The Financial Times could move its video content behind its paywall, Stephen Pinches, lead product manager, told an industry gathering today.

The FT's videos, which include individual series such as long-form interview programme View From the Top, are currently free to view, but this has been a predominantly technology-driven decision, said Pinches, who was part of a panel discussing the future of video, organised by Beet.tv.

"It's not a given that video should be free. Some of the most valuable content we have is video content," he said, adding that the value comes from both user engagement and a premium on video advertising.

"We're going to see a transition of video behind that paywall, but it's going to be a gradual thing over the next few months."

Describing the FT's approach to video, Pinches said there is a question of how to add value to analysis and thought-led pieces through visual imagery. Figures from the title's iPhone app which have suggested people spend an average of 14 minutes using the application, are a positive sign for long-form multimedia content, including video, he added.

The Financial Times has invested in people when it comes to video production and investing in video technology has followed on from this, said Pinches. Investing in technology first can be problematic for publishers because of the rapid pace at which it can change and become outdated. Investing in people can help publishers adapt to this problem in terms of providing multimedia, he said.

The FT will, however, soon switch to a new video player for its site, swapping its current Maven platform for a Brightcove product. A sophisticated editing and production suite is also in the pipeline.

Having a core team of video specialists has been a priority, but the FT is now starting to move from a centralised video unit to encouraging other members of its newsroom to produce video.

"We are currently publishing between 200-300 videos a month. The next challenge is going to be moving that out to all our journalists," he said.

Despite the economic downturn and its impact on the publishing industry, the FT's commitment to and investment in multimedia has not been curbed. Advertising interest in video is strong and this means that investment in this area has increased, said Pinches.

Videos on the FT's site now generate more than one million views a month and this figure is expected to grow, said Pinches. The title is also exploring syndication opportunities for its video content amongst corporate clients.

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