A piece in Press Gazette on the uptake of video by newspapers has caught the attention of a number of people in the jblogashpere.

Andrew Grant Adamson has a problem with the accents

When people from around the world visit a British site they are looking for a distinctive and different voice. Globalisation should not mean an American view point dominating. It may be cheaper but I doubt if it makes commercial sense in the long run.

Alf Hermida agrees, but asks:

…are newspapers doing the right thing by putting so much emphasis on video? Sure, people love watching clips of the weird and the wonderful on YouTube. But the internet is an interactive and participatory medium. Streaming video online turns its the net into a delivery channel to a passive audience.

Positive as it was to see an article on the subject, it made for pretty depressing reading and it wound me up something rotten.

In the article Zoe Smith did a great job of highlighting an industry that still labours under the weight of the tired and lazy conceit of convergence.

“The convergence of video and print news moved a step further on Tuesday as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 news all led on footage gathered by the Sun.”

Convergence? What convergence?

In substance I see nothing new , other than the cross-over of delivery platforms. The MSM engaging in new and not so entertaining ways of peddling the same content we see on TV but creaming the ad revenue.

I’m all for new but only if it really is and convergence isnt. As Mindy Mcadams said in a recent post – Convergence is dead:

What I’m against is a lemming-like rush to do something to which you can apply the latest buzz word so that you seem to be adapting and evolving.

Still, the article did go some way to answering the question of why people are engaging with video.

“According to Webber (Sun Online assistant editor), newspapers hold the edge over broadcasters when it comes to putting content online because broadcasters are bound by ofcom regulations about impartiality”

At last, some honesty. Going online with video, in the way that the Sun etal have achieves two things:

  1. it allows organisations like the Sun to sell on video and engage in a little bit of the disruption that is driving newspaper video in the states
  2. it allows them to sidestep regulation and put money before content.

What it means in reality is that there isn’t an interest in good content here. The overriding influence is leveraging an advertising platform – four pars in and the story hasn’t touched content, we are in to hard numbers

Revenue generated from online TV and vide services will rise from $42m in 2006 to $364m in 2009…

Who cares what the content is. We just want the page impression.

Luckily the article ends on a high with Guardian guru Neil McIntosh.

“Asking users to ’sit forward’ and watch video online is a ‘big commitment,’ he says, but the rise of YouTube has shown that there is a huge market for ‘good, gripping video in short bursts.’ McIntosh argues that this has been almost completely ignored by other newspapers.

Paul Bradshaw picks up on this positive note, glad that someone else is hoping for something a bit different, and reflects on a previous post of his,

Perhaps the genuine interactivity that the BBC and Guardian have done so well for years represents too much of a paradigm shift for their competitors – a change in thinking about how we tell stories. I only hope that the current changes in print don’t stop at filming the sports editor reading out his latest scoop.

I agree. Let’s move on and try the different stuff.

I appreciate the MSM are trying but let’s see this for what it is, wonder bra media. Take two mediums and try and push them together to give the impression of something more substantial. (Is that a bit crude?)