The Independent is going all-in on video. Its Independent TV hub – already a separate section on the site – is set to expand into OTT with its own app and a greater variety of programming.
This follows a hugely successful initial launch for the hub last year, and programs that have outperformed expectations. Video views on the platform saw 40% month-on-month growth in the first six months of its operation, and its program ‘Binge or Bin’ enjoyed 250,000 views in its first week alone. The video content has outpaced expectations internally, and its revenue is on track to hit 150% of 2020’s – more than double last year’s.
It is, says The Independent’s managing director Christian Broughton, the beginning of a journey that will lead to its video offering equating to a “full-on TV” experience.
The Independent’s video content already exists on platforms like YouTube and Facebook, in addition to the hub. Regardless of the platform on which the video is distributed, Broughton believes that the core offering – that of The Independent’s storytelling – acts as “a gravitational force at the center”. That force is strengthened further by the behind-the-scenes work of the tech team, which has refined the ‘Next Vid’ recommendation feature to the point that a majority of users watch more than one video in a row, keeping them on-platform.
To that end he is keen to promote the work of the paper’s journalists. Reporters including Bel Trew, its Middle East correspondent, already see stories in terms of video, he believes. He cites Trew’s immediate coverage of the Beirut Blast in August last year as an example of the instantaneous news video that can be created and which adds value to audiences habituated to consuming digital video.