The UK publishing arm of the media giant plans to make thousands of videos a year for it’s UK websites.
News UK, the U.K. publishing arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, said it plans to invest millions in the creation of thousands of videos a year for the Sun and Times websites. The new videos will focus on original content, including sponsored content, in-house ads, and more than 100 live streams a month using Facebook Live.
The U.K. publisher is betting big on video as the popularity of audio-visual content grows. One of the reasons for the company’s focus on video is the shift to mobile as the primary way people access content. According to the News UK announcement at the Cannes Lions advertising festival, 80 percent of web traffic to the Sun and thirty-five percent of web traffic on The Times comes from mobile devices.
“This is a significant moment in the U.K. news industry marking the point where video becomes one of our major output formats,” Derek Brown, head of the video at News UK, told The Guardian.
The company is not alone in pursuing a strategy focused on video. To reach its ambitious goal of 40,000 pieces of video content in 2016, Time Inc. recently partnered with Wochit, which operates a cloud-based platform for video creation. Time Inc. also recently launched Instant, a mobile-first, all-video digital platform.
Tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing) has also expressed an interest in investing heavily in the video. Recently, its chairman Michael Ferro said the company plans to use artificial intelligence to try and produce as many as 2,000 videos a day.
The moves into video come at an exciting time as publishers and advertisers try to find the right way to connect with audiences. Traditional display ads have become increasingly annoying to consumers who are showing their displeasure by blocking ads. A recent PageFair report said as many as 420 million smartphone users globally block ads, a more than 90 percent increase in one year. And that number is expected to continue to grow.
While many have looked to video as the answer, it isn’t clear if video advertising is more efficient. A recent study found that as many as 90 percents of people skip pre-roll ads, and of the few who watch the commercials, even less remember them.
“There’s no question the advertising industry is facing complex challenges today, as consumers suffer from ad blindness and are increasingly opting out,” said Mark Popkiewicz, Mirriad’s CEO.
“With only ten percent of online video and traditional TV viewers experiencing all ads, and most of them not recalling the brands and their messages, it’s high time that the industry responded to the problem with some new solutions that are both engaging and respectful of the audience. We believe one such solution is native in-video advertising, where brands are integrated authentically into popular entertainment content at scale.”
This is probably part of the push by News UK to focus on video. A big part of the company’s plan includes the creation of native advertising and sponsored content, ditching the pre-roll for original videos that are part content, part marketing/advertising effort.
Beyond the investment in video, News Corp more broadly is also planning to begin creating vertical ads, another nod the increased focus on mobile. This effort will start with The New York Post, in the U.S., and The Sun, in the U.K., but will eventually expand to all its properties, including the Wall Street Journal.
“Ultimately, you have to go where the consumers are and do what they want, and increasingly they prefer vertical video,” Dominic Carter, the chief commercial officer for News UK, told Digiday.
News Corp certainly has its eye on the consumer and their preferences and are trying to accommodate them. Now they will see if the significant investment leads to significant returns.