audio / video
on your phone
Within just a few minutes, a news video can catch you up on all the important news from home and abroad. Many online news consumers enjoy being kept informed in this way. It allows them to stream their news at their own convenience, which they mostly do on their phones. Responding to these shifting preferences, newsrooms have started producing more and more videos. “It’s almost impossible for visitors to overlook them.”
Michiel Ameloot (41)
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF AT VTM NIEUWS, ONLINE VIDEO AND SPORTS AT NEWS CITY SINCE 2021
Bouke van der Veer (40)
HEAD OF VIDEO AT ADR NIEUWSMEDIA SINCE 2017. HE PREVIOUSLY WORKED AT TMG.
The videos DPG Media puts out through its apps and websites have greatly improved in quality over the last several years, making it more and more appealing to watch the news instead of reading it. A good video doesn’t just offer a pleasant, well-edited visual experience, but also tells a compelling story. And it must always have a news angle, according to Michiel Ameloot (editor-in-chief at VTM Nieuws and Online Video) and Bouke van der Veer (head of Video at ADR Nieuwsmedia).
hLN 24 hours live
In March 2021, exactly one year after the beginning of the first Covid lockdown, HLN broadcast a 24-hour livestream of performances by various artists from an empty Sportpaleis, Antwerp’s music arena. Over 2.2 million people watched the event, with an average viewing time of over one hour. The free livestream, which received an enormous amount of attention on social media, boosted the HLN brand.
In January 2022, there was another edition of 24 HOURS LIVE, to once again support the music industry and as a sign of hope during a difficult time in the pandemic.
Millions of views
The pivot to ‘video’ in newsrooms is an important change. Het Laatste Nieuws publishes new videos every day, which now have an average total reach of about 2 million daily views. ADR (AD and the seven regional newspapers in the Netherlands) reports similar numbers. “The videos are prominently featured on the digital platforms of our news brands,” Van der Veer says. “They really draw the eye – it’s almost impossible for visitors to overlook them.”
Video editors use a variety of formats. Videos can be used in combination with written articles, to provide additional context and analysis, or to paint a certain mood. In other cases, the images speak for themselves, with small text blocks offering sufficient explanation. Short documentaries can give insight into someone’s life, or shed new light on ongoing stories.
DPG Media news brands stream press conferences and other major news events live on their own websites. There are also livestreams for special events, such as HLN: 24 HOURS LIVE and ADR’s What’s your question?Q&As.
This year, HLN will also be focusing on entertainment videos – a relatively new market in Belgium. “We’re seeing really great numbers for entertainment content,” says Ameloot. “But we always approach it from a news angle. We cover TV programmes much like football matches, with a preview and post-match commentary, and a live blog with highlights during the show. It’s full steam ahead for us on this kind of content.” Like HLN, ADR always approaches entertainment from a journalistic perspective as well.
Most viewed videos HLN 2021
Most viewed videos ADR 2021
WHAT’S YOUR QUESTION?
In the run-up to the parliamentary elections in March 2021, people were invited to ask questions to the leaders of eleven major political parties in the Netherlands. One by one, they dropped by AD’s offices to talk to readers. Together, the streams received 3.7 million live views and over 385,000 on demand views afterwards.
The video on Covid vaccinations was also widely viewed. In it, experts from the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam fielded a large number of questions from vaccine sceptics. Given its success, ADR is planning to use the format again for new videos.
Younger visitors (up to age 44) especially like to follow the news by watching videos. They do so on their smartphones, which is possible now thanks to technological advances: videos can be played anywhere, anytime. “In addition, it’s increasingly common for people to have unlimited data, so it no longer matters how many megabytes a video gobbles up. It used to be that videos would eat up all your data,” says Van der Veer.
Although the video trend is expected to continue, text and images will always coexist, Ameloot and Van der Veer predict. Watching and reading can go hand in hand. People will consume news in a variety of ways, although they usually have a preference. Text, audio (podcasts) and video all complement each other, and DPG Media wants to cater to the full spectrum of modern news consumers’ needs.