Q: What surprises have data insights brought?
I can get down to the actual second-by-second view of how somebody is watching my
video and know that as soon as I flash this
piece of text on screen, it spikes. That word is
clearly what my users like. That kind of granularity and immediacy is surprising even to
our creative teams. I think unlocking that has
provided pleasant surprises in what kind of
tools they can use to help drive [the] audience.
Q: What are popular metrics you measure for video?
We look at views [and] view depth—minutes
spent in a video, how far do they go—[and] we
are looking at overall completion rates. We are
looking very carefully at where they are watching video. We are also looking at [how] video by
video, you can actually see things like when is
the falloff. … We do a fair amount of live, and in
live you’re looking at concurrent views and you
can see when you make a change in your programming what exactly happens, pretty immediately. We are not only watching the overall
numbers, but at an individual asset level also.
Q: What about ad blockers?
I think it’s a bigger problem abroad than in
the U.S. We looked at all the market solutions.
I think it’s a game of whack-a-mole, because if
someone is intent on doing this, they’ll just con-
tinue at it. Fortunately, it hasn’t been accelerat-
ing for us. Ultimately if we had to, we would just
serve [ads] ourselves. If the day came where
it was a pandemic problem, we are prepared
from a technology perspective to cover it our-
selves and serve directly. Right now my level of
concern for it is not super high.
Q: Is video data capture standardized across properties?
A lot of the capture is around the player,
versus the page, so we have moved to one global player across our network that sits on all of
our sites. Plus it’s syndicated, so we have a central view.
Q: What kind of data can you share about video viewing?
Our video stats across all platforms exceeded 1 billion for the first time in one quarter in
our third quarter [of 2016], up approximately
200% from last year. Our digital video unique
visitors grew 38% year-on-year, and our social
footprint expanded 45% from last year.
Q: What kind of content is successful, and where
are you seeing it viewed?
Short-form does really well on the web and on
social. Shorter-short form, like 45 seconds, does
pretty well on Facebook. Before the medium
was 2 minutes; now I think we have a lot more
in terms of range. We have longer-form video,
live content where it’s a full cooking show with
10 minutes of commentary that then plays VOD
after it’s been shown. … We also launched our
People/Entertainment Weekly OTT network,
which is a foray into true long-form content, and
these are 30-minute shows on OTT platforms. …
We’re watching our brands come
to life in true long-form TV.
Q: How does data influence your cre-
ative and technical teams?
At The Foundry, which is our
native studio, we start with social
listening. We have our own proprietary data from the 150 million
people who come to our site every month. We crawl key words
and trends across the entire
internet, Twitter, social sphere,
hashtags, etc., to see what people are talking about. This is the
same methodology our editors
use when they go to think about
what story they’re writing, what
angle they’re going after. That is
how The Foundry starts its work
its first foray into