The Telegraph believes publishers should not be reliant on social media to distribute and monetise video, which is why it has created a TV hosting platform on its own site that will see it share revenue with a production house instead of a tech giant like Facebook or Google.
The new longform video hub, Telegraph Now Showing, will feature shows from the BBC and ITV including The Hour, Joanna Lumley’s travel series and Richard III documentaries as part of a deal with production powerhouse Endemol Shine Group.
Revenue generated from the site will be shared with the production company on an “equal partnership” basis. While this is no different to how the publisher is forced to share revenue by hosting video on third party platforms, Ben Sinden, director of video content at Telegraph Media Group, spoke of the advantages of working with a production company in a two-way partnership that sees them collaborating to decide the best content to use, seemingly different to the relationship it has with video hosting sites.
Only shows outside a rights window produced by Endemol Shine can be streamed on the site, however further deals with production houses or broadcasters have not been ruled out by Ben Sinden, director of video content at Telegraph Media Group, if the “appetite is there”.
To monetise the video content, there will be a 30-second pre-roll advertising slot and three ad slots for 90-seconds in an hour-long show, mirroring the TV commercial format. The publisher is also considering sponsorship opportunities, building a content hub for brands, and incorporating branded content into the mix to increase its revenue capacity should the hub prove a success.
The hub is free for anyone to access, and has been launched during the festive period when “people are consuming a lot more video”, says Sinden, in the hope it will bring in new and existing Telegraph readers.
Ultimately the publisher knows it cannot sustain its future on revenue sharing with third party platforms, and is looking at new ways to make video commerically-viable, instead of a ‘nice-to-have’.
“If you look at the status of publisher markets, there is huge growth on third party platforms, whether that is Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, Google AMP," says Sinden.
“You need to have a presence on those platforms, but around commercial video if you are revenue sharing on all of those other platforms - apart from Youtube and AOL network - they don't monetise officially. Then you have got to look at other ways to make video work for you commercially. By having that on your own site amongst premium content it is a way that media owners and publishers can generate revenues.”
However, many publishers are happy to sacrifice control over advertising in exchange for the reach of third party platforms. The question is whether the Telegraph can pull enough viewers off the platforms they know and love and onto their own site to watch video, in order to convince advertisers it is a worthwhile investment.