Video, both scripted and unscripted, is the focus for media companies old and new in 2015.
At its Newfront presentation held at Skylight Modern here Monday, The New York Times unveiled a slate of new programs, as well as the introduction of a virtual reality video, which it is calling “the future” of media.
New York Times Magazine editor in chief Jake Silverstein unveiled a virtual reality film called “Walking the City,” which is produced by Chris Milk’s company Vrse. The short film glimpsed a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the magazine’s recent cover, and it included an aerial shot from a helicopter flying above a Times-commissioned Flatiron District art installation.
The Times also said it will jump into television with a collaboration with the Travel Channel. It will bring its popular travel column “36 Hours” to the small screen and Google will serve as a sponsor via Google Maps.
The newspaper will launch an animated series called “DealBook Explains,” a kind of primer on big business stories develop. It will join other new series such as “Corner Office,” which is sponsored by Deloitte; “Bits Presents Robotica,” sponsored by Microsoft; “Block by Block,” sponsored by Halstead Property, and “Made” with Kickstarter.
The company screened snippets of its documentary-style coverage of international conflicts in Yemen and Libya, as well as lighter videos from the Times’ Food editors.
“Times Video continues to be one of the most creative expressions of our journalism,” said Bruce Headlam, the newspaper’s managing editor of video. “From breaking news to creating in-depth features, Times journalists are using the medium to amplify our news report and bring rich, visual storytelling to new audiences.”
Meanwhile, at Buzzfeed, the focus was on scripted, branded videos. Held in Time Square at BB King Blues Club, founder Jonah Peretti said video is the “biggest shift” in the company’s business. Buzzfeed screened a teaser to short how-to videos, as well as to a reality TV-style series called “Brother Orange,” in which a man tracks his stolen cell phone to China and becomes friends with its new owner.
The company also unveiled “Pound,” a data platform that Buzzfeed created that gives it insight into the social media footprint of its stories.
There were also cat videos (of course), and viral clips on the average person’s lifespan represented in jelly beans.