Commentary

Vice's Latest Pivot To Video Comes Amid CTV Growth

The phrase “pivot to video” evokes rueful reminders of unsuccessful attempts by publishers to monetize video content on Facebook five or six years ago. According to the prevailing narrative, the social network dashed those hopes after changing its news feed algorithm to de-emphasize publisher content.

Amid the cord-cutting trend and growth in video consumption on connected devices, such as mobile phones and smart TVs, publishers have more ways to distribute video content and support those efforts with advertising revenue. In other words, the time is riper for a pivot to video.

Vice Media is channeling more resources into video production while cutting back on text articles on its Vice.com, Refinery29 and i-D properties, The New York Times reported this week. The release of a video series, “Sex Re-education,” on Refinery29signals this greater emphasis on visual storytelling.

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Alongside its plans to produce more video, including content geared for mobile devices, Vice will cut the number of text articles on its websites by 40% to 50%.
The impetus for creating more video is a shift in the media consumption habits of its audiences. In the past couple of years, the digital publisher doubled its number of monthly views on its YouTube channel to almost 90 million in May.
Engagement with its Instagram account also jumped, contrasting with the 26% decline in engagement with Vice’s text articles during the period, the NYT reported.
Vice’s growth in video consumption bodes well for reaching younger audiences who tend to spend more time with mobile devices and connected TV. YouTube’s viewership is gradually shifting  from mobile devices to CTV, according to data cited by eMarketer.

CTV also offers the possibility for publishers to showcase video in branded apps, which are becoming a necessity as audiences seek out specialized programming.

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