Today I watched over seven minutes – from beginning to end – of The Texas Tribune’s Nov. 9 news video coverage of Kay Bailey Hutchison‘s gubernatorial campaign stump speech.
The video, one of The Tribune’s “Stump Interrupted” series, uses pop-up bubbles and illustrations to add context and value to a normally boring but important story. The pop-ups are entertaining without being silly.
When KBH is saying, “Our taxes have gone up too much in the last ten years,” the pop-up points out that “But…since 2003, Texas still had the 14th lowest per capita tax increase in the country.”
KBH: “I think that we are seeing too much power in one person, the power of appointment.”
Pop-ups: A large hand illustrating someone being appointed glides in from the left, followed by the fact that “Governor [Rick] Perry has made about 5,530 appointments since first taking office.”
On the site, people can also see the sources The Tribune used for the pop-ups.
The metrics angle: Counting how many times a video was viewed doesn’t give any info on whether the viewer was engaged. The more relevant measure is how much of the video was viewed, and whether the video was viewed from beginning to end.
I would also look at video metrics by topic, and set goals accordingly. I would imagine (no, really?) that the number of complete views of a Dallas Cowboys video is usually much higher than that of anything having to do with politics, even in Texas.
The Texas Tribune got California-born-and-bred me to watch a KBH video from beginning to end. I’m now more interested in both Texas politics and in how The Tribune covers it. Imagine how engaged a Texas resident who has a stake in this would be.
Actually, The Tribune doesn’t have to completely guess at this. In
addition to commenting and e-mailing the story, people can rate a story
as a “must read.”
I’m really intrigued about what The Tribune will do next. It’s a nonprofit news org that, according to WebNewser, didn’t cover the Fort Hood shootings because it’s “dedicated to covering ‘the politics and policy of Texas state government.'”
I love this focus on identifying a niche audience and topic, and sticking to serving the needs of that audience. WebNewser reported that editor Matt Stiles said that the Fort Hood story just “wasn’t our story. Should we have jut been one more news organization rushing to Fort Hood? I don’t think so.”
The Tribune’s a great example of a truly audience-focused news organization with unique and compelling content that provides value. Despite being staffed by “newspaper refugees,” it’s refreshingly not content-focused. It doesn’t build the content first and then hope the audience will come.