Media organisations are keen to embrace digital content, seeing it as the future of their industry, and the shift toward digital entails broader use of work from third-parties. This third-party work includes sponsored video/multimedia/content pitched by PR professionals. DS Simon, a New York-based digital communications firm, has carried out research into the use of third-party content, especially videos, and has come up with some surprising results.
DS Simon found that most of the respondents to its survey signalled an intention to use more outside videos next year, with the respondents coming from across the media spectrum. The research found that 40 per cent of bloggers intended using more video and that the figures for web producers and magazine editors were 54 per cent and 57 per cent, respectively. The figure for radio producers was even higher at 78 per cent.
DS Simon’s research has a caveat, however: trust is a big issue in respect of digital content and how it is being pitched. Respondents were asked the question: “How often are you misled by PR pros?” An average of 20 per cent of respondents across media categories said “often”, and an average of 68 per cent said “sometimes.” An average of 3 per cent of respondents said “always”, and 10 per cent responded “never.”
Doug Simon, president and CEO of DS Simon, moved to clarify those findings, suggesting that there are some communications pros who release content but decline to say that it is sponsored or has been funded by a brand/organisation. Simon recommends that disclosure information is included in the initial pitch to media providers as best practice and that in the course of video production a small graphic be inserted into the video saying “video provided by…” Simon makes the point that this should be a positive step because providers should be proud of the offering, so why fail to disclose it?
DS Simon’s research found that third-party video is used by 76 per cent of the digital media outlets surveyed. Simon is of the view that third-party video should form a core part of any communications plan because it makes clients/organisations communicate in their authentic voice to the target audience.