The Telegraph shifts beyond news to more lifestyle videos

All publishers have the video bug, and The Telegraph is no different, pumping out 60 series since May. Each series fits into one of nine topic channels, from news to tech to beauty. Unlike many publishers, The Telegraph is focused on views on its property rather than Facebook or YouTube.

The publisher, now with a 30-person video team, is upping its lifestyle video content, having previously focused on news video only. The result: Video viewers are watching twice as many videos, on average three, according to The Telegraph. The number of viewers who complete a video has grown from 50 percent to around 73 percent.

For instance, within the culture channel there is a series on pop-star profiles, featuring Elton John, Beyoncé, Britney Spears and Taylor Swift. Within the beauty channel, there are series that focus on tips for doing hair or eye makeup. The length ranges from 60 seconds to five minutes long. The Telegraph plans to produce 96 series a year, each with eight parts, and works on 16 series at any one time.

Men’s content has been getting the highest number of views and engagement, according to Ben Sinden, director of video content at The Telegraph, although he wasn’t forthcoming with exact numbers. These include a series on pub tricks, magic tricks and a guide to whiskey tasting, and sit somewhere between the aspirational James Bond-style media coverage for men, and the lad-banter content.

“If you’re just reliant on views they won’t be high enough to be commercially viable,” he told Digiday, after speaking at Briefing Media’s Monetizing Media event in London this week. “Would you rather have a million views or half a million views that have an action tied to them? It’s the quality of the view rather than the volume.”

The Telegraph’s video team is split roughly three ways, with a third of staff producing video exclusively for the news agenda, a third for series content and a third for brand content.

“Like other publishers, we get a lot of traffic from search and social, your one-and-done audience,” said Sinden. “With a video destination readers will stick around for longer.”

Getting viewers to stick around for longer is good for advertisers, who can sponsor the series. In the first year of this change in video strategy, 20 percent of the series produced will be sponsored, rising to 50 percent by year three. So far, companies like IBM and Lastminute.com are among those sponsoring series.

For advertisers, it sells packages of 100,000 views across eight videos over an eight-week period, which are sold at five times the price of the publisher’s average pre-roll. Although Sinden said there is still work to be done to convince advertisers to go for quality over quantity, so pre-roll is the dominant source of revenue.

Images courtesy of The Telegraph.

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