The exponential proliferation of smartphones in the country, for the first time, has introduced Internet to an entirely new generation. This has also given rise to online content consumption on the go. On an average, the video social network YouTube gets 60 million unique users every month in India, according to comScore data.
The global online video ad spending is expected to surpass $10 billion by 2015, according to industry estimates. Today, India is in the top three video-consuming markets in the world. Video is clearly one of the biggest growth drivers of the Internet on mobile.
New age digital publishers and traditional ones too, are well aware of the potential of online video. But for the five-month-old mobile first digital news platform, The Quint, YouTube isn’t just a video network but an active digital TV.
The brainchild of media and TV veterans, Raghav Bahl and Ritu Kapur, the digital news platform publishes more than 15 videos in a day. “Our news videos are short, often as short as 30 seconds, but they put news in perspective for the mobile cruiser. We know that our audience is often watching our videos at work, in meetings – which is why our videos work even on silent.
We also know that we have to capture our viewers attention in the opening 3 seconds – whether they are buffering on a low connectivity zone or if they are on an autoplay platform,” informed Ritu Kapur, Director at Quintillion Media, the parent company of The Quint.
A quick look at the uploads and the average length of videos is less than a minute; the graphics are sure to grab attention of the Snapchat and emoticon generation. For instance the latest video uploaded in the Q News playlist that focuses on the incessant rains in West Bengal, is 0.56 seconds long.
“We are tweaking our video formats all the time – How much graphics text? How bold the font? What colours work? How much, or how little to clutter the tiny mobile screen? Do Hindi bites really need subtitles? Will the videos work for our South users? How to make the words pop and for important elements to stand out? How to best exploit the visuals?”
While the focus of Quint has been producing shorter consumable videos over mobile, the publication has also crafted slightly longer videos. The movie reviews playlist has videos that are more than two minutes. The 2.10-minute video reveals all the flaws in Kabir Khan’s latest Bollywood release ‘Phantom’.
Additionally, there are videos focused on Sports, Tech, Auto and the most essential ‘The Quint Quirks’. “Feed a Malayali This Onam” is the latest one to add the quirkiness to the playlist.
“We have been around for five months and we have seen how important it is for us to LISTEN to our audiences, as they respond to our content. We have been very pleasantly surprised to find that our users want substance in every format – text stories and videos. They appreciate it when we raise issues that they can engage with – commenting, sending us UGC content, sharing and so on. We keep our formats as participative as possible,” added Ritu.
“We often have short videos embedded within a primarily text piece – to make the experience more visual for the reader. And we write a text piece for every video just in case the viewer is in a low connectivity area.”
In addition to the existing platter of video content, QWrap – a end of day top stories video wrap up is one more offering from the publication that not only stands out for the content but also for its execution.
As you can see in the above video, which is the latest addition in the QWrap section, it has young hosts who are delivering the content with ease. Quint’s belief is that the online viewer cannot relate with anchors trussed up in suits and ties, speaking formally. They need the news givers to look like them and speak like them. “The news studio walls are broken, the proscenium has vanished. Our reporters wear no make up, they do not have teleprompters, they speak off the cuff and they speak their mind. And they keep it edgy and short. So the viewers get the day’s news in 90 seconds flat. The format has been a great hit.”
Giving an idea of the backend team, Ritu shared that it is a small one that will grow as the focus on video deepens. “We have three producers and 4 editors for news and for features, we have three producers in Delhi and two in Mumbai. One camera person each in both cities.”
The producers/reporters mostly shoot on cell phones and DSLRs with a quick turnaround time. The publication is also taking help from citizen journalists to bring wider coverage. “We also use online tools like Explee and Wideo to innovate in our video styling. Our videos are also our place to be creative and have fun. We have a wonderful, young, mad and quirky team.”
Producing original content, specially video, comes with its own challenges in this fast paced digital world where every minute is prime time. “There is so much changing so fast in the digital video space in terms of formats, tools, ideas, interactivity – it is breathless. The team has to come up with a new idea virtually every day. Our video editors are experimenting with editing styles all the time. You will die if you don’t try,” she shared while stressing on the importance of checking performance and ideating ways to improve it.
As of now YouTube is the primary video publishing network but the team is working on Facebook videos too. On Facebook Quint is focusing on creating funny and short videos around Facebook trends, and also bring videos that answer the day’s/week’s trends. #FBQuickE are 2-minute videos that focus on the world of entertainment.
Instagram and Vine are the other platforms where the publication is investing time and money to create interesting videos suiting the audience. “For Instagram we churn out 15 seconders, very often edited on the mobile phone itself using apps like Flipagram. We make sure that all our Instagram videos work on silent just as well. We are also doing a lot on Vine and Periscope – and that is, well, video on Twitter.”
“It’s all about first building a credible brand with strong loyalty across platforms though.”
Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) on Thursday cleared all doubts on its cryogenic capabilities, successfully launching the Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D6), placing GSAT-6, a 2,117kg communication satellite in orbit. This marks the second successful GSLV launch using an indigenous cryogenic engine. The first launch, on April 15, 2010 was a failure, followed by the second one on January 5, 2014 which was a success. GSLV-D6 carrying GSAT-6 lifted off from Sriharikota spaceport at 4.52pm as scheduled. This was the ninth flight of the Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle. Around 17 minutes after liftoff, the rocket injected GSAT-6 into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), making the mission a success.
Going forward Ritu informed that she wants tech that can keep up with the wildest content ideas. On personalisation and interactivity, there lies a possibility to toggle between long form and short in the same video, also to toggle between languages as the publication heads towards launching its Hindi site (Quint Hindi FB page). “We hope to grow more in the long form digital video, including series and short films.”
Video definitely is super primary content for Quint as video consumption keeps proliferating. And after 22 years in television, it is the storytelling format that Ritu understands the best. “We want tech but for now we are focusing on IDEAS, and our young team at The Quint is leading from the front on that.”