Video Now: NowThis News
Ed O'Keefe: NowThis News is the first news network for the mobile and social generation. We do everything native to the social platform on which we’re producing original content.
Steven Belser: We define news as the most relevant topics that are being discussed on these social platforms. So it’s all the things that are transpiring on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, on Vine. If it’s not part of the social conversation, if it’s not something that is really deemed important at that moment in time, we don’t need to create content on it.
Ed O'Keefe: NowThis News has seven primary products. We do RightNowThis News, which we are gearing up to do 12 times a day. We do Instagram. We're producing Vines, and we're probably doing anywhere, again, between four and six a day. We work on YouTube, which we're generally doing one to three pieces a day. We've got Facebook, which again; we're looking at about four to six pieces a day. We've done about 6,500 videos to date. We produce about fifty a day.
Ed O'Keefe: This generation- the mobile and social generation- is no less interested in news than any generation that came before it, they’re just diffused.
Steven Belser: We wanted to create a product that lived on the platforms that everyone lived on. And so it was targeted for your mobile devices, it was made specifically for the consumer who is kind of on the go. And I think we assessed the landscape and we found that the content that really performs well on those products is short, and it’s to the point.
Ed O'Keefe: You can't take television content and put it on the Web, particularly mobile and social, and expect it to do any good.
Steven Belser: So, everyday we start with an editorial meeting. The staff breaks out into this large group where we talk about all the things that are important to everyone at that point in time. And I think our staff is an excellent indicator of the things that are important to that audience. I think they’re very much the peers of the people they’re making the content for.
Sarah Frank: We're kind of scouring trends to see what people care about and what they want to be informed about and what gets them talking, and then we're giving them extra information about that.
Connor Boals: There’s the reporters of the world that are doing the things, and we're curating and deciphering it and bringing to an audience in a form that’s way more digestible. Like, what 20-something gives a crap about the government shutdown? So what do we do? We go get a bunch of skateboarders from DC and we go hang out with them on the Mall and shoot them skating around DC, because that’s something that they haven’t been able to do since 9/11, because the park police is everywhere and they all got furloughed. So then suddenly it's like, "Dude, the government shutdown."
Sarah Frank: News shouldn’t have to feel like homework. Whether you're a student or you’re a professional, you want to go to the next conversation you have with someone and be smarter. It's like a little news snack. You actually get real information about what’s happening but you're not going to be put totally into the weeds. You don’t have to waste a lot of time. It's a minute and a half at its longest, and in a minute and a half, you get three stories and little piece of fun at the end.
Ed O'Keefe: NowThis News worked with Ben and Jerry's, who wanted to do a fair trade campaign. So this was very interesting to us. We can do a long form concept for their use on fair trade, we'd basically take our production skills and capabilities and then we will create a six-second version, a 15-second version, and look at what networks within social are good places to send that message.
Ben and Jerry’s, in that particular case, came to us because we are one of the only, if not the only, mobile and social-centric news organizations. We're not looking to do preroll. We're not looking to say, "We have 10 million users and do 20 million views a month, and I will jam your ad before every unrelated piece of content that I possibly can." It doesn't work. It certainly seems that creative services and advertising-I can't say traditional advertising, because its not traditional advertising- will be a big part of the revenue stream.
Connor Boals: I haven’t really bristled. I feel like there’s some qualms that I should be having as a journalist about suddenly doing work for an outside person who is paying me to make this. That ultimately they have say in what it comes out to be. It’s a company that I care about and I want it to work, and one of the things that has to happen for that to work is that it has to make money.
Sarah Frank: When you're in media, the news is doom and gloom about jobs and, to me, being at a place like this and being in a creative environment where we're not stifled by old media, and just the institutions of a certain type of journalism, and now I feel like we're hitting a moment where stuff is happening, and people have a better understanding for it, it's just really exciting.