Broadcast tools find second home

Putting VNRs, b-roll, and SMTs on the Web is quickly becoming a corporate necessity.

Putting VNRs, b-roll, and SMTs on the Web is quickly becoming a corporate necessity.

With the Internet a given destination for consumers looking for information - both news and entertainment - it is no surprise that broadcast PR footage is increasing its presence there. In fact, re-purposing VNRs, b-roll, and SMTs for use on the Internet is becoming a more popular option for clients looking to extend the life - and reach - of broadcast PR tools.

"Video on the Web is here to stay," says Larry Thomas, COO of Medialink. "We're seeing a lot of people expressing interest in it."

Considering not only the shrinking news hole, but also the different audiences a corporation can have - from customers and analysts to employees and the media - posting broadcast video content on a Web site is something that will be expected of corporations going forward.

"Streaming video on the front page of a [corporate Web site] is the de rigueur of Internet PR, and companies that don't have it are as out of date now as companies were five years ago if they didn't have a Web site," says Jack Trammell, president of VNR-1 Communications.

Trammell advises clients to talk to their broadcast PR providers during the planning phases of a b-roll, VNR, or SMT about reformatting it for a company Web site once the project is completed. This way, the cost of the video may be shared with departments aside from PR. "This is not a PR initiative for the PR department," he says. "This is a PR initiative for the corporation."

And almost any type of broadcast content is suitable for repurposing to a company Web site. Todd Grossman, VP at MultiVu, notes that pharma companies in particular are using broadcast content on the Web to reach out to a different audience than originally intended with a TV campaign. MultiVu recently produced a VNR package about osteoporosis for spinal-product company Kyphon and later incorporated the footage into a multimedia news release that was designed to target physicians.

Shoba Purushothaman, CEO of The News Market, notes the same rules that make video suitable for TV hold true for the Internet: it has to be visually compelling and short enough to hold a viewer's attention. "There's a reason most news stories are 90 seconds long," she says. "Short takes have a broader appeal and more impactful impression."

Grossman concurs, noting, "One has to be careful not to bore their audience."

Because it is not yet common to shoot video exclusively for a Web site, iPod, or cell phone, it's important to film a VNR or b-roll knowing it will be shown on a smaller screen.
Trammell says that footage with a busy background will not work if it is something that will later be re-purposed as a podcast to download to an iPod or cell phone. "Simple is good," he says. "It just makes it easier to view."

While all subject matter is suitable for a Web rebroadcast, Purushothaman says that one type of broadcast content that can easily work is footage from key executives. "The audience reach for that type of content is incredibly broad," she says, citing employees, customers, media, and the investment community as interested parties.

Particularly in the press' case, video footage on a Web site can provide a good synopsis of a company's particular issue. Trammell says downloading broadcast-quality content from a Web site has become more common in newsrooms. Grossman adds that MultiVu has seen a rise in downloads of mpeg2 quality video from reporters all around the world.

However, merely putting content up on Web site isn't enough. "A Web site is only as good as the promotion behind it," notes Kevin Foley, president of KEF Media. He advises using targeted lists of analysts, media, and internal staff to make all relevant audiences aware of the content.

But not all re-purposed video needs to be housed exclusively on a company's Web site. MultiVu includes b-roll, VNR, and SMT footage on its multimedia news releases. And with podcasts becoming more popular, RSS feeds and iTunes are also an effective way to distribute video content. However, Purushothaman cautions, "The reality is not all types of content are of interest to the iTunes audience."

Technique tips

DO

Discuss re-purposing content for the Web with your broadcast PR provider while in the planning phases

Make video, or a link to video, visible on the front page of the corporate site if possible

Choose content that is visually compelling to post on the Web site

DON'T

Post content that is longer than two minutes; consumers' attention span is small

Forget to promote video content on your Web site, either via iTunes or with press releases that link to video

Expect every visual element that works for TV to translate to the Web or other screens

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