The race for attention in a non-stop world of digital distraction is not just changing the way brands engage with their target audience, it’s impacting the way journalists and bloggers package content for their readers and viewers.

As brands look for more creative ways to get their stories in front of the media, and journalists want more readily available packaged multimedia content, the online media centre is more important than ever.

Here, James Thompson, TVC’s Digital Development Director, explains what you need to build a media centre for the 21st century.

You’ve overseen countless media centre builds and rebuilds – how have things evolved over the last 5 years?
The proliferation of mobile as the device of choice, the surge of social media and more subtle changes like the awareness of the end user and time they have browsing have all contributed to pushing us to make more advanced media centres. We are very much past the “one size fits all” stage of media centres; they all now have different value and purpose. And metrics.  Of course, our clients now understand and analyse the flow of the user and the usage a piece of content has across the internet like never before.

What do journalists tell you are their primary reasons for visiting a media centre?
Content, content, content! There has been a fairly obvious shift in the past few years into video, as our connections get faster and social moves that way too, though imagery is still the top download.

What are the biggest gripes you hear from journalists about online newsrooms?
5+ years ago it was ‘not enough new content’ or ‘cannot find the content they need quickly enough’.

Fortunately content is everywhere now and with specific UX/UI development we remedied those particular issues pretty quickly.

What features do journalists expect to see and use in a media centre?
Ability to access via a mobile device (from a good UX); access codes to embed content; access to multimedia content that is royalty free

Why are online media centres so popular as a way to source exclusive content?
Google is great, but to find somewhere that has quality media that is rights free is better. That is why so many of our 40k + DNA users are returners.

What assets make a story most engaging for journalists?
It’s all about having a range of assets – from high-res images to B-Roll that can be tailored for a specific story. We are incredibly fortunate at TVC to have in-house creative, production, strategy and PR which allows us to align every part of the story we want to tell into one integrated vision, which then in turn allows us to create a media centre to distribute those stories.

How do most journalists primarily access online media centres and what does it tell us about how their jobs have changed over the last few years?

For us most users access via desktop, primarily as a lot of our users are editors and need to download the videos so they can edit quickly. Mobile is massively catching up and we are building the tools to help.

What does TVC do differently when building a client media centre?
We challenge our clients, we ask questions and help our clients produce what the end user is looking for.

We produce media centres that don’t just wait for users, all our media centres have the option of streaming video, auto publishing all the stories and content out to news aggregation apps like apple news, Facebook instant articles, Flipboard, etc, as well as auto posting to Twitter, Facebook et al.

We produce flexible solutions to fit our clients’ needs and strategy, we are also honest so if we feel a story or content would be better served via just a social channel for instance we say that.

How do you think media will be consumed in 5 years’ time?
We are always asking ourselves this question. I think the media itself is evolving and we have to produce platforms and applications to facilitate this – at some stage there will be a tipping point and the content that agencies produce will merge with UGC to produce something completely new.

And finally, what’s next for media centres?
UGC is coming into play, but currently it’s AR and Ai. What we do is look at tech not just for tech’s sake but how it can benefit the strategy. Tech is not a strategy in itself. That said, currently we are adding in location-based tech, 360 video (of course), Ai driven metrics so we can make the most informed decisions about the content we produce. And a whole new platform is on its way. ETA March 2018, so watch this space.

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