Company: Financial Times
Title: Head of video, FT.com
Big move: Leaves Reuters Video to shepherd FT.com's video growth
Five-year plan: Increase the quality and quantity of videos.
Growth aided by access granted to trusted brand
In March, visitors to the Web site of the Financial Times, FT.com, weren't just clicking through to read up-to-the-minute economic and world news. They were also watching.
Video views during the month broke the 1 million mark, and did so again in April and in May.
The statistics serve as validation for Richard Edgar, who, believing FT.com was serious about its intention to quickly develop its video content, jumped from Reuters Video last November to become FT.com's first head of video. In fact, the announcement of his appointment came at the same time as the launch of new video products.
Now Edgar, who previously served as the editor in charge of Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Reuters Video, is intent on tapping FT.com's resources to bring more financial, world and even lifestyle video segments to site visitors. Last year, FT.com doubled its video production output, to more than 100 videos per month, and introduced regular daily and weekly videos reports and interviews. It also inked a deal to bring videos from Reuters to the site.
“At the moment, we're seeing a huge appetite for video online,” Edgar said. “A lot of people watch us during the day, likely when they're at their office and they don't have a television but they have a computer screen. The audience has grown dramatically over the past six to eight months.”
Edgar isn't looking to replace news stories with video. Rather, he envisions using video to spotlight important business leaders by allowing viewers to put a face with their name and to bring more context to world news and stories that run in the newspaper. As one example, he noted that the site recently ran a video package about the Middle East that complemented analysis in the newspaper.
To ado this, the site has added people on the technical and production end and established video staffs in London, New York and Hong Kong. He has also encouraged Financial Times journalists to go onscreen to tell their stories and said the vast majority of them “have taken to it like ducks to water. They see it as another way of telling a story.”
Economic and world monetary leaders, powerful yet often unseen, aren't shying away from the opportunities that FT.com video provides them. “They know and trust the Financial Times and know that we're a serious financial organization,” Edgar said. “And most of these people already understand the power of video. They realize that when they're talking to the FT, it's one of the very few global organizations that they can get [to help deliver] that message to a number of financial markets around the world, if not all of them.”
The videos are being segmented, almost like different programs, enabling advertisers to reach different markets, and the initial response is encouraging, Edgar said.
“They are already asking for video inventory,” he said. “Many of our advertisers have almost been clamoring for it.” M