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Inside La Nación’s pay-TV channel venture

World News Publishing Focus

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Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

Inside La Nación’s pay-TV channel venture

In an interview with the World Editors Forum, Guyot gives insight into why La Nación expanded to TV, when many seem to be shying away from it.

The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

WAN-IFRA: Is TV still thriving in Argentina? How did the choice of a new initiative in this medium come about? What is the channel's target group?

Carlos Guyot: Pay TV is very strong in Argentina – received by around 85% of households – so the creation of a pay TV channel will allow us to reach new and broader audiences. In April 2015, we started an audiovisual project with a series of interviews called Conversaciones, and this year we created the newscast La Nación PM, and more than 30 other microformats. These products did so well that they led us to this new path. Our target audience is young adults interested in good-quality content. We are now leaders on mobile, with a digital audience of 11 million monthly users, according to ComScore. We seek to offer something on the television screen that can be original, and we believe there is an opportunity for our journalism there.

The video-on-demand platform (La Nacion PM) will be re-launched into a new platform, which holds the TV channel (LN+) content. Will you be making separate content for TV and digital use ? Or will you adapt TV content for digital?

We are creating an audiovisual operation which will have pay TV screens as an important platform for consumption. But our digital vision, which is at the heart of everything we do, led us to a broadcast programming with content that is in part designed for digital distribution and consumption. As on-demand will become increasingly important, most of our content will be serial: documentaries, scientific-historical investigations, and a number of programmes related to lifestyle. The whole audiovisual offer of the channel will be available on an OTT platform, but we will also retain an exclusive audiovisual capacity and focus for our digital operation.

Currently, our digital video content, such as the series of interviews Conversaciones and the newscast La Nacion PM, with more than one million digital monthly views, will be adapted for TV broadcasting. Overall, this year, we´ve got around 50 million digital plays on videos in our platform.

How will you approach video on mobile? Will there be mobile-first content?

The mobile consumer experience has two determinant vectors: time and location. Therefore, differential content must rely on either one of them. For some months now, we have been producing the daily video Break, a two-minute noon broadcast including a summary of the main morning news. It is mobile exclusive, with a vertical-video format, easy to produce and watch. We will continue to experiment with exclusive content for mobile, including video, of course.

How is your newsroom organized to host the video operations?

With imagination and effort. Incorporating a third platform apart from digital and print presents a major challenge to our planning and workflow. This is done at the central hub where production is coordinated. This production draws content from all sections. After that, each platform plans its broadcast schedule according to its products and audience, in order to take advantage of the strength, originality and complementarity of their products.

How has your team acquired skills to adapt to such a rapid change of direction?

We have incorporated producers, production channels, and a very strong technical team. But part of the plan is that a great deal of our journalists may find the TV screen as an opportunity to thrive. We have offered training in acting and performing on camera, and it has been a great learning experience for us all.

Has the change in the newsroom culture been easy? How has the staff adapted to the changes?

As for cultural change and adaptation, I would say that we are making huge progress, but we still have a long way to go. We are building a center for TV operation inside our newsroom, with 4 sets running alternatively during most of the day. We no longer encounter a fear of change, this is true, and the general atmosphere is enthusiastic, but I dare say we have entered a stage of fine tuning and adjustment to our new processes, and we are pursuing the necessary operational sustainability so that all our teams and products work together fluidly.

There’s an element of constructive journalism in the editorial strategy of the TV channel. What is the reasoning behind this?

We know that the news consumption crisis is partly due to the naturally critical stance that journalism has typically taken. It is inevitable and has its own raison d'être. However, the channel incorporates a strong line of work on an interesting, constructive view, a view of discovery, which we hope will translate into a proposal that can be simple and deep at the same time.

In a way, we are oriented to creating a good amount of hours of daily video content. The screen of pay TV today is a window behind which there are audiences and advertisers, but in the coming years of digital shift we will have the experience and ability to make our journalism expand and meet our audiences wherever they are. This is our path of experimentation and learning.



2016-11-15 16:37

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