Web Video is a ‘Different Kind of Medium’

At Internet Week NY, media people discussed the rise of web video and how news organizations are trying to leverage the new medium.

vice panel

internet week

In an Internet Week panel hosted by Vice this morning, media people got together to discuss the rise of online video. “Digital video is a different kind of medium, said Richard Wolffe, executive editor of msnbc.com.  “The video experience on devices is much more immersive, much more immediate.”

Perhaps those qualities are what attracts the younger generation towards the medium. Moderator Duy Linh Tu, professor and director of digital media at Columbia University, marveled at how Vice is able to get a 15-year-old to watch a video about Syria. “We show the dirty angle and people seem to appreciate it,” said Danny Gold, head staff writer at Vice News.

Gold explained how Vice’s cameramen, like those of other newsrooms, will do whatever it takes to get the right shot. “Showing how you get that shot can be very incisive and funny,” he said. It’s those bits, which traditionally end up on the cutting room floor, that gives Vice its edge when it comes to social shareability. Vice’s YouTube channel currently has over 4.6 million subscribers.

Vice is also one of the few news outlets that has found an audience for live video – most notably, Tim Pool’s Google Glass livestream of Istanbul’s protests, a type of content that traditional news organizations seem to be struggling with. “[Live] is one of those things that didn’t work so well for us,” said Justine Simon, senior producer at The New York Times.

On why there has been a rush towards online video for both media outlets and marketers, “people look at the sales numbers and say ‘that’s where you can great CPMs,” said Wolffe. Sadly, many news organizations have yet to make a profit on their video operations.

“The medium is [still] very young,” said Wolffe. “As Jimmy Kimmel has shown us, people are a little gullible about web video right now.”

*featured image via @CappiWill