It used to be that as a reputable news source, people would seek out your content. Content was a valuable commodity. Now, the web is saturated with content, and one must find viewership (or readership) where it is: on the Internet. News UK's The Sun is the latest to have to reckon with this shift.
The Sun is planning on launching a web site optimised for video and mobile sharing in the coming year. This is following The Sun's removal of its web paywall and an admition that news orginizations like The Sun must adapt from old media models if they want to survive.
Caroline Scott of Journalism.co.uk writes about how The Sun is planning on making this shift, and how new distribution models and platforms, particularly Snapchat, must be integrated into any news ourlet's distribution strategy.
By 2017, video will account for 69 per cent of all consumer internet traffic, according to Cisco.
Dominic Carter, chief commercial officer at News UK, shared some insights into The Sun's video production and distribution, speaking at the Guardian Changing Media Summit in London today.
"Over the last couple of years, there has been a major shift in the way that we approach digital content, especially when it comes to video," said Carter.
"In the past we would hand craft our homepage many times a day, lavishing it with attention – the same way that we do with the front page of our newspaper editions.
"We'd rely on the brand power to drive people in from their browser and [our content] would circulate around all the rooms in our digital home, but that publishing paradigm has shifted and it may never return."
The Sun is currently preparing to launch a brand new website, optimised for mobile, social referrals, video and native content.
The move comes a few months after News UK dropped the paywall which kept The Sun only accessible to paying readers for more than two years starting from the summer of 2013.
"There are huge audiences grouped around the open internet who are making the choice, and the choice is that they are only wanting to consume content within their chosen ecosystem, whether it is Facebook Instant Articles, Google, YouTube or Snapchat," said Carter.
"Storytelling with video can take the emotional engagement of stories to a whole other level – that is why we're heavily investing in the space."
News UK has decided to organise this video output into "clearly defined verticals" which align with the historical strengths of The Sun, focusing on news and exclusives, but often using humour to attract and entertain audiences.
"It's reflecting our playful but challenging brand voice," said Carter.
A dedicated edition of The Sun will be launching on Snapchat Discover in the coming months. "It not only allows us to talk to our traditional customers in a new environment, but it enables us to find our future audiences," said Carter.
"Here is an opportunity for us to partner with Snapchat and create engaging content for a gender neutral, under 30, exclusively mobile audience.
"So we believe in taking our content to the audience and shaping it appropriately, not the other way around.
"This inevitably means that we've got to seize some of our traditional control – and that is something I think every single publisher needs to get their head around."
"In three years' time, we won't be talking about videos, we will be talking about great content, new audiences and I'm sure, more and more platforms," he added.