Micah Gelman, the paper’s director of video: “YouTube is a place that people come to watch video specifically. People are much more accepting of a pre-roll experience there….We can sell [YouTube] in a way that we cannot sell Facebook.” (Photo: Jack Pagano, Ariana Television Network)
The Washington Post is not as enthralled with Facebook as a secondary digital distribution platform as many other legacy publishers and broadcasters are.
In fact, said Post Director of Video Micah Gelman at TVNewsCheck’s NewsTechForum today, after its own platform, the most lucrative outlet for the Post’s expanding video output is YouTube.
“YouTube is a place that people come to watch video specifically,” he said. “People are much more accepting of a pre-roll experience there. They’ve built up a lot of experience doing that.”
Because of the pre-roll and the “TV-style” experience, he said, “we can sell it in a way that we cannot sell Facebook.”
The Post’s relationship with Facebook, on the other hand, has been “up and down,” he said.
“We’ve done a lot of Facebook Live and we’ve done some Facebook VOD,” he said. It’s “very important for expanding awareness … but when you are looking for monetization, I think YouTube.”
Gelman said the Post experiments on many platforms. “But we are pretty rigorous about it, making sure there is a return where we can see a path to monetization, of subscription or building audience.
“It’s not a ‘set it and forget it’ relationship with any of these platforms. We want to make sure we are constantly evaluating what the return is and tweaking and moving as we need to be.”
According to Gelman, the Post offers around 75 video stories a day, 30 or so from the Associated Press, Reuters and other news organizations, the rest from its own video production operation.
The Post’s interest in YouTube contributed to a decision to bring on stronger, experienced video and TV personalities this year, he said. “We see them as really geared toward growing our YouTube audience.
“The internet craves personality; it craves voice,” he said. “So, this is a way to give voice to what had largely been voiceless, nameless news packages.
“The narrative journalism of the mini-docs is beautiful, but they don’t necessarily connect you with the reporter voice.”
Gelman said that the Post has mostly gone outside the company for these personalities — Buzzfeed, CNN, PBS’s Nova and the Food Network.
The Post is even trying a bit of humor, he said. “It’s a little bit of a dangerous space, but we have always had political cartoons, we have always had a funny section of the paper so, I think, this is the next evolution of that.”
For complete NewsTECHForum coverage, click here.