Online Video Traffic Surges at Newspapers on Gulf Oil Spill Coverage

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Driven by interest in the Gulf oil spill, the audience for video on newspaper Websites surged 65% in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, according to a study released Monday.

The spike in newspaper video consumption was the highest of any medium, although traffic for video grew across the board, according to the Online Vide & the Media Industry Quarterly Research Report released by Brightcove, the online video platform, and TubeMogul, an online video analytics and advertising platform.

“The highlight is that online video is truly growing and that it’s a bright spot in online traffic — and for newspapers in particular,” Jeff Whatcott, Brightcove’s senior vice president of marketing and strategy, said in an interview.

Interestingly, people seeking video news about the oil disaster turned to newspaper sites over broadcast news sites, Whatcott noted. “Newspapers really are the source of news during the day,” he said. “Broadcast sites and TV sites are more about entertainment during the evening.”

The study also showed the increasing importance of social media as a driver of online video traffic. Referral traffic from Facebook and Twitter is growing faster than from traditional search engines, the study found. “At current growth rates, Facebook will surpass Yahoo! within the year to be the second only to Google for video referral traffic,” the study said.

“Newspapers need to have a strong online presence in social media,” Whatcott said.

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