E&P's January "Revenue Roundup"

Monetizing video. The next opportunity and challenge.


If a picture is worth a thousand words, newspapers have delivered both types of content for over a century. Television took content one step further with motion, sound and color. Today, video content has exploded across multiple TV platforms and escaped from the TV environment to be available almost everywhere and created by almost anyone.

“Content is the king of marketing and video is the king of kings. It’s quick and easy to consume, and it’s gender, age and lifestyle agnostic,” said Billy Garland, regional marketing director for the State of Virginia for Lee Enterprises and Virginia Video Network.

Mike Sax, performance marketer and owner of Sax MKTG in Colorado, agrees with Garland.

“Video is royalty. It delivers information in a very viable way, considering most people are always on internet-connected devices. If you’re not currently leveraging video, there is much low-hanging fruit as a starting point. In terms of creating video content, everyone’s on a level playing field, which means your video content, its creativity, how you present it and your consistency is critical. The uniqueness of your video content is the only differentiator between you and your competitors,” Sax said.

Sax emphasized analytics is as important as the creative message because of the proliferation of platforms and channels to disseminate video content. Without a thorough understanding of analytics, knowing which video is driving success is difficult.

“The challenge for news outlets is diversifying their content to remain relevant and maximize engagement rates. So many types of content must be tested to determine what works, resonates with one’s audiences and provides value. Without diversifying their content offerings, news outlets will be passed over,” Sax said.

The dominance of video content is global and a daily activity for most people.

  • There are over 3.5 billion global video viewers, and music videos are the most popular for almost half (49.4 percent). Statista, Q2 2023
  • During the average week, people watch 17 hours of online video content, and three-fourths of them use their mobile devices to watch short-form videos. HubSpot/Wyzowl, 2023
  • 82% of Gen Z teens watch YouTube and almost twice as many recall ads they viewed on YouTube compared to the 23% recall on TikTok. Giraffe Insights/Precise TV, 2023

Video collaboration in southern Vermont

The Virginia Video Network team records a custom client video for An Achievable Dream, a local nonprofit organization, for the Tennis Ball, its signature fundraising event.

The bucolic landscape and charm of southern Vermont may not seem like a place where one would look for an innovative approach for using video content in small, local newspapers. However, Jordan Brechenser, publisher and president of Vermont News and Media, has made that commitment as part of its hyper-local news reporting in Brattleboro, Bennington and Manchester. He started the process by hiring Ahmad Yassir as the digital sales and marketing specialist.

Yassir, a 2020 graduate of Bennington College, has the digital-native mindset that more newspapers are discovering is essential to lead their efforts to maximize exposure in digital media and specifically with video content.

“We’re currently focused on integrating video for news and advertising. Our team at the Brattleboro Reformer has already started a collaboration with Brattleboro Community TV (BCTV), the public-access TV station, to produce a video series and a podcast series. The video series is a weekly show called Vermontitude,” Yassir said.

Ahmad Yassir, digital sales and marketing specialist, Vermont News and Media

According to Yassir, Vermontitude provides news updates but primarily presents community news, interviews with local leaders and interesting people, and important issues in the community. Each Vermontitude episode is converted into an article and emailed to residents, redirecting them to the video content and promoting the weekly show.

“We plan to replicate Vermontitude for the Bennington Banner and Manchester Journal by collaborating with our local public-access TV station, Catamount TV. The Made in Vermont video series will be more business-oriented than news-oriented. We’ll be blasting every episode to our entire subscriber base and audience as well as Catamount TV’s subscriber base and members,” Yassir said.

Yassir added that making its audience aware that Vermont News and Media’s traditional news publications are starting to produce video content is challenging. They are considering posting the video content on weekends when website views decline. Yassir thinks this will keep people engaged seven days a week with the newspapers’ online platforms and increase page views during the weekend. 

Adding independent video production to the newspaper business model

Publishing video content has become a complementary feature of news reporting at many newspapers and news outlets, including the Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch and its Virginia Video Network. In 2020, it installed a full-service video studio in the middle of the fourth-floor offices to create and publish a variety of news programming and offer video production services to businesses and organizations.

Billy Garland, regional marketing director for the State of Virginia for Lee Enterprises and Virginia Video Network

Garland’s role is to support marketing efforts and sales enablement in the 12 Lee Enterprises newspapers in Virginia and manage custom client video production. Much of that work is TV commercials and video content for clients’ websites and social media pages. But recently, Garland and his team have offered live-streaming capabilities for organizations and nonprofits.

Many media outlets are discovering they can build more trust with local advertisers by serving them as a marketing consultant, a Virginia Video Network's central strategy.

“We’re able to share data with advertisers to help them develop a targeted campaign. We pride ourselves on being solution-agnostic. Even when the data indicates an advertiser should be on TV, radio or outdoor, our job is connecting advertisers to the right audience and cutting through the noise with our portfolio of services, including media buying,” Garland said.

A still from a BCI Media video production markets the Durango-La Plata County Airport.

Ballantine Communications publishes multiple newspapers, a magazine and various business and tourism guides in southwest Colorado and northwest New Mexico. Among operations of its size, it realized that offering digital marketing services was another opportunity to support local businesses and create another revenue stream. BCI Media was founded in 2013, and its staff of 18 assist its clients with marketing consultation, website development, social media, SEO, email marketing and video.

“After 10 years of serving local businesses and clients outside our area, we find most business owners understand why video is good for their marketing strategy. Some may not have the budget for video just yet, but our main goal is to ensure they’re successful. And we help however we can within their budget,” said Jamie Opalenik, director of multimedia sales and marketing at Ballantine.

Jamie Opalenik, director of multimedia sales and marketing at Ballantine Communications

The Durango-La Plata County Airport is one of BCI Media’s marketing clients. BCI Media provides several creative services for the airport, including video content edited for use on the airport's TV screens, social media and different ad units.

“I think video is very versatile, and many different avenues and platforms can be used to monetize video content. It should definitely be in business marketing strategies and plans. Journalists should always do their best to paint the picture with their words in a newsroom. However, video is definitely a helpful asset to accompany a story,” Opalenik said.

Bob Sillick has held many senior positions and served a myriad of clients during his 47 years in marketing and advertising. He has been a freelance/contract content researcher, writer, editor and manager since 2010. He can be reached at bobsillick@gmail.com.


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