Sports Illustrated Adds Online Video, Including Anchored Newscasts

Another Legacy Print Brand Chases Video's Promise

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NEW YORK ( -- Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated has become the latest traditionally print brand to fire up video newscasts running live on its sites multiple times a day.

'SI Inside Report' will be anchored by sports journalist Maggie Gray, one of six new full-time employees hired to support the effort.
'SI Inside Report' will be anchored by sports journalist Maggie Gray, one of six new full-time employees hired to support the effort.
There is of course already a deluge of video, both professional and amateur, flooding the web. And in sports, ESPN is certainly providing more than its share of clips. But publishers are increasingly deciding that the competition is no reason to sit out. It's more like the opposite -- consumers want it; advertisers will often pay more for it. And publishers are hoping these anchored shows will help build stronger viewing habits than a variety of dissimilar videos on their own.

Sports Illustrated's new daily newscasts follow a similar recent initiative from The Wall Street Journal, which last September introduced The News Hub, a live, twice daily newscast that has subsequently grown to include breaking news updates and special reports. Just last month the Journal introduced a daily live newscast for its Digits blog, running each weekday at 1 p.m. EST.

Live and on-demand views of The News Hub delivered more than 1 million video streams in January, about 20% of The Wall Street Journal's Digital Network streams, according to the Journal.

And -- a joint venture of Time Warner's CNN and Time Inc. brands Fortune and Money -- produces eight to 10 videos a day, including the segments anchored or reported by Poppy Harlow.

New hires for new video show
Sports Illustrated had been producing video packages three or four times a year, but is now planning 15 or more digital productions daily. The main new program, SI Inside Report, will be anchored by sports journalist Maggie Gray, one of six new full-time employees hired to support the effort. The program will air five reports a day to start. But SI will also use video from Dan Patrick's radio show, which already airs on DirecTV, and game highlights secured under new deals with sports leagues. So far SI has a pact with the National Hockey League.

"We also want to do some stuff around the magazine and help the magazine come more alive," said Paul Fichtenbaum, managing editor at "For instance there's no reason we're not going to be able to do some video around some of the big issues of the year, whether it's Sportsman of the Year, the NFL Preview, the College Football Preview."

It's an editorial initiative, but the existing ad sales staff is already at work lining up 15-second pre-roll clips from marketers, including Mercedes and Samsung so far, to make it a profitable enterprise. The ad rates for video, it's worth mentioning here, well outstrip the ad rates available for regular display advertising online.

It's not just the web that wants video
There's another element motivating these new video shows: the approach of the iPad and other tablet computers, where video will presumably be a major interest for consumers. Having enough video to offer, whether it's through tablet editions of regular issues or just on websites that tablet owners access through web browsers, may be important for making the most of the new platform. "It's absolutely necessary to have that option," Mr. Fichtenbaum said.

Men's Health, which has already dived into the market for magazine apps on the iPhone, is doing a lot of work preparing for the iPad as well. That's going to include video, said Matt Bean, brand editor at Men's Health.

"You're not just reaching readers on the iPad, you're reaching viewers now, too," he said. "The competitive set has changed completely: Games, movies, music videos, and other forms of rich media are all fighting for attention, and a couple of slide shows or some user-interface bells and whistles aren't going to help you keep pace. You have to bring your content to life, and the best way to do that, and take full advantage of the iPad's capabilities, is with video."

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