Media Moves

Reuters TV rethinks what television should be

January 20, 2012

Posted by Chris Roush

Justin Ellis of the Nieman Journalism Lab writes about how the new Reuters TV channel on YouTube is changing how video news is presenting to consumers.

Ellis writes, “What they plan to offer on the new channel is a mix of news and analysis on politics, finance, technology and other news from Reuters personalities like Chrystia Freeland, Felix Salmon, and Anthony De Rosa. Along with more interview-driven fare, they’ll also produce shows based around the U.S. presidential election, investigative reporting, and video from journalists in the field. It’s TV-esque — up to a point. There will be people chatting mingled with rich visuals, but the production style will be more casual, with less of a network polish and more of the energy of an upstart, Palmer said.

“The advantage for Reuters is that there are few hard and fast rules for what works in original online video when it comes to news. ‘I think that in television, people are used to an architecture of the way programming works that gives a sense of familiarity and predictability that is comforting,’ he said. None of that exists online, and that’s a good thing to Palmer. Take length: There’s a widespread belief that online video must be short in order to keep viewers attention — but Hulu and Netflix have proven people will happily watch something longer than two minutes on the web (yes, it’s entertainment content, but still). Reuters TV shows will be tailored both in shorter clips and in full programs to give viewers options and to make the content more sharable. On the production side, Palmer said, that’s a plus. ‘The advantage of online programming is you’re not held to 60 minutes or 48 minutes of programming,’ he said. ‘You can end wherever it feels right to end.’

“One way TV and online mirror each other is in the emphasis on personalities. Viewers want to feel like they can make a connection and be in contact with journalists, Palmer said, which is one reason YouTube is a useful platform for a news channel. It helps that a chunk of Reuters TV’s talent already have healthy Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr followings. ‘You need authentic people who are compelling,’ he said. ‘You don’t need a $300 hairdo or a voice you think could be Shakespearian. People have to connect with viewers in a genuine way.'”

Read more here.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry daily or weekly.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry.