How Facebook Is Bringing Back The Silent Newsreel
Josh Kalven

Silent transcripts for video content

I’m sorry.

I know you spent hours on this. Your production standards are impeccable.

From the SEO-friendly title, I’m confident there’s something in here for me, but I’m just not going to sit through a 4 minute video.

At least, I’m not sure I will. It’s too much of a risk.

The pre-roll ad, the bumpers, the interviewer’s preamble, the postured questioning.

The content might well be invaluable, but I can’t tell that before I watch it.

But I could.

If only you included a transcript.

And allowed those whose opinions I trust to link to and annotate it.

Show me a way to go directly to the frame that will interest me most and my engagement will be higher than ever.

This offers you all sorts of opportunities as a publisher.

Match the content of that specific frame with an ad or additional content that’s relevant not to the whole video, but to that moment in time.

I’ll then likely explore further and further — becoming increasingly inclined and aware.

Check out this piece about how Facebook and the New York Times have essentially engineered a revival of the silent newsreels of the 1920s and 1930s.

This way, I’m engrossed in your content. It’s efficient, effective and enjoyable. And I’m doing it whilst rocking my own playlist or just the buzz of my office in the background.

No autoplay with audio, ever.

And searchable, hyperlinked transcripts, forever.

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