The 16th January marked the start of a month-long trial at BBC News for short form videos. Using the title Instafax (referring to the former Ceefax service), BBC News is posting short news reports to Instagram in an attempt to engage the younger, social media savvy user. The broadcaster has been using the app for a while now posting specially created content on their bbcnews account. The account has a growing number of followers, potentially making this form of bulletin very popular. The earlier videos added to the account were re-edits of previous videos broadcast on TV and normal news website like these for example:
Newer ones however have removed any voice-overs and added text and slightly relevant music:
Australia's Climate Council says in a report that the number of hot days in the country has "more than doubled". 2013 was recently declared Australia's hottest year on record. Read the full story at BBC.com/news. [We are experimenting with a short form news service we’re calling #Instafax. We’d love to hear what you think.]
For some topics (Such as the Australian heatwave above), this technique really works. It lets the images tell the story with the text adding to what the viewer finds out. Some topics however, where more sciency information is needed, I don’t think the no voice-over technique works. Below is an example of a report created by the BBC vs one which I think works a lot better being done by American online site nowthisnews:
Scientists from the Royal Veterinary College fitted data loggers to a flock of rare birds that were being trained to migrate by following a microlight. Read the full story at BBC.com/news. [We are experimenting with a short form news service we’re calling #Instafax. We’d love to hear what you think.]
The topic, being a lot more science based
As mentioned at top, this is a month-long trial being run by the BBC to add consistency to their Instagram offering. They’re asking for feedback on the concept which, looking at their comments so far, is fairly positive with users praising the quick cuts and how easy they are to watch. One of the main comments has been about the fact that Instagram don’t allow links in video descriptions. Perhaps this is to avoid spam/sending users onto ‘dodgy’ websites but is something Instagram will probably need to change (even if only for broadcasters) if they want to keep attracting news networks to the app. After a lot of comments on the first Instafax about the lack of links, the BBC said “We are trying to create content within the social spaces people are inhabiting. That’s the main goal. The way we see it, Instagram and our website are – in many ways – two separate audiences.”
I think overall, this type of news is makes a refreshing change to what is currently broadcast on the TV. It gives audiences quick snippets of news in a world where there occasionally isn’t time to watch a full news broadcast. It will also hopefully engage a younger audience who might not want to watch the traditional TV news. The only thing to wonder is what’s next? Nowthisnews has already moved onto 6 second videos on Vine.
I’m not sure these are professional enough for the BBC and maybe the wrong audience but Snapchat based news maybe?