Facebook going video mad, but people still prefer text for news

Facebook has gone video mad. Between Facebook Live launching and the news that FB is now paying notable content creators for video, it’s clear to see which way the social network is growing. When it comes to news, however, the overwhelming majority still want text.

The WSJ reports that BuzzFeed is getting a $3.1 million dollar paycheck to produce videos and post them on FB as part of a $50 million expense for increased video. The New York Times is getting $3 million, CNN is getting $2.5 million, Hearst $1.2 million, NPR $1.2 million, and Vice Media $1.0 million. Plus paid videos from Kevin Hart, Gordon Ramsay, swimmer Michael Phelps and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.

Why the focus on video?

With more people having connected devices than ever before and more people have access to high-speed internet, more people are watching video. Facebook’s so gung ho that one Facebook exec recently said five years from now, Facebook “will be probably all video.”

“(Facebook will) be definitely mobile, it will be probably all video” — Nicola Mendelsohn, Oversees Facebook’s Europe, Middle East, Africa operations at a London conference via Quartz

Mendelsohn said the stats show the written word is being replaced by moving images and video. Hopefully, more funny cat videos!

When it comes to News, vast majority prefer text

Only 5% say they mostly watch rather than read news online.

While video usage is increasing, when it comes to news, most consumers still prefer the written word. A study from Reuters shows 78% rely mostly on text. Video usage in the US is the highest of the countries surveyed (33%)

The main reason people give for not using more video is that they find text quicker and more convenient (41%). 19% say that videos often don’t add anything to what is already in the text story.

Then there’s those pesky pre-roll ads (you know, the way we publishers make money off the video and help subsidize all of the hard work we put into creating content). 35% say they are put off by pre-roll ads. Reuters says that figure has increased in a number of countries this year including the United States.

Social vs. News Sites

That brings us back to people getting their news on social. Heavy social media users in particular are around 50% more likely to access online news videos than the general population. Sounds great until you think about the fact that there aren’t pre-roll ads… good for consumers, but bad for publishers if they want to get paid for their work.

Here’s the Digital-News-Report-2016.

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