To succeed in social video, Yahoo! Japan needs both speed and access to sources.

They use Reuters Connect, which helps them accelerate the content-creation process thanks to its breadth of content. This is how it works.

By Tim Hornyak
The Splice Studios

Sponsored content by Reuters

Pandas are popular around the world, but in Japan they can cause media feeding frenzies. Xiang Xiang is the first panda cub to go on show at Japan’s oldest zoo in nearly 30 years and has been such a sensation that Tokyo’s Ueno Zoological Gardens has had to choose visitors by lottery. When Xiang Xiang underwent a dental exam at three months old, Yahoo! Japan faced a challenge: getting video of the cub to its audience as soon as possible.

Yahoo! is Japan’s largest online portal, with 75.7 billion page views per month. It reaches 81% of all internet users in Japan, with Yahoo! News content going to over 368,000 followers on Twitter and 400,000 followers on Facebook.

You might think that an organization with that kind of reach solved content management long ago. But like many large newsrooms, the staff at Yahoo! News were still dealing with cumbersome licensing agreements that slowed down their editorial process. So they tried Reuters Connect and quickly had a Reuters video of Xiang Xiang on Yahoo! News’ Facebook page.

“This panda cub was very popular among Japanese audiences and we could easily get footage through Reuters Connect,” says Fumitaka Tanaka, an editor in Yahoo’s News and Sport Division. “Before that, we were buying from TV stations.”

Yahoo! News counts on social media feeds to track the success of Reuters Connect videos; on Facebook, the Xiang Xiang footage received over 3,000 likes and hundreds of shares.

12 million images

Founded in 1996, Yahoo! Japan is a diversified digital content company, with its Yahoo! Shopping e-commerce platform, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Auction, Yahoo! Knowledge Search, Yahoo! Weather & Disaster, and Yahoo! Transit Information among many services run by some 6,000 staff.

But like all digital newsrooms today, Yahoo! faces the seemingly impossible task of staying on top of the torrent of news generated around the world. The Washington Post, for example, publishes an average of 1,200 news articles, graphics and videos every day, of which 500 are generated by its staff. The rest come from wires and other sources.

As everyone with a smartphone is now a potential publisher and broadcaster, editors face the increasingly challenging task of staying on top of managing videos.

The Reuters Connect dashboard showing its video feeds.
The Reuters Connect dashboard showing its video feeds.

In 2017, Reuters launched Reuters Connect, a web-based platform that features all their multimedia content, as well as feeds from other leading providers. Users can access real-time breaking news articles from 200 Reuters bureaus around the world, with feeds covering business to sports to politics and entertainment, as well as photos, live and recorded videos, and infographics.

Reuters archival multimedia content includes over 12 million images and a video archive going all the way back to 1896, with additional historic footage from Vis News, Gaumont Graphic, Gaumont British, Empire News Bulletin, British Paramount, Universal Newsreels, and BBC. Partner content available on Reuters Connect comes from outlets such as BBC, USA TODAY Sports, Variety, Hollywood TV, AccuWeather, Africa24 and Red Bull Media House.

Producers at Yahoo! Japan use Reuters Connect to quickly select videos to run.
Producers at Yahoo! Japan use Reuters Connect to quickly select videos to run.

Reuters Connect is aimed at accelerating the content-creation process, offering a breadth of content as well as flexibility. It’s a subscription-based service but customers use quarterly allocations of points across a cast range of visual assets. The service is helping Yahoo! News cover not only its own home turf of Japan but overseas news as well.

“Reuters Connect allows us to quickly get videos from around the world and distribute them on our social media such as Facebook and Twitter,” says Tanaka. “These videos can have a huge impact in terms of audience engagement compared to sending an article alone with no video.”

Reuters Connect is a single destination for all your content needs

Whatever the news agenda, whatever your focus, Reuters Connect gives you access to the quality multimedia content you need, when you need it.


Immediacy and flexibility

Simple searches in Reuters Connect can instantly call up dozens of videos, including ones that already have Japanese subtitles.

Yahoo! News editorial staff download the footage into Adobe Premiere, make any necessary edits, and then post them to the Yahoo feeds. Of course, speed matters. Tanaka points to the example of Hurricane Irma, which hit the southern U.S. in September, causing dozens of fatalities and over $50 billion in damages.

“It isn’t easy to convey what’s going on overseas to Japanese audiences,” says Tanaka. “Reuters was the fastest in providing video of the storm and the on-the-spot footage had a powerful impact in terms of viewer engagement. We were able to convey how devastating the storm was.”

“The platform offers immediacy and flexibility,” says Kosuke Takahashi, another editor in Yahoo’s News and Sport Division who handles downloads from Reuters Connect and uploads to social platforms. “Using Reuters Connect content is quicker than going through Japanese media outlets. You can also do real-time chats with Reuters Connect staff to resolve any needs you have.”

Yahoo! News started using the platform in August 2017. The platform allocates 100 Reuters Points per month and leftover points can be used for up to three months. Prior to using Reuters Connect, Yahoo! News was relying on individual feed contracts with various media outlets.

“Reuters Connect gives us a one-stop platform for third-party partner content,” says Yumika Matsuda, an official with Yahoo! News. “Previously we had to have contracts with every provider but now we can download and use content from providers we don’t have contractual relationships with. From a business point of view, that’s the No. 1 merit of this service.”

For more information about Reuters Connect, go here.

Tim Hornyak

Tim Hornyak is a freelance journalist based in Tokyo. He is the author of Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots. Follow Tim Hornyak on Twitter.

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