I have some lessons from ONA 08 over at BeatBlogging.Org (version 2.0 nonetheless), and I wanted to highlight the supply and demand part of the post:
- This is an issue facing journalism on the Web and not just beat bloggers. Right now, there is simply more supply of written content than there is of demand for it from advertisers. This means low CPMs for written content. It also means that text-only beat bloggers need to get a lot of page views to make a decent amount of revenue.
- On the other hand, there isn’t enough supply of video content on the Web to meet advertisers demands. Advertisers love video ads and pre-roll. They want to stick it on your content, but are having trouble finding enough content.
- I’m not suggesting that everyone jump to doing video, but diversifying content can help boost revenue. This could be a once-a-week podcast or vodcast with a few ads in it. It could mean shooting some video for your beat blog. But realize that video content can get a much higher ad rate than printed content can.
News organizations need to diversify their content. This means more audio, more video, more multimedia and — yes — less written content. Now, none of this matters if our multimedia content has terrible SEO and exist within ghettos.
CNN.com understands how to get people to watch lots of video. CNN.com automatically plays a new, related clip after a clip is finished. Users can build custom playlists and watch hours of video — and ads.
Most news organizations, however, allow video and other multimedia content to exist within arbitrary ghettos where that content is not connected to similar content. When a clip ends, the content stops. Related content is not linked together.
And the biggest crime of all: A lot of multimedia content on news Web sites is not properly indexed and searchable. That my friends is one of the worst ideas ever. Search is the key to content distribution.
News organizations need to address this supply and demand issue. Trust me, redundant, non-local news is not in demand. And it’s probably not that in demand by users either.