Evergreen Content, Automated Video Production, News Corp.’s Social Media Stance, Time Inc.’s Restructuring, TFP’s Infographic Pick of the Week

Welcome to Technology for Publishing’s roundup of news and tips for media industry pros! This week, we’re sharing stories about how publishers are getting the most value from their evergreen content, automation tools that are helping publishers significantly boost their video output, News Corp.’s reluctance to give up control to social media sites like Facebook, a reorganization at Time Inc., and more.

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  • Making old content new again is one way today’s publishers are getting the most value from their editorial spend—and keeping up with social media’s daily churn. According to Digiday, companies like BuzzFeed are widely using approaches like iterating, meaning it uses the “frame” of popular posts for other similar ones, adapting them to various topics and communities, and translating the posts into different languages—greatly reducing the amount of work needed by staff. Publishers are also using adaptation strategies, whereby text is turned into video and vice versa, for example. The article pointed out that good evergreen content boosts publishers in search as well. “When we write something, it has to be good for probably six months to three years,” said Ask.com CEO Neil Vogel in the article, noting the site isn’t focused on breaking news but on solving problems people use search to find out about.
  • In the rush to cash in on the surge in video, particularly on Facebook and other social platforms, publishers are increasingly turning to automation to speed production and quickly grow volume, according to The New York Times. Tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing), for example, has an ambitious plan to go from “a couple hundred” videos per day to some 2,000 daily, it said, with the primary objective being to increase ad revenue as online advertising continues to lag and print declines. To streamline current production processes—and in some cases achieve near-full automation—Tronc and others are partnering with leading service providers like Wochit and Wibbitz, which analyze and summarize text and then provide photos, video clips, human narration, and computerized voice-overs to go with it. They also offer tools to add captions and other features. Noting levels of automation vary among publishers, the report said the “personal touch” is still important: “If you don’t touch it, consumers can quickly recognize it is not a high-quality product,” said USA Today’s Chris Pirrone.
  • Not everyone is jumping on the Facebook video bandwagon. A Bloomberg article said Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. remains “wary” of the social network and is holding out on any deals to produce live video for the site. And while others publishers have gone all in on Instant Articles, The Wall Street Journal offers only technology stories through the service, it said. The Journal “has put a stake in the ground about maintaining full control over the data around the relationship with its audience,” said media executive Vivian Schiller—despite the fact that 63% of its global desktop social media visitors come from Facebook. The article said while News Corp. is in ongoing discussions with Facebook, no agreements are “imminent.” Summing up the publisher’s view of social media, senior VP Raju Narisetti said, “We don’t believe that panic and pandering is a strategy. [News Corp. must] resolve to not mortgage our future for the latest ‘new-new’ seductive feature dangled as a come-hither by those who have no desire to pay for the creation and sustenance of vital journalism.”
  • Elsewhere, Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp announced a restructuring plan that includes, among other changes, the departure of executive vice president Evelyn Webster and the promotion of Fortune editor Alan Murray to the role of chief content officer, replacing Norman Pearlstine. According to a WWD post, brands will now report to EVP Rich Battista, and Pearlstine will take on the new role of vice chairman, overseeing international growth. Ripp said in a memo to staffers that the reorg, affecting advertising sales, editorial, and brand development groups, is intended to “transition our brands to become true multimedia, multiplatform businesses and to introduce an entrepreneurial spirit and investment culture into the organization.”

On the Technology for Publishing Blog

Photo: Digiday

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Posted by: Monica Sambataro

Monica Sambataro is a contributing editor and copyeditor for Technology for Publishing. Her publishing background includes work for leading technology- and business-related magazines and websites.