Video News Release Use Should Be Increasing

    September 27, 2007

The FCC’s recent fake news fine has YoungPRPro list members wondering* if the end of the video news release is near.

In other video news, Springwise details a product placement company that will put your CPG onto YouTube. And this, in turn, reminds me of yesterday’s news about Firebrand.

Video is becoming more flexible, widespread and commonplace. VNR use should be increasing, not dying out. The FCC fine could turn the tactic into the TV equivalent of an advertorial, but hopefully it will mostly discourage the offending parties from misusing this tactic.

As video technology gets more powerful, it’s getting cheaper. It’s one thing to worry about print media as its audience migrates to a completely different platform, forcing publishers to change its business model. But VNR production companies have more opportunities than threats right now. Here are four ways VNR production companies can thrive.

Unbundle: Many assume you must pay for an entire VNR package to get access to the biggest point of value – distribution and tracking. By unbundling services, VNR production companies create a lower cost of entry for customers. The end result should be an increase in market share/customer base to which you then cross–sell services.

Leverage: This tactic is getting easier, not harder. And by staying behind the scenes, we’re seeing everyone including your neighbor’s kid grab the attention — in their spare time. VNR production companies should be positioned as cool, video gods. By not positioning themselves and exhibiting leadership in the space, someone else is taking all the credit.

Expand: There are many opportunities here as the market expands. Giving customers more ways to use the carefully crafted content they’ve invested in adds value to the customer relationship (and revenue to your bottom line). VNR production companies should create a garage/boutique service that puts “street/authentic” video production capabilities into the hands of corporations. Yes, corporations will pay money to make a video that is shaky with less than average production values. This same company can tell me how to turn my b-roll into a YouTube teaser campaign leading up to the launch.

Educate: More directly connected to the FCC news, and reinforcing the need for industry leadership, is the need for education. VNRs are being likened to a devil’s trident thrown by fat cats in Washington as they twirl their mustaches and count stacks of money. Please. Spare me the drama. Which VNR production company is going to step up and lead a campaign raising awareness of the right and wrong ways to create a VNR?

The question posed by the YoungPRPros is an important one, but for reasons beyond the FCC news. VNR production companies need to step up or they’ll fade to black.

*Thanks to Andy Aldridge for inspiring this post and helping me bake it.