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‘Financial Times' upgrades online video platform, offerings

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Late last month, the Financial Times unveiled a new video player and a dedicated hub for video on FT.com—two signs of a broader effort to improve the quality, quantity and timeliness of video on the site. The new video platform from Brightcove will also enable FT to incorporate video into other types of media, including its soon-to-launch application for Apple's iPad.

As a result of the efficiency and ease-of-use of the Brightcove platform, FT.com has been able to increase the number of videos it produces monthly to 200, from 180. Meanwhile, the amount of time “from the moment the person picks up the camera to the moment the video goes live on FT.com is significantly less,” said Stephen Pinches, lead product manager at FT.com. “It depends on the length of the video, but we can save quite a few minutes or even hours on each video.”

Previously, video content went through a centralized production process in London or New York. “With this new process in place, our journalists can edit video collaboratively, allowing them to spend more time on the quality of the content rather than entering metadata and passing things from desk to desk,” Pinches said.

Because journalists have more local control of video content, users will be seeing more original video from FT reporters beyond the major cities of New York, London and Hong Kong, such as San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. “We're really seeing our regional offices ramping up their video coverage,” Pinches said.

In addition to improving the timeliness, variety and quantity of videos on FT.com, the new platform also upgrades the visual quality to the wide-screen, 16:9 format known as HD, Pinches said, adding that additional enhancements are still to come. “In the next phase, you'll see video much more elegantly placed throughout FT.com,” he said.

Pinches wasn't ready to say much about the iPad application, which may be made available as early as this week, but he did say it “will feature a lot of video content.” The new platform will also enable FT to flow video content to its iPhone application and mobile site in the near future.

There are also benefits for advertisers in the new video platform. “The widescreen format is a much better canvas for advertisers,” Pinches said. “We're seeing the big-brand advertisers particularly liking the bigger screen.” Advertisers will also be able to reach audiences “with more granular demographic targeting,” he said.

Newspaper Web sites had the greatest growth in online video production among all media in the first quarter of this year, according to a quarterly research report conducted jointly by Brightcove and TubeMogul, an online video analytics and advertising platform. Newspaper publishers using Brightcove's platform in North America and Europe uploaded more than 359,000 videos in the first quarter, an increase of 190% over the year-earlier period, according to the study.

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