With the launch of Instagram Reels to rival TikTok, more publishers are trying their hand at short-form videos to attract the under-25s.
The growing popularity of social video platforms like TikTok has prompted more publishers and social channels to beef up their video offering.
Some news organisations were quick to jump on the bandwagon and those who did so early on are now basking in the glory of their success.
For instance, after heavily investing in in-house social video production, News UK has reported a seven-figure incremental revenue stream. The Washington Post, which was among the first major legacy newspapers to create a dedicated TikTok channel, now has more than half a million followers. The Guardian’s Fake or for Real series on Instagram Stories, created in 2016 amid the ’fake news’ phenomenon, is still going strong, helping the publisher attract younger audiences.
The popularity of social video is expected to grow but the real question is whether it is viable as a revenue stream. Many publishers are still recovering from the Facebook-driven push into video that has caused huge revenue and job losses, especially in the US, and may not be keen to dive head-first into the TikTok craze.
Although uncertain whether social video will be profitable overall, branded video content, for the likes of Business Insider and BuzzFeed, has been an important revenue driver.