Politico is doubling down on their video production efforts with the debut of a new, snazzy “Driving the Day” video series featuring Anna Palmer, Manu Raju, Alex Burns, and Jake Sherman. Much of the Washington-based media, including The Hill, WaPo, USA Today, and Politico have already made forays into digital video -with middling results. Poor audio quality, along with on-screen talent better suited for print have been hallmarks of the online political video genre. But Politico‘s latest venture -complete with theme music and cable net-style intro sequence -is a marked escalation in production values over their competitors.
It’s no surprise that the political media would be eager to put their talent in front of cameras. It’s good business. Indeed, Politico pioneered a web-to-cable strategy that is largely credited with their meteoric rise to prominence. The website is housed in the same Arlington office building as fellow Allbritton Communications property WJLA ABC 7, and was able to take advantage of the station’s satellite hook-up to feed their reporters remotely onto the cable news channels.* The result was an explosion in name recognition for the brand as well as for the stable of reporters who could easily offer analysis on MSNBC or CNN without those networks having to do the work of bringing them in-studio.
Now, all the other DC pubs are following suit and web videos are a part of the strategy -essentially serving as sophisticated cable news audition videos for print talent. But Politico is still at the leading edge. Palmer, Raju, Burns, and Sherman are hardly as television-ready as say, Patrick Gavin -who was one of top contenders to replace Howie Kurtz on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” but Politico clearly believes in them enough to give them a platform to develop their skills.
*Update, 2.19.14, 8:26 PM: It should also be noted that Politico had a partnership early on with “Face the Nation” and CBS News which resulted in John Harris, Jim VandeHei, and other Politico personalities making many appearances on that network prior to and coinciding with appearances on cable channels.