“There needs to be substantially more scale” in digital news video, says Steven Schiffman, The Washington Post’s general manager of video, in an interview with Beet.TV. “Even 20 million video starts is not enough to make this a vibrant business for premium publishers to do what they need to do to create the type of content in the ecosystem,” he said.
The Post has hired more than 30 people for its video initiative, Schiffman says. It now creates more than 30 hours of content and 300-plus clips per month. “But long-term we would love to be able to double down on our investment. We would love to be able to produce 100 hours and 1,000 clips and create really strong, diverse, video content if the revenue model on the top end of the P&L supported that,” he says. “Today we can’t.”
Schiffman says the Post is already pursuing “low-fruit” opportunities, such as embedding videos in articles “where the video essentially tells a broader richer story than just what you could read in the text,” but he has other ideas of solving the revenue riddle, including a consortium of premium publishers: “There’s an opportunity to potentially partner with what might be seen in other industries as a competitor, where other premium publishers along with The Washington Post could band together and create a service that potentially could be very competitive and very valuable to media buyers and advertisers.”