As use of online video grows, production departments are expanding their expertise
As online video emerges as a major platform for audience engagement, many b-to-b magazine production departments are finding themselves with new responsibilities.
Scott Carr, PennWell Corp.'s chief information officer, said most b-to-b magazine companies are well along in the process of recreating themselves as media companies. “Our digital media brands originally began as magazine companion sites, but as we have continued to grow we have built digital media brands that stand strong on their own,” he said. “As such, our magazines, which remain a solid focus for PennWell and always will, are now one media offering out of many for our greater audience of readers and viewers.”
Blood-Horse Publications, which publishes numerous magazines covering the horse industry, has made a big push into video through serialized studio programs such as The Handicapping Show and coverage of thoroughbred industry events. The content is mostly used on the company's Web sites and its YouTube channel; it's also found a home on a Canadian cable and satellite network devoted to horse racing.
Blood-Horse used to operate separate video and print departments, but times have changed. “We have actively been pursuing options to better integrate the two,” said Alex Cutadean, the company's videographer and digital asset manager. The main reason for the combination is to foster efficiency across the company, he said.
“A story may run in print and as Web video, and coordinating art and editorial assets can save time and money,” Cutadean said. “We do not want our print product and Web site to be mutually exclusive, and therefore we actively search for ways to drive eyes from one to the other.”
Canon Communications has three types of online video that it provides: paid-exhibitor videos, editorial videos and advertiser-provided videos.
Video production has had a huge effect on Canon's art department, said Marco Aguilera, the company's lead art director. “We prepare weeks in advance before we attend one of our trade shows for video recordings,” he said. “I schedule the editorial and sales department videos with the intention of having one or two art directors recording the videos or available for technical support.”
At IDG, video production is mainly handled by the editorial department, said Keith Shaw, online programming director for IDG Enterprise. He also recommends using YouTube for video distribution. “[It] has been extremely successful for us in generating a subscriber base worldwide, as well as providing a platform that lets others embed videos in their sites and for offering comments on the videos,” he said.
IDG has set up its own internal news service of text, photo and video content to be used throughout the company. “We don't publish any of our videos publicly; rather, IDG sites choose which videos they want to post on their sites. They download the files they want and post them,” Shaw said.
Cutadean recommended that publishers focus on the scale of their projects.
“The past few years we have seen the public grow more accepting of lower-quality video standards due to sites like YouTube that house a plethora of user-generated content,” he said. “You might be able to get your message across without spending an exorbitant amount of time and money on the project.” Knowing about general composition and how to use the ambient light can help a cheap production look like a higher-quality one, he said.
Shaw recommended that publishers involved with video production develop thick skins.
“Lots of people on the Internet will be quick to judge you and your work. Don't dismiss the criticism, but don't take it all to heart, either,” he said. M