Video is increasingly important to online publishers, but the problem is that it’s generally expensive and time-consuming to produce. Wochit is a new platform launching today that aims to supply news sites with fresh, timely video reports.
Wochit creates hundreds of timely, demand-driven news videos every day, covering a wide range of topics. With licenses to use footage and photography from the likes of Reuters and Getty Images, the company doesn’t need to have films crews stationed around the world. This is a kind of entirely in-house ‘Demand Media for video news reports’.
The scripts of the reports are culled from written reports by the likes of the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Huffington Post. ”The texts themselves are gathered under fair-use from public sources… All of the voice talent is provided by Wochit via in-house operations (think of a very sophisticated and privately run version of Mechanical Turk),” says CEO and co-founder Dror Ginzberg.
Here’s an example of the kind of bitesize reports the company produces:
“Wochit generates both general content available to any client, and white-labeled or branded video content for publishers,” explains Ginzberg. ”We monitor trending topics around the world, and build large volumes of content with solid metadata taxonomy, so any customer of ours can usually find relevant and fresh content that pertains to their audience’s topics of interests.”
While videos are branded with the Wochit logo by default, the company offers the option for a publisher to have its logo added to videos it runs, making them feel more integrated with other content on its site. Publishers can sign up for the service directly via the website, and Wochit also licenses its videos via online distributors Grab Media, OneScreen and Rightster.
Producing video news reports at massive scale
So, how does Wochit produce so much content? Ginzberg is keeping his cards close to his chest here but does offer some insight that suggests that technology is a key factor, rather than having humans manually create each video from scratch. “We have several innovations at play throughout the production process that are key to the scale we achieve. But also, all content we produce is made more professional, engaging, and credible through key human involvement in certain aspects.”
This approach does present challenges for the Wochit though. As you can see in the example below, the semi-automated collage approach doesn’t always lead to the highest journalistic standards. The second voiced section of this report below appears to label Oscar Pistorius guilty of killing his girlfriend, when he’s actually yet to be tried, let alone convicted of the charge. In this case at least, a little more journalistic oversight would appear to have been needed.
Wochit is backed by undisclosed US venture capital firms and has offices in New York and Tel Aviv.
Image credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images