One Minute News: Slow News, No Growth

/ Aug 13, 2013

One Minute News, a news video service aimed at covering breaking news stories in — you guessed it — one minute, was launched by longtime television sales executive Doug Greenlaw in the first half of 2011. Greenlaw’s hope was providing a trustworthy news source for Millennials, who are less likely to go to the traditional news-media brands to learn about what’s going on in the world, and if/how it’s relevant to them. One Minute started out as a standalone service, before shifting content over to a YouTube channel, which to this day has amassed just over 17,000 subscribers.

Not exactly the type of growth you would want with such a venture. So what happened? While One Minute has had trouble with producing and distributing videos in a timely manner, based on what VideoInk has heard from a source with knowledge of the situation, the problems go a bit deeper. According to the source, the One Minute team does not understand the nature of digital video consumption and is unable (and unwilling) to iterate based on that.

One Minute News, while focusing heavily on the idea of creating news video content in snackable chunks, forgot the other rule of web video, which is that the process doesn’t end after the video has been published. As my VidCon panel pointed out, that simply doesn’t work. It’s important to interact with the audience, not just beneath the video in the form of comments, but also across other social media platforms. It’s important to build a fanbase. And for a long time, we are told One Minute News simply did not get that. And when the issue was raised, the team was largely resistant to making the necessary changes because, once again, the belief was the audience would come simply because the videos were short and topical. (Recent videos show hosts requesting viewers to comment, but it’s usually done very quickly at the end of the video.)

The other issue has been on-air talent, which VideoInk has been told from the same source does not possess a lot of experience working for digital companies or platforms. In fact, Greenlaw made some hiring decisions based on his personal relationship with the talent — hiring his son, friends of friends, children of friends, etc.

It’s easy to label One Minute’s situation as being a problem exclusive to One Minute — and in some cases (the hiring strategy) it is. But the other problem, about producing content for the web, is emblematic of how a lot of traditional media folks misunderstand how web video works, something I have heard from multiple people (with backgrounds in both new media and old media) in the past couple of weeks.

One Minute News had opportunities to find an audience on the web. Similar to NowThis News, the company had distribution deals with other web video outlets, including Microsoft, Yahoo, and NDN. Microsoft recently ended the deal, according to a source, after Yahoo and NDN did the same. The problem was that the company did not build and sustain an audience to make such distribution deals work. No one was watching, commenting, and sharing.

Go back to the beginning or go to the VideoInk homepage.

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