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The Economist is producing 15-minute long video content

Not everyone is a victim of short attention span, you can produce longer-form assets for in-depth content.

You might have noticed that, on a regular basis, I talk about longform content. While a lot of people believe in short, snackable content, I am a strong believer in longer content that can provide in-depth coverage on a given subject or character.

Of course, not all longform content is created equal and you need a great journalist, copywriter or director behind it so that it is actually good. While you can sometime get away with subpar quality with shorter form assets, it just isn’t possible with a 12-minute video.

The Economist has started producing longer video content in the past few months. They created a new department, Economist Film, whose task is to create 12-15 films that cover big topics (like legalizing drugs, euthanasia and solar energy).

What is interesting about these productions is that he Economist is building partnerships with advertisers, but not as pure ads. Advertisers (like Virgin Unite at the moment) get banding on the series and on the site. In this first series, “Virgin Unite are very supportive of the series and have a natural interest in the subject areas we cover” said Nicholas Minter-Green, president of The Economist Films. Although this is currently in this most basic form, I believe future partnerships will have to go beyond these simple sponsorships.

A recent Digiday article goes deeper into how they approach metrics and KPIs (Facebook vs YouTube, etc) but also how they will eventually move away from their current platform agnostic model.