The Video Frontier
We just posted our first 100-percent Publishing Executive editorial-staff-produced video (see “Behind the Scenes at the Spectrum Conference” in the “Video” section on this page; we had had some help with our “Gold Ink Awards” video, which was posted a few months ago).
As a longtime print editor, the experience was amazing for me (and a little unnerving). I learned a lot about video creation, production and editing, and also a lot about what not to do in video production and filming. (Like, if you’re going to “pan” the camera around a scene, make sure a giant pillar or tree is not directly to your right—fortunately, I was able to edit that out!)
While getting the final video product online was a little slow-going due to the learning curve of using the editing software and our usual deadlines that unfortunately wait for no man nor woman, the timing, in a way, couldn’t be better. Two articles in our upcoming issue (which we send to press on Thursday), make it very clear that companies are refocusing their efforts online. In one article, “Pruning for Growth,” we asked five leading magazine company presidents/CEOs where they are investing most heavily—you might be able to guess what they said almost unanimously: online. While it isn’t a secret that companies have been focusing more heavily and moving resources online, many are beginning to invest significantly in online projects to give them the attention and support they believe that digital demands—now.
Also in our February issue, you’ll see a feature story called “2007: The Online Video Era?” Using ourselves as an example, 2007 seems it will be the “video era.” The ear where people experiment and learn. We don’t have an enormous staff, nor do we yet have dedicated resources for developing video projects. But we have seen enough clues along the path to indicate that this is something we should explore. In the article, we learn that major companies are also exploring—kind of just winging it—when it comes to video. Sometimes in order to try something new, that’s what it takes. But, they no matter how they are doing it, they are doing it, unwilling to be “left behind” this huge opportunity for reaching new and current readers with another content format.
The other reason our new video and our February feature story on video are so timely is that for those of us who need training (for ourselves or our staffs) on video production and editing, there is a great opportunity just around the corner. The Publishing Executive Conference (March 5-7) is featuring an intensive, hands-on video training session, where attendees will leave with the knowledge of how to shoot, produce and edit their own video. We are so excited to be able to offer this session to the industry, and now, after reading what these leading companies have to say about the video era pressing down upon us, we believe the timing really couldn’t be better. (If you want more info., go to http://www.PubXpo.com, or just click the conference link at the top of this page.)
One last note in my probably too-long posting (if you’re still reading): There seem to be three types of people heading into the video era: those who are excited and embracing it, those who feel video has no place in magazine publishing, and those who feel it may have a place, but think, “How the heck are we supposed to do all this new stuff when we can barely keep up with the old stuff?” Some editors may scowl and even leave the company, publishers may fear dedicating resources to this unproven medium.
I say we better all embrace it as best we can, whatever our resources. Two quotes from our December 2006 article, “Get Your Multimedia House in Order,” keep ringing in my ears. Wenner Media’s Keith Blanchard’s comment, “If a site’s going to compete, you’ve got to know how to embed video, design for multiple platforms …” He also said one of my favorite quotes possibly all year, “The squidging of ink onto thinly sliced trees and trucking it around as a way of distribution information is a funny nostalgic story you will tell, not to your great grandkids, but to your children,” Blanchard said. “Did you notice how many teen magazines quietly shuttered this year? If that doesn’t alarm you as a publisher, you’d better snap the hell out of it.”
And, for us editors, the words of Time Inc.’s Mike Federle really hit home. “Video is gigantic. … any editor with capability on camera, their stock is going up,” he said. In today’s environment, anything you can do to up your stock—I would do it.