News and Sports Publishers Back Sponsored Video to Win

News and Sports Publishers Back Sponsored Video to Win

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According to the Tubular Labs, nearly 7,000 Facebook pages have uploaded 47,200 sponsored videos (those that include a third-party product or brand) to the site in the last 90 days.  These sponsored videos, typically posted by media companies or influencers, have received 5 billion (that’s billion with a “b”) views and 122 million engagements. Sponsored video content is driving a huge amount of views and engagement, and in this post we’ll take a look at who is adopting sponsored video in the world of news and sport.

Sponsored Video: Local News Ahead of National

Let start with news. Sponsored videos from US publishers in the news and politics category have received more than 75 million views on Facebook so far in 2017. Although 75% of the sponsored videos are being produced by local news affiliates, 80% of the total views come from digital first news publishers. Meanwhile, traditional national news publishers have been slow to adopt sponsored video. The New York Times had only 1 sponsored upload in Q1 2017. And USA Today had only 1 sponsored upload during the quarter.

More than 75 million sponsored video views from US News & Politics publishers so far in 2017 on Facebook (Data via Tubular Labs)

In contrast, NowThis, a digital news company that primarily distributes its content to mobile devices and social platforms, has averaged 17.9 million sponsored video views per month so far in 2017. For example, NowThis partnered with the feature film, “A Monster Calls,” for two original sponsored videos in January 2017. They received 5.3 million total views.

Or, check out Business Insider, a fast-growing business site with deep financial, media, tech, and other industry verticals, which has averaged 6.2 million sponsored video views per month so far in 2017. Business Insider partnered with Emirates across three of its social creators: Insider, Insider travel, and Insider food for 10 videos thus far in 2017. They’ve received 14.1 million total views.

Sponsored Video: Sports

Now, let’s look at sports. Sports-themed sponsored videos make up roughly 10% of the total sponsored video views in Q1 2017. US sports publishers have received more than half a billion sponsored video views so far in 2017. Leading the way, NBA teams uploaded more than 1,200 videos in partnership with other publishers and brands. These sponsored videos generated more than 87.8 million views.

For example, “Woman Rejected by Boyfriend on ‘Kiss Cam’” shows a woman, who was rejected by her boyfriend on the ‘Kiss Cam’ at an Atlanta Hawks game on Mar. 9, 2017, kissing a random guy on the other side of her instead. The partner for this sponsored video on Facebook was Beauty and the Beast. It had 10 million views and 181,000 engagements when I watched it over the weekend.

Or, here’s another example: In March 2017, Bleacher Report and Toyota USA partnered for “Stat Stories,” a series focused on and around NCAA March Madness. The campaign, which included 15 videos, has generated more than 1.1 million views and 7,000 engagements on Facebook.

BuzzFeed Bet Big on Sponsored Video

So, this sponsored video thing has legs. In fact, BuzzFeed – which has pulled out of the 2017 Digital Content NewFronts – has made a big bet on sponsored videos over traditional advertising. But, here’s some critical data so you can decide for yourself whether this big bet is a smart bet: From March 2016 to March 2017, BuzzFeed had 15 active Facebook accounts engaging is sponsored social video, according to Tubular Labs. These accounts uploaded 334 sponsored videos to Facebook. And 116 of these sponsored social videos generated 2.0 billion (that billion with a “b”) total views.

Now, BuzzFeed sponsored videos generate 4,231% more views than the average sponsored video. So, maybe, just maybe, only a “social news and entertainment company” can afford to bet big on sponsored video over traditional advertising. Or, maybe, just maybe, traditional national news publishers are just stuck in their obsolete business models that were created in a bygone era.


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