How Newsy hopes to build a cable-like news network for millennials
Short-form news video company Newsy has, over just a few weeks, launched apps for Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV, as well as struck a deal to have a channel on Comcast’s Watchable app. The goal — lofty as it sounds — is to become the go-to resource for millennials interested in catching up on the news in the way previous generations used to on TV: With longer video on connected devices.
“We were a mobile-focused news company, we’re definitely focused on over-the-top now,” said Blake Sabatinelli, gm of Newsy. “Cable is going to be around for a long time and we know that’s the direction television is going.”
With a staff of 60 employees, Newsy produces roughly 1,000 videos per month across categories like U.S. and world news, policy, entertainment, culture and science and technology. Most of these videos run for three minutes or less, and come in the form of typical news reports (they’re either anchored by an in-studio host, produced in the field with a reporter or feature a voiceover with relevant news clips).
The business is entirely ad-supported with most inventory being sold programmatically by a sales team based in New York.
There is data to support the notion that Newsy viewers — a “strong majority” of whom are millennials — are willing to spend more time with its content. According to Sabatinelli, Newsy users average 27 minutes per session on the company’s owned-and-operated platforms, which include a website, mobile app and the aforementioned TV apps. Overall, Newsy averaged 62 million views per month during the third quarter, an increase of 342 percent from the same time period last year. Over-the-top drove that viewership, spiking 638 percent year over year.
At the center of Newsy’s effort in long-form and over-the-top is Newsy Live, a 24-hour streaming channel available online and across its apps. The feed packages all of Newsy’s short-form videos into 30-minute broadcasts. The company updates the feed every hour with the latest videos, breaking news updates and other high-performing videos.
“We know millennials are either not hooking up to the cord or shaving the cord, but there’s still a huge number out there who don’t want to peck for their content, they kind of just want to watch,” said Sabatinelli. “If you want to get a fix of 30 minutes of news that you need to know that day, you’re going to find it here.”
This week, Newsy plans to launch Newsy Live on Pluto TV, an online video service that functions similarly to TV — in that it offers hundreds of always-on channels and a programming guide to tell users what’s airing at that particular time as well as what’s coming up.
Pluto TV is the first of many, as Newsy plans to roll Newsy Live out to additional platforms and distribution partners in the coming weeks and months, said Sabatinelli.
“Every cable operator in America is launching some type of OTT product,” he said, pointing to Dish Network’s Sling TV as an example. “We have the ability to spin-up a linear channel for them.”
While apps and over-the-top distribution are major areas of focus for Newsy, the company isn’t completely ignoring social platforms either. On Facebook, it’s publishing short, text-heavy videos, with an eye toward driving traffic to Newsy.com. On YouTube, the company has eight channels focused on different verticals. And it just arrive on Instagram and is looking at joining Snapchat as well.
“You have to win at social, it’s the greatest megaphone on the planet right now,” said Sabatinelli. But he also pointed to issues social platforms are having with defining views and whether people are actually spending time watching video content on their platforms. “Catching someone’s eye is different from capturing someone’s attention,” he said.
Image via Shutterstock / eldar nurkovic
‘People have had permission to experiment’: Pandemic expedites rethink on 9-to-5 work structures
Starting out as a short-term fix to weather the coronavirus storm, employers are seeing work hours outside the traditional 9-to-5 week as a new normal.
‘A digital Madison Square Garden’: How Complex reimagined the sponsorship opportunities for ComplexLand
The online event, which will combine music, conversation, gaming and shopping in an online world, will have 60 sponsors.
‘They wanted to unload it bad’: Why HuffPost made sense for BuzzFeed – and Verizon Media Group
BuzzFeed's acquisition of HuffPost will give it access to an older, more affluent cohort, potentially bolstering its news and commerce businesses.
SponsoredA buyer’s guide to new CTV terminology
by Austin Scott, Head of EMEA Video Market Development at Xandr There has been a seismic shift in the way audiences consume content. The average U.S. home owns 11 connected devices. More than 40 percent of consumers use connected TV (CTV) devices to stream content daily, and 77 percent of households are considered CTV households. […]
‘A start-up again’: New Quartz owner Zach Seward’s plan for longevity includes revenue innovation and reader support
Seward would not disclose current financials, but the upswing in ad revenue in third and fourth quarters has him optimistic about the company's position for 2021.
‘People are gonna shop’: Despite second coronavirus wave, consumer confidence ticks up and brakes on ad spend not slammed yet
Better prepared brands and more settled consumers have kept advertising revenues flowing, even as a second coronavirus wave rises.