As the pace that we consume media and information continues to quicken, traditional news media is looking at new, shorter formats for getting stories out there.
“There’s a very large audience that’s accustomed to these very short videos.” Lerer Ventures Partner Eric Hippeau told Bloomberg News. Hippeau was on the program to discuss NBC’s recent acquisition: Now This News, a startup that produces short, snappy video-based news stories. Now This News was founded by Kenneth Lerer, one of the co-founders of the Huffington Post who has made good choices investing in non-traditional news sources like Buzzfeed.
Now This News is certainly untraditional, since the startup produces hyper-short news clips designed to be shared. They’re often shorter than a longish sneeze and designed to fit on social platforms. Now This News editor-in-chief Ed O’Keefe is the former digital executive producer for ABC News, but ABC News clips look like uncut Lars von Trier movies compared to the fizzy, whiplash-fast videos his new gig creates.
Hippeau’s company backs Now This News, so he was in a good position to argue the merits of the startup’s extremely short (6, 10, and 15 second) videos.
Now This News offers these videos in many formats—you can download the company’s mobile app for Android or iOS, you can go to the website, or you can follow them on a variety of social media, where they posts clips. The company’s use of Vine is especially impressive, creating specific material for the looping video-sharing network that manages to entertain and inform. Take this extremely condensed explanation of Blockbuster’s demise:
The Instagram material takes advantage of a slightly longer playing time:
NBC’s decision to invest in a company like Now This News suggests the sometimes-wildly-flailing network recognizes the need to develop content specifically for new forms of media like Snapchat, Vine, and Instagram. Facebook may still be working on fixing its messed-up newsfeed, but the three newer, image-and-video oriented platforms make it much easier to surface content from specific publishers, and their young user demographics are coveted—it’s clear now that young people are not consuming media in the same way as their parents, and news broadcasts and daily papers are not as appealing compared to shorter, digital, story-specific news programs that can be watched or read through a mobile device.
Facebook has certainly rewired its newsfeed into being something of a newspaper, and since becoming more of a news aggregator Facebook’s traffic has skyrocketed. The revelations from Now This News suggest other, smaller, more specific social networks could very well be doing the same.