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Death of B-Roll? TV Stations Increase Use of YouTube

Mike Santoro

youtube_logoFor clients that want stories on television our advice is always – get video. Television is a visual experience so if you want your story covered it helps immensely to have video. Often that requires you to hire a professional to shoot your B-roll footage, something that is an added expense and impossible for many small local organizations to get.

But that’s changing.

In the last few weeks I’ve noticed FOX Chicago increasingly using YouTube clips as an alternative to the traditional B-Roll footage they’ve typically used to highlight stories. To be clear, television has been using YouTube for quite a while, but not in this way.

Since YouTube’s launch, news organizations have been featuring skateboarding dogs and water skiing squirrels to show the lighter side of life. It took a while but eventually news organizations began realizing the value of YouTube. Citizen journalists were the first on the scene for earthquakes, riots, wars and other major events where news corps didn’t have cameras.

To me, the recently disputed Iran elections were a tipping point for this type of use. Traditional media couldn’t get film of this, so they had to relay on what the average person had posted. The media realized that the public wanted video, whether completely professional or not. And if they couldn't get it on the local news they were going online where they could find it.

What’s caught my attention most recently is that FOX Chicago and other outlets are using YouTube video created by professional organizations, not just citizens that happen to be there.

The video below is from a recent Mark Kirk rally in which “Sen. Candidate Kirk is Booed Over Cap and Trade Position”.

Video is no longer available

You’ll notice that that “Source: YouTube” is nonchalantly tagged as it plays. This video was made for the internet, yet the quality is good enough that it can play on television. And more importantly there’s little distinction made between it and the video played in other segments. To the news team, it’s video that they need and they are going to use it.

And this isn’t the only example during the show. It’s not even the best. A charity had been featured and some sort of consumer product. You are going to see more and more of this.

Today if you want video footage on your local news you need to get that station a DVD or some other method of high quality footage. Are we headed for a day when you just send a YouTube link?