Wednesday, June 26, 2013

An alternative for The Orion webcast

It's clear video is going to play a growing role on website next fall, but should it take the form of a daily webcast, as it did this year, or something different?

I keep coming back to an iPhone app I downloaded a couple of weeks ago called Now This News. Instead of a video news show, the creators of the app (there's also a website) have decided to produce individual stories structured like TV packages and voiced by different anchor/reporters. The style is closer to news on E! or MTV, but the stories are fairly typical TV news fare.

As Forbes' Jeff Bercovici observed when he described the new service last September, the choice to produce and post individual stories instead of a newscast has several advantages:
• The news doesn't have to fit into a 3-minute or 30-minute wrapper, as a traditional news show does, so filler stories aren't necessary.
• Producers aren't tempted to run stories that are better suited for print because they have time to fill or feel compelled to cover them.
• The individual stories are more likely to be shared on social media, an emphasis of the site.
• Unlike a conventional newscast, which he described as "reporters talking about the news in stand-ups or interviewing each other round-table-style" and which doesn't typically generate a lot of traffic on the Web, the sites stories are built with sharing in mind.

"By going the non-linear, on-demand route, Now This is in essence betting that it can produce only compelling, viral content without any of the filler," Bercovici wrote.

This format seems like a good fit for The Orion, which can assign and cover  stories when staffing is available and concentrate on producing solid video pieces instead of trying to fill up a time slot.

Bercovici says Now This News reinvents TV for the Internet age. I think it's worth at least a look.

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