USA TODAY NETWORK Fast-Forwards Video Innovation

By USA TODAY Network InSites Archives
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It is no coincidence USA TODAY NETWORK announced that it doubled down on its commitment to digital video production at virtually the same time eMarketer released its forecast of double digit growth in 2016 video ad spending, as both companies have been anticipating this marketplace trend.  In fact, eMarketer now projects that in 2016 video ad spending will reach $10.3 billion or 14.3% of total digital, a number that is expected to grow to 15.1% in 2017.

To capitalize on this momentum, USA TODAY NETWORK is poised grow audience and ad revenue based on its unique access to content and its vast community connection. To ensure that USA TODAY NETWORK’s video product competes effectively in this “always on” marketplace, Chief Content Officer and Editor-in-Chief Joann Lipman recently hired Russ Torres, a NAACP award winning broadcast news producer and former head of Yahoo! Studios to lead its Digital Video Content and Strategy unit reporting to her.

"Russ is a leader in the video industry, and we are delighted that he is bringing his vision to the USA TODAY NETWORK. Investing in top talent is key to success in building a best-in-class video organization," Lipman said. “As our footprint continues to expand, it is crucial to have a leader who can drive video innovation across our 109 newsrooms, working with multiple platforms and maximizing opportunity to create top-of-the-line video content that touches the lives of more than 100MM people every month.”

USA TODAY NETWORK continues to bolster its commitment to all digital media (including video) in order to broaden the reach of its original newspaper content.  This strategy is consistent with the recent rebranding of the Newspaper Association of America to the News Media Alliance.  The NAA rebrand (announced earlier this month) is a culmination of a larger strategic plan by the association to highlight the news media industries evolution to multi-platform digitally savvy businesses and premium content providers.

To provide perspective to the scope of this investment, USA TODAY NETWORK’s editorial team currently publishes an average of 110 original videos daily across channels and platforms, which is competitive with Buzzfeed, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.  In July, 2016 USA TODAY NETWORK’s For the Winsocial news franchise, reached a new milestone when its Foot Darts video exceeded 50 million views on Facebook. This viral success can be attributed to its bold open, featuring never been seen before images, and the fact that it was produced specifically for the Facebook experience, with fast load times and the option to view it with or without sound.

At its current rate of production, the company will hit 1.2 billion video views across all demos and platforms in 2016. This number is expected grow exponentially in 2017 as online video will be distributed from virtually every media touchpoint to meet increasing consumer demand across devices. 

USA TODAY NETWORK is integrating the best of all media channels (traditional, digital and emerging) to create a platform that appeals to a diverse array of demographic audiences across verticals including News, Life, Money, Tech, Travel and Sports and through innovative applications of technology.  Its VR News Show VRtually is a good example of where it is headed.

With Advertising Week around the corner we will learn more about how the best and the brightest traditional, digital and emerging leaders are preparing for the future.  OMMA Video and others will be discussing potential game changers for the medium including brand storytelling: live broadcasting, social distribution and mobility. They will also explore the evolving rules of video creation, scale, aesthetics and measurement when everyone has a streaming story to tell. USA TODAY NETWORK should be at front and center of the conversation among forward-thinking innovative multi-media companies.

The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of management or associated bloggers. 

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