Daily Mail plans to debut a dozen YouTube shows in 2024 in long-form video push

In a bid to earn more ad revenue, Daily Mail is making a big push into long-form video with plans to debut a dozen shows on YouTube by the end of this year.

Daily Mail has already garnered a large following with its short-form video strategy — it’s one of the biggest news publishers on TikTok, with over 9 million followers on its main account and about 1 billion monthly views, according to Tubular data.

The publisher now hopes its online viewership will stay tuned in for longer format video as well. Daily Mail hired 12 full-time staffers this year to oversee production on the newly formed shows, led by Patrick Bulger, who was hired in February. The formal announcement is slated to be made at the Cannes Lions Festival on Tuesday.

Daily Mail has 20 shows in development now, with a dozen set to premiere by the end of the year,  said Tony Manfred, global head of video at Daily Mail. The shows will focus on Daily Mail’s most popular verticals, including entertainment, news, sports, true crime and the royals. Episodes will run about 20 minutes long and live on Daily Mail’s main YouTube channel, which currently counts more than 3.5 million subscribers.

Platforms seem to be leaning in the direction of longer formats. TikTok is rolling out 15-minute videos (and even hour-long content), while Instagram is testing 10-minute Reels.

Among the shows in development, explained Manfred, are “Price of Fame,” which breaks down “how expensive your life becomes when you’re famous,” he said. Another show, “Your Body on Sport,” gets into the physiology of professional athletics.

Programming will begin airing this month. Daily Mail already soft launched “The War on Tape,” hosted by foreign correspondent Chris Pleasance, about the war in Ukraine, Manfred said. The first episode racked up 1 million views, while the second drew 370,000 views.

Long-form video is not entirely new to Daily Mail. In 2020, the publisher launched a panel-style talk show discussing the royals called “Palace Confidential.” Recent episodes of that show average around 500,000 views, and the model will be replicated with other shows focused on the British royals, according to a Daily Mail spokesperson.

Manfred said he’s been studying other successful video franchises from publishers on YouTube and TikTok, such as “Hot Ones” or “73 Questions,” to inform Daily Mail’s goals in long-form video. He said this new push is Daily Mail’s move into “premium” video, which he defines as originally-developed and produced shows with a high production value, is meant to be watched on a TV screen rather than a mobile device.

Two media buyers Digiday spoke with agreed with that definition — but added that the content has to be engaging and draw in a large target audience. According to Dalia Youssefi, vp of retail media and data strategy at Mars United Commerce, the “premium” nature is at the discretion of audiences and whether or not they watch these shows “en-masse.” 

The definition of “premium” content is a “hot topic for us right now,” agreed Marcy Greenberger, U.S. chief investment officer at UM. “Premium is somewhat in the eye of the beholder … [but for] digital content specifically, it should be [played with] sound on and viewable. It should be accessible via a prominent, quality video player rather than as stand-alone video embedded within an article.”

Greenberger added that she looks for sponsorship opportunities with prominent content placement and product integrations as well. Manfred declined to share if any of the Daily Mail’s new shows have locked in advertisers yet, but he did confirm Daily Mail can directly sell its YouTube in-stream ad inventory to advertisers. Buyers said pre-roll and mid-roll ads (especially non-skippable ones) were ideal ad formats for this type of YouTube content.

Publishers need to have robust digital video content offerings these days, said Brian Binder, senior director of TV, audio and display innovation at performance marketing agency Tinuiti. But at the end of the day, Daily Mail’s ability to attract an audience that fits with advertisers’ target consumers is what will matter, according to the three media buyers. 

“My sole interest is based on whether my clients’ customers are consuming this content,” Youssefi said.

To make that happen, Manfred said his team plans to build an audience for these shows by cross-promoting content on Daily Mail’s website and platforms where the publisher has a large following, including TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.

https://digiday.com/?p=548101

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