The Value in Mining Vintage News

Years ago, then-correspondent Stephen Colbert of “The Daily Show” conducted a devastatingly funny interview where he roasted New York Times editors for delivering a big pile of what he called “vintage news,” day-old stories that everyone else already had read online.

The editors were left spluttering, trying to explain their outdated business model. It painfully but amusingly illustrated the challenges publishers face, many of which still dog the industry.

Fast-forward several years —delivered today the piece would miss a larger truth: Even old news has new value.

The key – and this is something newspapers weren’t set up to do a decade ago – is getting the right evergreen content, especially video content, in front of the right viewer at the right time.

It can dramatically boost revenue and profits off material sitting in your digital vault.

Done right, your visitors will stick around through multiple videos, even if they only came to read one text article. It’s all about maximizing return from your video library. By programming relevant content to viewers, media companies can recreate linear viewing experiences that made TV so successful in building large loyal audience in a digital context.



But is your site set up for success?

Is it positioned to continue feeding a reader related, highly relevant content that keeps them sticking around? Can it deliver another video, just the right one, which can make that news story even more useful and impactful?

Below are some best practices that can optimize the experience for your visitors while extracting more revenue from your vintage news:

  • How’s your metadata? So much begins here, when you consistently tag a piece of video with who, what, and when. Connecting your vintage content with your current stuff means you need to create the right signposts  the quickly navigate that older content and serve up the right stuff.

Think of structured metadata as something like SEO, the set of best practices that help search engines find relevant posts across the Internet. With structured metadata, the main difference is we’re providing the information that an internal system needs to give viewers curated and targeted content.

The more structured and complete that metadata, the better your systems will work.

  • Data-influenced programming. Adjust your programming mix by looking every month or quarter at what works for your audience
  • Jump on the bounce. What segments have the lowest bounce rates, i.e., which videos result in viewers not only finishing that video but watching additional videos? Tap your social and audience-development tools to drive views to those pages, where you’ll get more follow-on views.
  • Strike a balance. As you analyze your data, look at the percentage of views coming from content categories with respect to your library’s assets. For example, if 40% of your views are driven by videos with the category “Health,” but health videos only make up 15% of your library, your supply and demand are out of whack. Basically, you’re leaving money on the table if you’re not making more video like that your audience already likes.
  • Show me the money. For your second and subsequent videos, experiment with ad frequency, but always have a pre-roll ad queued up ahead of that first video. The user chose to watch that video so that is your guaranteed place to grab ad views. Make sure and take it.
  • Don’t be greedy. Work with your ad-operations team to look at retention figures, your pre-roll inventory and the impact of your ad stack. Ads are content too, and the right ad content accompanying your videos can make a difference in your users’ experiences. Know what your inventory is doing to that experienc

These best practices won’t solve every challenge facing publishers in the digital era. But they will help you maximize profit opportunities from your library of older video content.

Getting more from the “vintage news” you’ve already created can be a difference maker for your bottom line. And it’s a gift that can keep giving, providing deep knowledge about your audience and its interests that can lead to other compelling evergreen material.

And that’s no laughing matter.  


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