• New York Magazine Relaunches Video; Curation is Key

    New York magazine, the go-to-source for in-the-know New Yorkers, has relaunched the video section of its web site using the Magnify.net platform. What separates the magazine's effort from others is its plan to actively augment video it produces itself with other video sources, including users. By "curating" others' video, New York is looking to beef up the video section of its site by tapping into others' energy. Michael Silberman, the magazine's GM, Digital Media, explained more to me last week.

    Michael said that as a print publication, New York was unlikely to ever have a large staff devoted to video production (it currently has just one dedicated person). However, the New York team has been watching broadband video's surging popularity and wanted to capitalize on this by making video an integral part of its web site. A key goal was to cost-effectively bulk up the volume of video it offered. That led the team to focus on how to aggregate and intelligently curate video from other sources so that the magazine's sensibility would be maintained. And all of this needed to be done in a "Hulu-like" user experience with accurately tagged videos presented in a logical flow.

    In a prior post about Taste of Home magazine, I wrote about curation and how it can be a powerful editorial lever for print publishers' sites that have lean video budgets. The reality is that there is a lot of really interesting video being created that would be quite valuable to mainstream publications. In the Internet era, timeliness and omnipresence are important calling cards. Tapping into video-enabled readers, who often find themselves at the right place at the right time with their cellphones, digital cameras and Flips on hand, can produce real value if incorporated the right way.

    Curation has been a mantra of Steve Rosenbaum, CEO and founder of Magnify.net, which I originally profiled here. The company has been continuously augmenting its video platform features while maintaining a focus on curation as a differentiator. This clearly paid off with the New York win; Michael said that of all the video platform companies it investigated, Magnify was the only one that could fully support its curation objectives. He also cited Magnify's robust customization tools using mainly CSS and Javascript that allowed his team to migrate the entire video section over in just 5 weeks.

    New York plans to bring on a producer who will, among other things, run the curation process. No doubt there will be plenty of trial-and-error in the hunts for and includes appropriate 3rd party video, including users' submissions. But as I explained in the Taste of Home post, curation's potential suggests the emergence of a new editorial model for video that is particularly relevant in these penny-pinching economic times. It's the kind of break-from-tradition that may be jolting to editorial purists, but which reflects pragmatic - and strategic - thinking about how print publications can evolve and succeed in the broadband video era.

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