BBCThe head of BBC News Interactive wants the corporation to carry less online video and instead concentrate on improving the quality of its offering.

Speaking at the Future of News Conference in London today, Pete Clifton told delegates that he wanted video that complemented stories, rather than repeating the offerings of streamed News 24 or the content of an accompanying text story.

"What I think we need do," he later told "Instead of putting up hundreds of pieces of video every week, is just to be more focused. We want to give them a higher profile so we can get to the point where we can embed them.

"Once we are doing that, I don't think we can afford to disappoint the audience. That's not to say that stuff is badly made, it may just not necessarily complement the text that we have written and it may not just suit the platform that it's on."

Video embedded into stories, he added, was proving to be popular with audiences in early experiments, as they tended to dispense with the traditional news format, instead just showing the footage necessary to enhance the text story sitting beneath the embedded player.

To assist this process, he added, a new on-demand editor had been appointed to source footage more suited to complementing web stories.

"The results from the trial we did with embedded video were hugely positive in terms of the conversion rate of people reading the stories and watching the video," Mr Clifton told the conference.

"With the embedded video, up to 40 per cent of people were watching it. In its normal format, when you watch it in a different place [in a standalone player], it's about two per cent.

"How you present it will really transform this [popularity of web video]; broadband is a huge factor, but another one is the type of video that we put up.

"What irritates the hell out of people is if they click a story which says 'Britain buys 100 new tanks for the war in Afghanistan' they then click on the video and it's just a bloke standing in Whitehall saying 'they’re going to buy 100 new tanks for the war in Afghanistan'. The viewer could say 'you've wasted my time'.

"We have done a lot of that. We have put up hundreds of pieces of video on the news site and too often they have replicated what the story has already said.

"We should think more about what that page does in the round and come up with a piece of video that absolutely complements the text… we should do less video but be much more focused on how it works and give it a higher profile where it can work alongside the story."

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