Is Mashable’s focus on video and sponsored content just a trend?

Mashable explores whether today’s ticket to 'increased page count' involves a more robust video strategy

video digital stock

Mashable Founder and CEO Pete Cashmore recently announced a round of funding meant to “put Mashable on more platforms, including television,” along with the news of a downsized editorial staff and an increased focus on producing branded content. At a follow-up all-hands meeting, he spoke of the changing media landscape in addition to how he’ll ensure Mashable stays ahead of the curve.

In his LinkedIn Pulse post, which houses a message sent to the Mashable team assumably prior to publishing the post, Cashmore states:

"The newest platforms in our lineup include over-the-top video networks 
and television. To realize the massive opportunity that these
 platforms represent and to keep our voice consistent across every 
platform, it’s clear that all our video producers should live on the 
same team. As part of Mashable Studios, our writers, animators and
 video producers will now have the opportunity to work on our most
 important video projects — from digital shows to television to branded 
series.

"

This amplified focus on video is in line with market demand — eMarketer estimates that U.S. digital video advertising spending will climb to $14.38 billion in 2019, from $7.77 billion in 2015. Furthermore, this announcement anticipates more opportunities for the creation of sponsored content, also core to Mashable’s updated strategy.

So are other publishers hopping on the bandwagon and thinking about their content in a “video-first” way? Here, we explore a few trends.

Sticky tutorial-video content continues to dominate.

Buzzfeed’s Facebook-only foodie tutorial channel, Tasty, is likely responsible for some of the videos in your Facebook feed right now. Nearly 55 million fans are hungry for this kind of highly consumable content, much of which is created with the intent of satisfying advertisers.

From how to make Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos to Waffle Grilled Cheese, Tasty’s recipe videos always have a “wow factor” that makes them entertaining to watch even if the recipes never make it into the kitchen. Tasty came in at number one in video marketer guide ReelSEO’s roundup of the most popular Facebook video publishers for the month of May, 2016.

More news content created with social-feed consumption in mind.

If you look at the homepage of video-first news site NowThis, you’re greeted with the following message: “Homepage. Even the word sounds old. We bring the news to your social feed.” Along the righthand side of the homepage appears a laundry list of logos directing visitors to select their social platform of choice. Once a platform such as Instagram or Facebook is selected, the video content can be viewed.

NowThis was also featured in ReelSEO’s list of top-performing Facebook video publishers for the month of March, 2016, likely due, in part, to the outlet’s mastering of on-screen text that allows viewers to consume videos without ever having to hit unmute, a new best practice in video production.

More video, more sponsored content.

Producing videos is expensive (even for some of the semi-scrappy stuff), so it’s not surprising that Cashmore’s increased video production goes hand-in-hand with offering more sponsored content opportunities to its advertisers. In fact, this paradigm is a little reminiscent of print publications gaining page count in tandem with increased ad dollars. If you want more room for editorial, you have to sell more ads and vice versa.

So is today’s ticket to "increased page count" a more robust video strategy? Maybe so. As media evolves and expands spherically in seemingly all directions (more video, sponsored content, content that lives on social platforms instead of a homepage), savvy publishers are evolving to survive.

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