In the words of James Harding, BBC’s news director, the age of mobile video is upon us. So, how are they responding at the “Beeb?” With an understanding of audience demands, according to Nathalie Malinarich, editor for mobile and new formats.
“You really need to grab people immediately,” says Malinarich. “If they don’t like it, they’re going to wipe away or click away.”
She says that “the show and tell is a great example of a format that works really well on mobile and on digital in general.” Walking the audience through a scene and getting them as close to the action as you can makes mobile content more compelling. She also encourages mobile reporters to dispense with some of the old conventions.
“If it’s a bit rough and ready, that just makes it more authentic,” Malinarich says. “Sometimes a piece doesn’t need any commentary; viewers on mobile may not have headphones with them. Sometimes natural sound is all you need to tell the story; sometimes quick, improvised video can be the most dramatic.”
She says all of this has “implications for how you think when you arrive at the scene of a breaking news story.” BBC correspondent Matthew Price breaks down his thought process at the scene of a breaking story this way:
1. First, get video of any action.
2. Think about sound.
3. Describe what’s happening.
4. Record a short clip with your face on camera.
5. Publish your material ASAP.
6. Keep it short.
Malinarich agrees that short is better, but also says it’s not all about breaking news.
“Some slower treatments can work really well; one example of that is the first-person piece. Documentary styles — making the most of human voices and pictures can also be very popular,” she says.
They key here is thinking differently about this different medium and considering the mobile audience first.