I’m a great believer in the “rule of three.” It’s a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than some other number of things.
For example, Gert Fröbe says in the 1964 James Bond film, Goldfinger, “They have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.’”
So, alarm bells went off when three stories in three days suggested that the video news landscape was undergoing significant shifts.
7,000 Hours of News-Related Video Uploaded to YouTube Daily
On Dec. 19, 2012, Tom Sly, Director of Content Partnerships for News and Education, posted an item on the YouTube Blog entitled, “News on YouTube: 2012 in Review.” Without appearing to be concerned about competitors, he reminded YouTube’s news partners that
“our 800 million users around the world head to YouTube to better understand what just happened, from multiple perspectives. For years, YouTube has been the global living room - today’s it’s becoming a global newsroom.”
Sly went on to say, “2012 was a year in which one of the most respected voices in reporting, The Associated Press, hit one billion views on YouTube - a milestone only reached by a few dozen channels in YouTube history, and shared this year by one of the newest voices in reporting, Phil De Franco.”
Then, following the rule of three, he added:
- It was a year in which one of the world's most exciting stories on Earth came in the form of a four frames-per- second video from Mars.
- It was a year in which The Weather Channel live-streamed its coverage of Hurricane Sandy for more than 70 hours, to millions of people who would have struggled to get the news any other way.
- And it was a year in which people from more than 200 countries tuned in to youtube.com/politics to watch the US Presidential Elections.
Sly concluded, “We’re proud of our news partners, and the work they do to bring the events of the world to their growing audiences around the world.”
That’s got to be the tightest embrace since New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s “bearhug”of President Barack Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
And it was followed by an infographic that YouTube put together with the help of Nieman Journalism Lab and Storyful. The top headline reads: “7,000 HRS OF NEWS-RELATED VIDEO UPLOADED TO YOUTUBE DAILY.”
Boston Globe, WBZ-TV Launch a Collaboration
On Dec. 17, 2012, The Boston Globe and CBS Boston’s WBZ-TV announced that the two media powerhouses in New England will join together showcase exclusive news, video and weather on the web. For example, video forecasts WBZ-TV’s team of AccuWeather meteorologists started appearing that day on the home page of Boston.com, with updates five times each day.
The collaboration between the Globe and WBZ-TV incorporate the Globe’s Emmy Award-winning videos with WBZ-TV’s legacy of award-winning reporting and photojournalism, additional interviews and analysis by Globe reporters on the scene and in the newsroom, and early access to Globe polls. WBZ-TV also previews breaking news and other exclusive stories that will appear in the next day’s Globe, including projects by the Globe’s Spotlight investigative team.
The Globe and WBZ-TV News have both earned numerous, prestigious awards for journalism excellence. In the past year alone, the Globe won nine regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and six national awards for video investigative reporting, use of video, the website, and writing. Video awards cited coverage of the capture and return of James “Whitey” Bulger, investigative video reporting on the high number of DUI acquittals by Massachusetts judges, and a feature video on the sounds of the Deer Island sewage treatment plant. WBZ-TV News won six awards from The Massachusetts Broadcasters’ Association, including the highest honor of Station of the Year.
In June 2012, the Globe and WBZ-TV News each won seven National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Boston/New England Emmy Awards. The Globe took top honors for visual and multimedia storytelling, including awards for outstanding documentary and outstanding arts/entertainment coverage, and outstanding feature coverage. Among its many awards, WBZ-TV News won for outstanding reporting, investigations, writing, and team coverage.
NDN ranks as 2nd Online Video Content Property in Nov. 2012
On Dec. 18, 2012, comScore released the November 2012 U.S. online video rankings. More than 182 million U.S. Internet users watched nearly 40 billion online content videos that month.
Google Sites, driven primarily by video viewing at YouTube.com, continued to rank as the top online video content property in November 2012 with 153 million unique viewers. But that isn’t news. According to comScore, YouTube.com has been the top online video content property since July 2006.
In November 2012, the new news was that NDN (News Distribution Network) ranked second with 55.7 million unique viewers, followed by Facebook.com with 53.8 million, Yahoo! Sites with 52.3 million and VEVO with 52 million.
In October 2012, Yahoo! Sites had ranked second with 55.3 million unique viewers, followed by NDN in third place with 53.2 million.
In September 2012, NDN ranked eighth with 40.5 million unique viewers. In August 2012, NDN ranked eighth with 37.5 million unique viewers. In July 2012, NDN ranked eighth with 35.1 million unique viewers.
In June 2012, NDN wasn’t in the top 10 U.S. online video content properties ranked by unique video viewers. So, NDN has come out of left field in less than six months to rank second as of November.
Who is NDN (News Distribution Network)?
As Paul News asks in the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, “Who are those guys?”
According to Lucia Moses of Adweek, “News Distribution Network isn’t a household name, but news consumers sure watch a lot of the videos the company distributes.” She adds, “NDN has grown because online publishers can’t get enough video content (and the ad dollars that come with it). The company's selling point is that it provides the platform and video content and sells the advertising at no cost to its partner publishers—while giving content creators wider distribution for their video content. And NDN makes its bones by keeping the majority of the ad revenue, while giving publishers and content creators a cut. Among its 4,500 partners are the New York Post, New York Daily News, Los Angeles Times, and Forbes.”
Will the News Wars Move to Online Video in 2013?
Now, if you ask me, I’ll tell you that these three stories represent the opening shots of a video news war. I think they’re the modern equivalent of the newspaper wars of 1896. I believe they’re the most significant shift in the journalistic landscape since the news search engine wars of 2004.
But, if you asked the stormtrooper in the 1977 film Star Wars, he’d say, “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for…. You can go about your business…. Move along, move along.”
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