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Ken Haren

By Ken Haren

Director of Product Marketing at Brightcove

Key Video Metrics for News Publishers


News Publishers

News publishers work in a fast-paced environment. Production times are short. Windows of opportunity are small. Content lifespans are fleeting. And when it comes to analytics, every second counts.

Indeed, success in the news industry depends on real-time data—from web to social to video.

Compared to other media companies, publishers rapidly adapt content strategies, respond to breaking stories, and engage viewers in dynamic discussions. Quality content is ideal, but timely content is essential to increasing viewership, ad revenue, and credibility.

Competition is fierce, which puts knowing your audience and aligning to their interests at a premium. But with the right video metrics, publishers can keep their audiences engaged without falling behind the news cycle.

Concurrent Viewers

Concurrent Viewers

Perhaps the most important video metric for news publishers is how many people are currently viewing their content. Especially as stories develop, tracking how viewers respond to your coverage can help shape your programming strategy.

Preferably, a Concurrent Viewers metric should be as granular as possible, like viewers per minute over the past hour. Solutions like Brightcove’s Engagement Insights for Publishers also display this data by live and VOD content, as well as by top videos, countries, and cities.

For example, you could filter by live content to see if your coverage of a local story is getting pickup in that country or city. If not, you can try geo-targeted social promotions and see if that draws those viewers. If it still isn’t getting views, you may need to rethink whether you cover stories from that region in the future.

You could also filter by VOD content to see what the current top video is in a particular region. Then you could try sending browser or app notifications of related content to see if that attracts additional attention. If it does, you may have identified a niche worthy of more in-depth reporting or even its own segment.

Monitoring for drop-offs is another valuable application of Concurrent Viewers. Drop-offs can be related to content type or duration, viewer behavior or interest, as well as technology issues and other current events. Analyzing them as they happen allows you to quickly determine if a programming decision is needed.

Top Titles

Your top content drives your business. It guides your editorial decisions and sets your revenue goals. Thus, monitoring the health of these programs is critical. News is a fickle industry, and unchecked drops can quickly lose advertiser interest.

News publishers should track top title views over the past day by the hour. This lets you see how well your programming strategy aligns with the 24-hour news cycle.

For example, if a major story breaks after your peak daily viewership, you can see whether your top programs sway viewer habits. If viewership doesn’t change, then you know that it’s best to cover breaking stories the following day.

Day Part

Day Part

Beyond top titles, understanding when viewers are most likely to tune in is essential. Especially in a digital context where “on demand” is expected, live programming can’t be the only guide for an editorial calendar.

Just like broadcasters, news publishers need to see viewing by day part. Quarter-hour intervals over the course of a week that reflect local viewing time should be broken out by both on demand and live content.

Many publishers will have relatively predictable patterns due to morning or evening news programs and other popular segments. But day part viewing can show the ebb and flow between those titles.

For example, how does a popular live program affect on demand viewing afterward? If engagement drops slowly, take advantage of that interest by publishing fresh related content. If it drops quickly, try different notifications to see what will keep them in platform.

Engagement Peaks

Engagement Peaks

Knowing the lifecycle of content is equally important for news publishers. Some stories break hard and fast while others build over time. Tracking these trends and predicting engagement patterns can inform both marketing and monetization strategies.

An Engagement Peaks metric that measures engagement over hours since the first view is the best way to identify opportunities for optimization.

Looking at engagement by video views can point to the best times to promote that content on your homepage or social channels. Similarly, engagement by hours viewed highlights areas of content stickiness that advertisers will pay top dollar for.

Breaking out engagement further by different dimensions can ensure you’re getting the most out of your content. For example, Brightcove’s Engagement Insights for Publishers offers three dimensions for Engagement Peaks.

  • Category. Politics and sports content tend to be consumed very differently. While political engagement is often immediate and short-lived, sports engagement can take longer to catch on and even longer to subside. With insights like these applied to your own brand, you can refine your ad policies and promote your content strategically.
  • Top Titles. Your top programs can behave differently than their categories might suggest. While news segments usually vary, news commentary or talk shows often have large, dedicated audiences. Isolating top performers not only allows you to enhance them, it can identify how other factors like time of day or talent affect an overall category.
  • Content Duration. Like top titles, snackable short-form content can also deviate from their respective categories. Videos like sports highlights and weekly recaps may have less monetization potential than the original long-form programs. But promoted at the right time, short clips can captivate social audiences and drive brand awareness.

Real-Time Insights

Some industries can afford to wait for the data they need. They can take their time compiling data, analyzing KPIs, and visualizing trends. News isn’t one of those industries.

News publishers need real-time data, but even better, they need real-time insights.

Stories break and develop in different ways, at different times, and with different audiences. Video metrics like Concurrent Viewers, Top Titles, Day Part, and Engagement Peaks help news teams see the most actionable trends and make editorial decisions even faster.

Between mainstream outlets, niche publishers, and influencers, keeping your audience engaged has never been harder. But at the end of the day, producing the right content for the right audience at the right time wins every time. The right metrics can help you do that.

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