Byte Experts: Vital Video – Six Steps to Maximising the Success of Your Publishing Portfolio by Jon White, Business Development Director at Makematic

Posted by Justine Solomons on 4 May 2020, in Byte Experts

In this month's Byte Experts, we hear from Jon White, Business Development Director at Makematic, as he shares his advice on maximising the potential of content via video.

 The Covid-19 crisis has in all respects led to an increased need for digital content. Before our current situation, all the trend data was already pointing to a huge increase in digital content, with video content at the top of that list.  Cisco, based on current growth trends have predicted that by 2022, online video will make up 82% of all consumer traffic, whilst by 2020 they say that 1 million minutes of video content will be crossing the internet every second.

Video is having an increasing influence on content mix within the publishing sector too. Education and Professional publishers have for many years seen the inclusion of broadcast quality video as key to digital product success. In the academic sector, Wiley have reported the astounding figures of 447% higher altmetric scores and 111% higher full text views for those articles with video abstracts.  And no one can have missed the video phenomena in the children’s sector of the brands Peppa Pig and Blippi, the latter, launching full fling on Youtube with a strategy which no doubt will penetrate children’s and education publishing sectors very soon. Within our own industry sector we saw the meteoric rise of Diary of a Wimpy Kid which started as a digital only story on what was then Pearson’s Family Education Network nearly 15 years ago, before other publishers purchased the print rights and the movies were made.

What are six steps needed to ensure success of your publishing portfolio whilst increasing this dynamic and exciting format?

1) Video is here to stay

By accepting that video must play an important part in any publishing portfolio, then the necessary steps can be taken to put in place a strong strategy with short, medium, and long-term goals. The evidence suggests that video content is fast becoming a preferred medium for consent consumption for those under the age of 25. Recognise this, plan accordingly and thoroughly because in a truly multimedia world many others, who you would not see as traditional competitors, currently are.

2) How are you currently budgeting?

Budgeting for video is different to that of print or other digital products. The amortisation of video as an asset is something new to which publishers need to adjust. Start with an understanding of the ROI and work backwards.  Those publishers who are adjusting their business models accordingly, are the ones who are capturing and captivating a new video-content oriented consumer. Plan your product investment for future success.

3) Developing a new workflow

The workflow for producing video is vastly different to that of published content. Key changes will need to be incorporated, particularly around publishing programme timings, because short-form video, animated or live action, takes a period to produce. Talk to and engage those with the knowledge that you need and incorporate the necessary changes to ensure future success.

4) Defining what is right for your audience is king

With the explosion of video-based social networks such as TikTok which owe their continued success to low-production-value video shorts uploaded by users, we’ve seen that defining the right look and feel for your audience is king. Broadcast quality can define a brand, more social media friendly formats can help build digital product audiences even with lower production values. It is key to define what is right for your brand and your digital product audience. In the overall process of building out your video portfolio, the idea of ‘quality’ should be separated from production standards. A current style of social media format may have a limited shelf-life so finding the “right quality” is what leads to engagement and impact.

5) Creativity & Engagement & Fun!

Building a video portfolio around a product or brand is a particular skill. It is important to find a team to work with, who can bring a wide range of creative ideas and engagement tactics to your publishing portfolio. Keeping a digital product fresh and new is a new challenge for the publishing sector and short-form video offers an opportunity to excite and engage your consumer, whomever that consumer is. So, use it as an opportunity to do just that. Video content allows boundaries to be pushed and can inject a big slice of fun. Whether it’s bringing children’s reference and drama content to life, injecting short informational films into an ELT or schools education programmes, explaining complex research papers in a quick two minute overview, or helping someone cram for a law, accountancy, finance or business exam, video is the perfect medium for captivating an audience.

6) What is your overall strategy?

As we have seen with the effect of global lockdown recently, having a solid digital strategy for your systems infrastructure, content portfolio and content blend is key. Whilst we are facing challenging economic times, many in the publishing world are seeing the true size of the digital opportunity, in particular, the power of carefully created and disseminated short-form video content. We have seen the explosion in importance of audio content and are about to witness the same with video content too.

The future retention and increase of customers and revenues for publishers in any sector will come to those who realise the importance and value of a spread of digital content assets within a publishing product portfolio and start working for future success today.

Jon has over two decades of experience in digital content and publishing. He has held senior roles with DK, Macmillan Education, Ingenta plc and Semantico, He is fascinated by the constant changes being driven by the networked economy, how this affects all aspects of content consumption and whether or not parallels can be drawn across media sectors. He can be contacted via

Makematic are a trusted partner for purpose-driven brands, non-profits and publishers to create inspiring and impactful educational videos. They make better educational media for the next generation of global citizens.



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