Video Without The Pivot
As you can see in the research above, the ‘pivot to video’ was bad news for journalists, and a mixed bag for publishers. There was an initial spike in revenue, but then a decline in readership. It was a sugar hit that left publishers with an unpleasant comedown.
That approach eroded the ultimate value of a news-brand, because it came at the expense of real newsgathering work.
But the research-to-video tool demonstrated above began as a project to build trust — and therefore brand value and audience retention - and only deployed video as a means to that end.
With it, digital first news publishers can create a new kind of video that leverages and elevates the work of gathering information and checking facts, creating an epistemological audit trail and simultaneously an intimate and engaging piece of behind-the-scenes video content. They can have it both ways, cheap and fast (but relevant and informative) video content, plus the kind of trust that only transparency can earn.
This will give the genuine knowledge creators in the ecosystem a double advantage over the free-riders.
Our first publisher-user Scott M Stedman of Forensic News, saw this advantage expressed in increased conversions from casual reader to financial supporter. He increased the number and dollar value of these conversions, when we compared articles with similar reach, one with a Stone research portal, and one without. Overall he more than doubled the value of his haul.
We haven’t reviewed the data in more detail since then, but we do know he has continued to use Stone consistently, and recently had the single best day’s fundraising ever.
This is only a very preliminary experiment, but its results make sense. What else would you expect?
How could the inclusion of video content in what had been text only containing a literal display of effort not strengthen a call to action like “support our journalism?”
Video works. Transparency works. But you have to walk the talk.
If you’re a journalist or blogger, or just someone who likes to back up their online opinions with evidence, download Stone now and give it a try.