Many media companies have added video to the production department's functions
By Mark J. Miller
Digital responsibilities continue to challenge printcentric production departments at b-to-b media companies. Increasingly, online video is one of many digital tasks claiming a larger chunk of production department hours.
The upside, of course, is that publishers are discovering that online video not only builds a larger audience but also creates additional inventory for advertisers. “Video continues to be one of the key drivers of digital media transformation in b-to-b,” said Scott Carr, senior VP-CTO at PennWell Corp., publisher of Oil & Gas Journal. “There is a strong value for our audience, and our delivery capabilities make it extremely attractive to advertisers and agency media buyers—who now can reach their critical demographics like never before.”
Carr said PennWell has steadily ramped up its video production over the last two years. The company's investment in video has doubled in that time, he added.
“We are now showing video to our audience not only through our digital media-branded websites but also through our other digital media platforms—specifically our apps on the iPhone, iPad and Android,” he said. “We are seeing strong growth, and the number of active videos we now keep as part of our content distribution is significantly higher than what we had two years ago.”
IDG Enterprise, which publishes Computerworld, has its own full studio with HD digital equipment. Clients can choose from different video formats, such as one-on-one interviews or “Skype-style” interviews, according to Terri Sanford-Cook, IDG Enterprise's executive producer of multimedia.
With all of these technology resources and knowledge, IDG Enterprise's production department has the capability to create and distribute the content completely based on a client's needs. The IDG Enterprise video production team is made up of six people who all have broadcast TV, film and interactive backgrounds. “Everyone is able to handle all aspects within the video and/or digital interactive realm,” Sanford-Cook said.
Not every b-to-b media company has the deep pockets of an IDG Enterprise, but even smaller publishers are embracing the possibilities of online video. Blood-Horse Publications, which publishes such titles as Blood-Horse, doesn't have the budget to maintain a studio like IDG Enterprise's, but it is boosting its video presence nonetheless.
“We continue to streamline our productions since efficiency is very important in working with a small staff that fills multiple roles,” said Alex Cutadean, a videographer at Blood-Horse. “We've scaled back the production level on certain projects when the expenditure was not crucial in conveying our message.” He said Blood-Horse continues to attempt the highest production values possible, but the company's audience has let it be known that it prefers having more video content available rather than top production values.
Reacting to its readers' demands, the company has built on its traditional coverage in the field by having reporters use iPhones to film and distribute interviews. Cutadean said that this has reduced the time it takes to get the content to end users. It also allows the company to use more employees as correspondents and videographers.
The knowledge barrier is much lower when you're using an iPhone to record than when you've got a full video setup to maneuver. The acceptance level for iPhone-quality video has grown in recent years. As Internet video has become ubiquitous, consumers have, in turn, become more accepting. “In the world of news reporting, it can be more important to show something less than optimal instead of nothing at all,” Cutadean said.
Marco Aguilera, lead art director at UBM Canon, which publishes Medical Device+ Diagnostic Industry, said that his group is introducing a few technical upgrades and procedures into its work flow. “We are now delivering our finished videos to branded YouTube channels for all of our publications and divisions,” Aguilera said.
As to the future, IDG Enterprise's Sanford-Cook said that she sees her department as one that increasingly combines online videos, mobile device videos and social media.