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There was a time when video appeared to fallen out of favour with news outlets, with editors unsure how to tap into changing viewing behaviours across new platforms and devices.

However, if there is one thing the speakers agreed on the opening day of the FT Digital Media conference in London yesterday, it is that video is back.

"I believe that right now most affluent adults are really starting to appropriate video content consumption into their behaviour when they're reading online," said Kevin Gentzel, chief revenue officer at The Washington Post.

"For us [at the Washington Post] it's all about creating more video content that we can lead stories with across more pages."

With the rise of social, distribution both on and off-site is a key thing to consider in order to ensure your videos are getting the attention of users, he added.

"Gone are the days when you just invest heavily in a video studio, and hope [viewers] will come to your video content."

"We're now taking our journalism to where the user is already watching video."

Huffington Post

This idea was backed-up by Huffington Post chief executive Jimmy Maymann, who earlier in the day pointed out that video was becoming increasingly popular on mobile.

"Done right, [online video] works really well on mobile," he said.

He added that higher levels of mobile video consumption reflected a trend in higher traffic from mobile across the Huffington Post network.

"Last year in the US, a third of our audience came via mobile," he said.

"Now it's 50 per cent. So of course we need to think through how this is going to impact on the business."

Maymann referred to the Huffington Post's live video network HuffPost Live, launched in August 2012, which live-streams content 12 hours a day, five days a week.

He noted that although the live experience is "very much a desktop experience, not what you consider mobile", content from HuffPost Live was often repackaged for mobile, with 20-minute video segments cut to two minutes to suit viewing behaviours on tablet and mobile.

"[HuffPost Live] allows us to suddenly be a live-streaming network, increasing engagement on our site," he said. "At the same time it allows us to create a [video] library and put [the content] on mobile in a scaleable way."

Washington Post

Another example of a news outlet innovating in video is the Washington Post's Truth Teller application, which aims to verify claims made in video or audio.

As well as being used on content such as political speeches, debates and past interviews, the Washington Post has also put Truth Teller to a more unusual use – on film trailers.

"This year there have been a lot of movies based on true stories", explained Gentzel, referring to The Wolf on Wall Street as one example of a trailer given the Truth Teller treatment to check details in the film. "It turns out 'The Wolf' of Wall Street was never called 'The Wolf'," he said, "and was not on Wall Street".

Truth Teller Wolf on Wall Street

Truth Teller, he said, allows the Post to "apply journalism and fact-checking in interesting ways".

BuzzFeed
 
Video can also bring an additional revenue stream to news outlets. BuzzFeed produced branded "indigenous" videos in addition to editorial video content centred around news or humour.
 
Jonathan Perelman, general manager of video and vice president of agency strategy, said that since BuzzFeed launched its video platform just over a year ago, the outlet has produced 1,200 to 1,300 videos, and are now producing around 27 videos a week.

"Views are important," he said, "although the way that we look at monetising [video] is not through the traditional pre-roll.

"If you want to watch a video, especially on a mobile device, and there's an ad before you want to watch what you're watching … that's not going to be a good experience for anybody, not for advertiser and certainly not for the consumer."

A more successful way to monetise video, said Perelman, is to work with brands to create "compelling, shareable" content.

Buzzfeed's branded video "lives in the YouTube ecosystem," he explained, "but the idea is to create a video that people want to engage with and want to share, that is also branded."

And what will be the next big thing in video?

Perelman said he believed Facebook video could be "a competitor" to YouTube in the next 12 months.

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