As MTV Web News Goes Shorter, Traffic Pops Up

A revamped editorial approach seems to have breathed new life into MTV News on the Web.

Earlier this year, the section’s editors began carving up their text stories into smaller, blog-like entries with more provocative headlines. They took a similar approach to video, breaking longer interviews up into shorter snippets that were easily shared among users.

The result has been a flood of new users and traffic. During third  quarter 2008, the section averaged 2.5 million unique video viewers and 5.3 million streams. During this past third quarter, the section drew 3.5 million uniques and nearly 10 million streams–increases of 40 percent and 88 percent, respectively.

“We have this great access to talent, and we need to take advantage of it,” said David Sirulnick, executive vp for multiplatform production at MTV News. “About a year ago, we were in all the places that we are now. But we now produce more content over the course of a day.”

For example, in the past, an interview with someone like Jay-Z might have yielded a 1,000-word story, “But there might be a totally fascinating nugget in paragraph six. Now we make it its own piece.”

The same approach is taken with video, the idea being to provide users more opportunities to discover content. “Our users live in a search and social universe,” said MTV News, vp, Ben Wagner. “So this is about more, shorter and faster.”