It’s way too easy to produce mediocre video, and to lose money on digital video efforts. Any honest assessment of media companies’ current non-TV-originated internet video would reflect that.
But video at the same time is arguably the medium with the most potential for digital creativity, and for reaching hundreds of millions of people globally. Mark Zuckerberg has said that the experience of Facebook in a few years will be mostly about video. And the over-the-top video disruption means unprecedented opportunities for upstart media players to distribute their content to users’ television sets and computers.
Quartz’s staff is energized by this change. We’re now entering into video production, with a small team of experienced digital video journalists experimenting ambitiously with new formats, techniques, and distribution. We’re liberating them for an initial period from ad inventory requirements and preconceptions about what the videos they produce should look like.
We’re publishing our initial videos where viewers already are, on Facebook and YouTube. (We’re also embedding them in a YouTube player on qz.com for our loyal readers whenever that makes sense.) In our first few weeks, we’ve already published one major viral hit, a science video with over 15 million views on Facebook. Other videos have had significant success.
Quartz fans should look for us to produce video that surprises. You can think of our efforts as a video-production laboratory, where we build on our successes and learn from any experiments that don’t work. As we develop conviction around our approach to video, you can expect more significant investments there over time.
A key philosophy at Quartz is that we don’t create separate departments or sections of our site to house different forms of content, such as charts or videos. We just want to present great stories to our readers in whatever form works best—and believe that readers rarely are looking to make decisions about whether they want to see a chart post or a text article or a short video at any given moment.
Rather, they want something that entertains and informs them, whatever form it takes. What this means is that videos will appear in the flow of Quartz’s site, and be the work of everyone in our newsroom. We aspire over time to create tools and formats that allow all of our journalists around the world to themselves easily create videos when that’s the best way to tell a story.
You can also expect that we do our best to serve and respect our users. Quartz’s goal is to serve high-quality content to a global audience of business professionals, as with our non-video efforts. We believe that respecting our users and their time means not placing 15- or 30-second pre-rolls in front of videos. We’d prefer to do the hard work of tackling the creative and business challenges of inventing non-preroll forms of sponsorship that maximize both user satisfaction and revenue.