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June 18, 2024updated 20 Jun 2024 10:43am

Daily Mail launches ‘blockbuster’ video strategy aimed at home TV viewers

Head of new global video studio Tony Manfred explains TV expansion.

By Jim Edwards

The Daily Mail today launched a long-form video strategy around a slate of original series designed to be watched primarily via the Youtube app on home TVs.

The Mail’s new Global Video Studio is developing about 20 shows, including “Price of Fame”, which looks at how expensive it is to live the life of a celebrity, and “Your Body on Sport”, which looks in-depth at the physiological and medical issues facing professional athletes.

“The company is basically making a big investment in video”, Tony Manfred, the Mail’s global head of video, told Press Gazette. “This is a hit strategy. We expect these to be big, blockbuster, million-view-an-episode-type of things.

“Not all of them are going to work, but the hope is we’re sitting here next year and we have the beginnings of a slate of our shows that we know work.” 

New York-based Manfred joined the Mail about nine months ago from Business Insider. 

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The Mail has a team of about 12 producers working on the series, led by Patrick Bulger also in New York, the relatively new head of shows at the title.

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The Mail has about 50 people in total working in video. About 20 work on the “social” team (under head of social video Phil Harvey in London) creating vertical short-form video for platforms like Tiktok.

The remainder work on the “site” team (under head of site video Olivia Bateman, also in London) which creates video to accompany Mail Online’s text-based reporting, Manfred said.

New Youtube shows will be up to 30 minutes long (versus two minutes on Tiktok)

“The big Youtube trend that is happening in the last 18 months now is the amount of engagement they’re getting on televisions. I think Nielsen puts out a report every month of the biggest TV broadcasters in the US, and Youtube is number two behind only Disney,” Manfred said.

When all US viewing numbers are combined, for both TV and via on-screen apps, Youtube claims almost 10% of all US television use. Disney has 11.5%, according to Nielsen.

Most of the Mail’s audience on social and third-party platforms is now outside the UK.

“We’ve seen just completely explosive growth on Tiktok in the last 18 months,” Manfred said. The paper claims 13 million followers on TikTok. “We get more than a billion views a month there. So, part of the reason to pour gas on that fire is that it exposes our brand to people who might have never come in contact with a Daily Mail story otherwise.”

The Mail is part of Youtube’s partner sales program and is thus able to sell its own ad inventory on the app.

Each show will be 15 to 30 minutes long, instead of the 30 seconds to two minutes favoured by Tiktok. That allows the Mail to design the series with sponsors and brand partnerships in mind. A 22-minute-plus show has room for a presenting sponsor, pre-roll ads, and multiple midroll ad breaks, Manfred said.

The Mail claims it receives 125 million monthly views on Youtube. “The idea is that these unlock commercial opportunities that wouldn’t be available to us otherwise,” Manfred said.

Manfred is aiming to publish five to ten episodes of its new shows per week. That’s a much lower cadence than the Mail’s existing social media video output, which is producing ten to 20 short videos per day, he said.

That frantic pace is sustainable only because the Mail’s operations are larger than most newsrooms.

“The reason I came here [from Business Insider] is because they have all the resources, they have all the stuff you need to do video really well at scale,” Manfred said.

“They have a huge amount of money. They have the distribution megaphone on a bunch of different platforms. The going-from-zero-to-60 thing, that is really hard if you’re starting at a standing start. It’s not the case here. In my discussions with them there’s buy-in from the people in power here, the folks at the top were like ‘this is an opportunity for us and we trust you, and we like your plan, and go for it’. So that’s why I came over.”

 “As growth in video consumption continues, we’ve adapted to give our global audiences access to the most captivating stories, and now advertisers have access to our premium video production capabilities,” Dominic Williams, Mail Metro Media’s chief revenue officer, said in a statement.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
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Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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