In one of the latest reports from the Project for Excellence in Journalismone of the most interesting things was tucked at the bottom of a page titled The Importance of the Home Page.
Another finding was that the data suggest that news online remains a heavily text-oriented environment. Online video did not rank high on any of the sites as a place that people clicked to– even on the sites whose legacy product is affiliated with television, except CBSNews.com
This is something that I’ve always suspected to be true based on my personal preference for web content. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I can watch dozens of movies a month streamed to my computer, and I’ve been known to watch a cute puppy video or two, but the vast majority of my online news viewing is text.
This is because I surf the internet at work (or class), where video would be obtrusive, and because when I’m looking for news, I’m mostly looking to skim an article to get the basic idea. Then, I can decide if it’s worth a closer read. No such option is available on video stories, so I have to already be pretty invested to make the initial decision to watch.
This is also because, the video content I’m looking for is much harder to find, based on Google’s text-based algorithm. Companies, including one I used to work for, are working on ways to make video content search-able, but the technology is not widely available or particularly accurate.
I would guess that the reasons for the PEJ finding are similar to mine, with one addition: the amount of video content available, when compared to text, is still very tiny. It will be interesting to see if video can ever close the gap, or if new, animated, interactive graphics will largely take the place of both.