Why LinkedIn is stepping up its original video and audio content ambitions
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts • Stitcher • Spotify
More than a decade ago, Dan Roth left the world of traditional journalism to join LinkedIn as the business-centric social platform’s executive editor. Eleven-plus years later, the former managing editor of Fortune.com and now editor-in-chief and vp at LinkedIn has built up the platform’s news operation into one that bears some of the hallmarks of a traditional outlet.
“I had a lot of belief in what the company could create, but I didn’t know how it was going to work out. And I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into,” Roth said on the latest episode of the Digiday Podcast.
Under Roth, LinkedIn’s news division has been getting into producing more original content, from newsletters to podcasts and videos. In September, the platform announced the hire of former CNN executive Courtney Coupe to be its first head of original programming, which appears to portend the next phase of LinkedIn’s editorial ambitions, which were already raised earlier this year with the formation of the LinkedIn Podcast Network.
“The hiring of Courtney Coupe is designed to push us in a more professional way through creating original video and audio content,” Roth said. “There are about 180 people on the editorial team at LinkedIn. But half that team comes from a business journalism background, and almost all of those who come from a business journalism background come from mostly writing. So it’s a text-heavy team. When you’re creating audio [and] creating video, there’s something unique about creating that content.”
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been edited for length and clarity.
LinkedIn’s audio and video operation
We’ve got a really highly accomplished video team in-house. These are people who come from Fortune and Bloomberg and independent producers who have shot for everyone. And we have people who are experts in podcasts. We also have LinkedIn Learning [formed through LinkedIn’s 2015 acquisition of Lynda.com], so [they have a] huge campus in Carpinteria outside of L.A. [with] soundstages and incredible studios for recording learning courses. We highly leverage that team for doing almost everything that we do.
When we went and bought LinkedIn Learning, like a month afterwards the head of [LinkedIn] Learning came to New York, which is where I’m based, and saw our studios. We had a small studio in the Empire State Building. At this time we were really trying to figure out video and audio; we’re kind of stumbling our way into it. And she just came in and was like, “What is this? This is not how you build a professional studio. You’re not storing your audio and video right. How are you tracking your assets? How are you tracking equipment?” And so she professionalized all of that. So Courtney comes in with a team that is lightyears beyond where it was when I first launched it.
Video’s importance to LinkedIn
A way I like to think about LinkedIn is we often just mirror the business world. So if people are talking about certain topics in the office, they’re usually talking about those topics on LinkedIn. And if they’re communicating in a certain way in the office, they’re usually communicating in that way on LinkedIn. That’s the case with video as well. We’ve all just spent two and a half years communicating over video. It’s become the way we do business now. And so LinkedIn has to be able to have a first-class platform for video.
The power and pull of video
You get a certain level of storytelling in video that is harder to get in text. You can deliver such powerful messages through the way you shoot something and the kind of graphics you use and the pacing and the background music that just pulls people out of their comfort zone or has this emotional connection that’s really hard to get with other kinds of content. It takes real expertise to pull this off. Video is the kind of thing you remember and you share it and you talk about it and you keep thinking about it.
Why some publishers are giving their AI chatbots a personality
BuzzFeed and Ingenio are hoping giving their chatbots a unique voice and tone will differentiate their AI products but others are prioritizing utility over entertainment.
Publishers say the competition is steeper than expected for event sponsorship dollars this year
Selling events was harder than expected for some publishers in Q2, but having a niche helped win some of the coveted sponsorship dollars.
Media Briefing: Publisher execs fear lack of visibility for Q3, but feel steady year over year
Publisher execs share how Q2 shook out for their businesses as they brace for an equally murky second half.
SponsoredWhat the measurement and currency discussion really means to TV advertisers
Ali Mack, head of TV and agency, Experian Major streaming video providers have recently made headlines by adopting new currencies for ad measurement, threatening Nielsen’s long-standing TV ratings monopoly. NBCUniversal, for example, has certified iSpot and VideoAmp as currencies for advanced audiences and formed the Joint Industry Committee with Paramount, TelevisaUnivision and Warner Bros. Discovery. […]
Digiday+ Research: Nearly two-thirds of publishers think they will lose when the third-party cookie dies
Publishers have been busy prepping for the end of the third-party cookie, but that doesn't mean they think they'll come out on top in the post-cookie era. In fact, publishers count themselves among those who stand to lose from the end of the cookie.
Spotify cancels six true crime podcasts amid layoffs, Gimlet-Parcast merger
Spotify is canceling six shows and laying off 200 people as it merges its Gimlet and Parcast units to push its podcast business towards profitability.