Report: Publishers fill video content needs with repackaged ads
- Social media users are eager for video content and some publishers are turning to repurposed video ads to fill that need, per a report in The Wall Street Journal.
- The Journal’s report pointed out that Business Insider and Cheddar are two of the publishers taking video ads and reediting them with subtitles and music and posting them to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter as video content.
- The repurposed ads are organic content from the publisher so the brand behind the original ad isn’t paying for the video to be reused in this way. The publisher benefits by being able to post video content that requires little more than some cosmetic editing while advertisers win because their ads gets new life on social media at no additional cost and platforms win because the entire process adds more video content for users.
The gray area in repurposing ads for video content from publishers is end users might not be aware the video they are watching is in effect an ad, even though the brand isn’t paying for the new exposure. It’s a shortcut for publishers not wanting to spend the time and money involved in producing video content, and the rest of the players in the process may not having anything to complain about given the perceived benefits.
However, the practice is another example of a lack of transparency and accountability for end users in digital media at a time when publishers and digital marketers are already hurting from the proliferation of fake news sites and an complex media supply chain. It is not in their best interests to further undermine a relationship with consumers already weakened by intrusive ads if there any confusion over who is behind the content does occur.
Given that the video content in question isn’t sponsored, it's unclear if it runs afoul of any organizations with industry oversight. The news comes as digital video consumption continues to grow.
Nicholas Carlson, editor-in-chief of Business Insider, told the Journal that 80% of its videos contain original footage, but also said repackaged marketing or advertising was “in itself a form of reporting.” Carlson supported this claim by explaining Business Insider has to track down the video ad’s owner, get permission to reuse the ad as video content and report the story behind the footage. Whether or not most people would agree with Carlson’s view is unclear.
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