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‘Government Computer News’ team maximizes resources to launch Lab TV

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Most b-to-b editors and publishers would like to have more video content on their sites, but when they weigh the cost of producing video against possible revenue, the result often comes out in the red.

Faced with this quandary, the editors of Government Computer News (GCN), a unit of 1105 Media’s Government Information Group, decided to make the first move.

“We were trying to find the right business model,” said Wyatt Kash, GCN editor in chief. “We became convinced that advertisers needed to see the video before they would make any commitments, so we went out without a sponsor at first to show them what could be done.”

The team decided to extend one of the brand’s longtime editorial franchises, the GCN Lab, with multiple media that could include slide shows, podcasts and other media as well as video, Kash said. The video content is packaged as a subbrand called GCN Lab TV.

The first episode of GCN Lab TV debuted in late September, and a second episode was added this month. Kash said he hopes to continue to add one new video each month. Earlier shows will remain on the site to build up a library.

Although the premiere episode was not sponsored, Episode 2 is running with 15-second pre- and post-roll spots from Panasonic.

John Breeden II, GCN Lab director-senior technology analyst, said Lab TV will honor the church-state separation that has applied ever since the reviews first appeared many years ago. “We go through a very elaborate testing process, and we want to show more of it on video,” he said, adding that the video content won’t rehash the written reviews.

Editorial was “going out ahead of the business side” with the Lab TV launch, Kash said. Therefore, the editorial team had to fund the project. Some unspent money in the editorial budget was used to hire a freelance videographer. Everything else was done in-house.

Jeff Langkau, creative director for the 1105 Government Information Group, said the goal is to bring the entire video-making process in-house eventually. “We made the initial investment in outside talent because we realized this would have to be a learning process for our staff,” he said.

Langkau pointed out that he already is using the staff’s talents to the maximum to keep down costs and streamline the process. “I have a TV background, so I act as the producer,” he said. “John has a theater background and he scripts each episode. Then we create a storyboard that details each shot. The editing also is done in-house.” The budget was stretched further by shooting the first four segments together over the course of two days.

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