Lost Remote has an article, The web video amateur hour may be ending, (with a great and growing conversation in the comments) that might carry a warning for newspapers jumping on the video bandwagon.
If the bloom is coming off the user-generated video rose as more professional video content comes online, as the Business Week article cited by Lost Remote suggests, a spillover effect may hit the less-than-high-quality video popping up on a lot of newspaper sites.
The competition is still (and perhaps increasingly) about viewers’ time, and the BW article suggests that time is being increasingly sucked up by high-production, high-entertainment valued video. (Read the comments: some disagree.)
So what does this have to do with newspaper video? Nothing, for those handful of newspapers that are producing high-quality work, both in technical and storytelling terms. But it could have a serious effect on those newspapers that are churning out video for the sake of video, poorly produced and in service of stories that are much more easily told (and consumed) in good old-fashioned words and photos. Not to pick on any particular newspaper, but here’s an example: CHP officer honored on Grapevine. (You may have to dig around the index to find this particular clip; I couldn’t link directly to the video.) There’s a lot of video like that out there.
I’m not suggesting that newspapers give up on video. Video is an exciting and valuable addition to the storytelling box. But, again if the BW article is pointing to something that’s beginning to happen, it suggests that the time is coming, and perhaps quickly, when newspaper video, in terms of its production values and its content, has to be as competitively compelling as what’s being produced by “the pros” if they hope to compete for all those eyeballs (and the ad dollars that go with them.)
UPDATE: Mathew Ingram has a good post that takes the BW article stance apart. Does that weaken the suggestion that newspapers need to up the storytelling and technical quality of their videos? Probably, but I don’t think it makes the point moot.