When should we be using video

New Jersey’s Star-Ledger is starting a webcast. Some analysis from Jeff Jarivs of it can be found here

He likes it a lot, but others are at best indifferent. I fall firmly in the second camp, and I’ve helped to start a webcast for a newspaper once. More than a year ago, this was the Next Big Thing. Places like the Roanoke Times led the curve with them, and won all kinds of awards.

But, as mentioned in the comments, the Times’ webcast is dead. It didn’t get traction with viewers or advertisers, only getting a few hundred hits per episode. Maybe the paper isn’t big enough, with a circulation of about 100,000.

Or maybe there’s a bigger issue: Webcasts don’t work for newspapers.

It doesn’t matter if they’re well-produced or just ape TV news, it’s the wrong format. Daily casts like rocketboom.com worked (when they did) because they had a fresh, funny take on the news delivered by a recognizable personality.

But this post about the death of Roanoke’s webcast also brings up a good point: people don’t go on the Web to have stories bundled together, they go online to pick out interesting stories.

That’s where video shines: one-topic, short videos. If you’re good and can build an audience, that will drive much more traffic than a Webcast ever will.

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