Forget Short Attention Spans, The Economist is Going Long on Digital Video

While most publishers are trying to figure out how to get video shorter to distribute on platforms like Facebook and Snapchat, The Economist is betting on a long-form approach.


Its 4-month-old, 10-person video division, called The Economist Films, has spent the summer experimenting with video and settled on an approach that goes in depth on big topics, typically 12-15 minutes. For instance, the 12-minute “Drone Rangers,” released in June, looks at people finding new jobs as drone pilots around the world. Later that month, the studio released “The World If… malaria drugs stop working?” a 15-minute speculative piece on all the problems that would be created if the current crop of anti-malaria treatments lose their efficacy.

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