Local Video Has Narrow Viewership

Media executives believe that they need to throw major resources into video on their local TV and newspaper sites.

They cite studies such as one from Pew Internet and American Life Project, which says that moe than half of all adult Web users have viewed video on sites like YouTube, Facebook and Google+.

Unfortunately, local video draws relatively few eyeballs, no matter how much it is promoted.

Why Local Video is Challenging

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he problem lies with the size of the local audience, the limited number of compelling topics and the amount of work required to produce video.

In the case of TV stations, the labor problem is fairly small because they are already producing video for their newscasts.

“The problem lies with the size of the local audience, the limited number of compelling topics and the amount of work required to produce video.”

That said, placing video on a TV site does take some effort, and TV Web site audiences are much smaller (in most markets) than local newspaper site audiences.

Newspapers have a different problem. They usually have staff photographers who shoot photos with cameras that have video capability.

But their primary task is shooting photos for the print edition. Video is a secondary priority, and it is a separate set of skills.

Although the typical newspaper site is larger, the amount of effort to produce videos is greater.

Finally there is the problem of compelling topics. Millions of people may watch a video on YouTube because it is unique, entertainment or amazing in some way that leads to buzz and sharing.

How often does such an event take place in a single small city or town?

Why Local Video is Worthwhile

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hooting local video is worthwhile to establish a foothold in the technology and learn how to do it. But it’s wise to start small and slowly, building skills and insights before committing too much time, energy and even money.

Consider starting video efforts with feature pieces that have long shelf life, such as profiles of local attractions.

Build a library of such videos and track how many plays each one gets, which ones are more popular and which ones attract viewer comments. The breadth and total number of archived videos will increase the sales opportunities.

Branch out into news fully expecting that some clips will draw big viewership, but that the majority will have relatively few viewers. Try regular weekly programming to get a taste of scheduled programming.

Most of all, keep trying, keep learning and keep expectations low. Video has a bright but distant future for local Web sites.

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