me.

A lot of the other video I watched had 3 sometime 10 second pre-roll idents. Little music and graphic stabs that told you, usually with a whooshing noise or an explosion, that you where watching video from the dailywherever.com. For an immediate medium I was waiting a long time to get the info I wanted – the actual video

We already know that users are pretty intolerant of pre-roll ads in video and no matter how much we kid ourselves, our indents are pre-roll ads. And before anyone says that users will live with that as the price for better quality video, let’s not forget where that debate gets us.

So a circle to be squared here.

How do we take advantage, as Outing suggests, of this brave new world and put our content out there whilst still making it work for us if the way we brand our content winds the user up?

On a practical level my view would be go post-roll and watermark the video with a small graphic in the corner.

But on a broader level maybe, if we are still hoping to leverage our brand ‘control’ our content and funnel users from these community spaces, we still don’t really ‘get’ how these spaces work.

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