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Tips for developing engaging & revenue-driving online video

One of the latest digital video channels from Time Inc. has no fixed home on the web. It has neither its own website or app, and most of its videos don’t even have dialogue. But it has more than 132,000 followers on Instagram and about 200,000 pairs of eyes tracking it on Facebook.

Time Inc. (now acquired by Meredith) houses this video channel, called The Pretty,  entirely on social media. Launched in June of 2017, videos from The Pretty show followers easy ways to apply bronzer and how to style hair into fishtail braids. Most clips run no longer than 90 seconds.

“We have a number of other social media-only brands that are launching this year,” says Zoe Ruderman, Time Inc.’s executive director of content strategy for style, entertainment, and sports. “And the idea with all of them was looking at where our users were consuming content, and rather than forcing them to come to where we wanted them to consume content, which was the site, it was about going to where they are, giving them the content they want.”

It’s all part of the embrace of digital video by a publishing behemoth once best known for its iconic Time and People magazine covers. No longer is digital video a nice-to-have editorial feature or a complement to a story but it’s often the main driver of stories. As people turn toward mobile for content consumption, video has also become an even more crucial driver of revenue.

Indeed, when it comes to output, Time Inc.-produced video clips doubled between 2015 and 2016, from 20,000 to 40,000 videos. In 2017, the company produced approx. 50,000 videos, including 1,500 hours of live programming. Here’s how they did it and, just as importantly, how they monetised it.

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