Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 17-23 | Your News & Comments: Part 4

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22 comments:

  1. Getting back to the "crappy video" thread--reporters are required to shoot video and write up a story, all this while an editor is standing over them to "get this on the web." Time spent making a video look professional takes time away from writing up a coherent story on deadline. If you come back from a fire scene for example chances are you still have to make some follow-up phone calls. I am sure the reporters are just as embarrassed by the childish videos as anyone else, but they met the requirement.

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    1. For only $12/month you, too can view the video on the Top Story of the Day at http://www.tallahassee.com
      Today's offering: Garden of the Month.

      I'm NOT kidding.

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    2. That would be this video. Seems to me it would have worked as well -- and perhaps even better -- as a still-photo slideshow.

      The garden owner is shown seated the entire time, rather than, say, weeding, planting or some other type of gardening activity.

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  2. How is USA Today's website reader-unfriendly? Videos attached to the top of stories are set to auto play when you pull the story up. Basically, you have to "opt out" of the video's playing every time. Plus, It slows the loading of pages.

    Now, I realize auto play boosts the number of views a given video receives, but how many of those views are just a few seconds long before a reader stops it?

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    1. A tip... if you are using Firefox to browse the web (which as an IT professional I do recommend) you can stop flash content from automatically playing by following the steps below. This will work for all sites that try to force you to listen/view media content without your specific consent. If you want to see or listen to such content, you will just click on the arrow to "activate Adobe flash" which will appear in the blank box where the video will play only if you want it to.
      _______________________
      DIRECTIONS

      Open Firefox.

      Type in the address bar the command
      about:config

      Click on the "I'll be careful" button

      Type in the search box the command
      plugins.click_to_play

      Double click on "plugins.click_to_play" and it will change the setting from "false" to "true"

      You can then just click on the home button and proceed with your browsing.
      ______________________________

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    2. Better solution: Hit the back button and leave the damn website. Life's too short to be forced to watch crappy videos.

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    3. Worst news website around. I hope they redesighn the redesign asap.

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  3. Jim! Yo! Where is all the Gannett news? No one comes here to get tech support tips.

    Grandma's slow, but she's dead! What's your excuse?

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  4. Actually, 3:03's instructions are very helpful. Thanks.

    And you've put your finger on one of the maddening things about the USA Today site -- the auto roll of videos. What's more, they often are 30 second videos. Who's going to wait through that?

    USA Today has put a priority on videos, even terrible ones, because of the favorable ad rates over photo galleries or stories.

    Here's the question -- of all those fabulous video view reports circulated each month at USA Today, how many were actually watched for more than, say, 5 or 10 seconds? I bet darn few. And fewer still made it through the ad to the actual video.

    Digital experts: How long does a video have to roll to be counted for advertiser purposes?

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    1. 7:06, it generally has less to do with the time of viewing than what used to be called the "handshaking" between a user's browser and the ad-server. In this context, handshaking occurs when a browser says to a server "hey, I'm here, send me some content and plant a 'beacon' on my computer." For the handshaking to occur the video has to start to play which is why many sites start them auomatically I think.

      I don't know what arrangements Gannett has made with its advertisers but for the industry as a whole there are generally accepted standards on how ad views are served and measured. You may want to look at http://www.iab.net/guidelines/508676/digitalvideo/509291?tid=2426832.

      Having said all of that I should note that my field is not advertising, it is technology. What I have described are just the general principles of how video advertising is served. Gannett could have elected to do something quite different from the norm, of course.

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    2. 1 nanosecond. ;-)

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  5. At the web site of my local newspaper, all videos are preceded by a 30-second ad. Since my interest in the video is casual, at best, I never click on a video because I don't want to spend 30 seconds on an ad.

    I really, really don't understand this push for local video. It's amateurish, it's not compelling, and I have to waste time on an ad. WHY would I want to watch it?

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    1. I'd guess the goal is to create inventory: X thousands of videos annually across the Gannett network so the national sales folks can sell pre-rolls to Procter & Gamble, Ford, etc.

      In the end, as with all such initiatives, success will be measured by how much additional business those marketers attribute to the ads. Do they get results? If not, failure.

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    2. The online template we use defaults to video as a thumbnail image with each story, and the hope for national advertising preroll revenue fuels the push by local management for moving pictures with every story. Meanwhile, my community's core advertisers have pulled away, at least recently.

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  6. I use AdblockPlus and never see preroll ads on my newspaper's website (along with 90 percent of the other ads served up on the site). I even have it loaded on my work computer. I certainly don't have time at work to fool with ads.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. But you do have time to post here. Interesting.

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    3. 3:00 AM vs. 12:02 PM? Which is more likely during work hours? Curious.

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    4. It's someone from orporate defending the company on this site.

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    5. 8:01 a.m. is a better guess, 8:01.

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  7. We can talk about technology until the cows come home, but the one thing that we are sure of is that for every technique ad purveyors want to use to get consumers to see their ads, there will be a technological answer for those who don't want to see them. Others will quickly leave the web page if they can't or don't want to spend the time to ad-proof their browsers because the reward isn't there to stay and watch.

    Of course, consumers need to understand and accept that with any service offered for "free" on the web, the "payment" is to view an ad, one way or another. In my opinion, the answer is to make the content so compelling that consumers will accept the ads. If you doubt that contention, think about whether you'd happily endure a video ad in order to view a film of police silently walking around a wrecked car for a while, or would more happily endure the same ad if seeing the latest episode of "Game of Thrones" was your ultimate reward.

    I know I'm preaching to the choir here (hey, it's Sunday), but it all relates to the quality of content presented to the consumer. You don't get that quality when you indiscriminately gut your reporting and editing staff. Consumers need to believe that whatever you are producing is fascinating, entertaining, and/or crucial to their lives. They have to NEED what you are doing. That kind of reporting comes from old-fashioned knowledge of communities and customer bases and what they want. Treating editors, publishers, and reporters like machine parts and shipping them around the country doesn't lead to the production of relevant content that will ensure the prosperity of the product in a given local community. The demand for good content is there. Invest more in the quality of the product and the ad views and consumers will come.

    Just my opinion.

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Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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