New York Post’s Warren Cohen: Getting Ideas from the Ground Up
In our fifth edition of The Rough Cut, where we interview the biggest innovators in digital video, Storyhunter co-Founder Alex Ragir stops by New York Post’s office in Manhattan, to speak with Warren Cohen, Head of Video. They discussed the convergence of video distribution, and how sourcing stories from a network of freelancers enabled them to rapidly develop their identity.
New York Post’s Extraordinary People series was recently nominated for the Streamy Award for Best Documentary Series. That means you have a chance of winning a Streamy working with New York Post by submitting your stories to their Calls for Pitches.
Below are edited highlights from the conversation:
Scaling digital video is a different strategy than television
“The ability to produce at scale is a bit different [in digital video]. In the TV world, we have to fulfill our nightly programming needs on primetime and then do digital, here we really are a digital audience first, and because of that the way we do storytelling is different. Starting fresh three years ago, we are mobile native. We can embrace the majority of consumption, it’s both snack-able and binge-able”.
Audience engagement happens across channels
“If you’re doing video, you have to make sure the video product you’re making can work on any platform. Right now TV is more remunerative, so it’s nice to get a sale to TV — but it has a different set of eyeballs. We get a ton of consumption on Page6.com and the Page6 app, probably a larger scale than the TV show, but the TV show is a different audience, and that is different from the stuff we’re doing on Facebook. We really want folks to engage with the brand wherever they may be.”
Sharing new stories, that represent the brand, is priority number one.
“The industry is undergoing a fundamental transition. The way that we collect, distill, and report information is changing from the way that consumers are accessing it. For us, it’s really trying to embody the brand attributes, but still creating something new. If you’re only following the lead of the newspaper, you’d basically be putting up video versions of the stories we have in the paper. We don’t want to do that. We want to offer more stories, with a sensibility, than just repeat things that are already out there.”
Freelancers can help you find your brand voice
“We have a robust freelancer network, which is wonderful because when folks work with us, they really feel like we let the filmmaker, creator, and journalist best figure out how to tell the story. We agree why the story is so awesome, but we don’t want it formatted. Every story is different, every take is different. We really want to make the voice of the creator felt as well.”
Share your voice with New York Post by submitting to their Calls for Pitches on Storyhunter. Need to create a freelancer profile? Just click here.
Let your creators make the content they want to see
“Everything is switched now to on demand. Time slots won’t help you get someone to watch something, paid promotion won’t help you get someone to watch something. At the end of the day that person has to actively click on your video to play it. We tell [our freelancers], “What would you want to watch? Let’s make it!”. That’s our philosophy distilled.”
Video is a winning strategy, but prepare to serve a larger audience
“Audiences are consuming more and more. That’s why I think this derided pivot to video is misplaced. It’s a clear win with the audience. This type of storytelling is incredibly impactful, and folks really like it. We’re trying to figure out, among the opportunities, what is the ultimate best play within distribution? It may be that in this distributed world, we have to serve a lot of different outlets.”
Previous episodes of The Rough Cut:
Zahra Rasool, Editorial Lead, Contrast VR
Jason Beauregard, Head of Studio, VaynerMedia
Courtney Coupe, VP of Content, Great Big Story
Stone Roberts, VP of Global Video Strategy, Refinery29
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By Jordan M. Rapaport, Storyhunter Writer