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Why newsrooms should invest in animation

Animation adds new opportunities for engaging different audiences, and that could help your bottom line

In an era when newsrooms are stretched to the max financially, how can they make the business case for expending limited resources on creating accessible content like animated storytelling? Here are three business reasons why animation is a good investment for newsrooms. 

Engaging audiences on mobile 

A 2020 Pew Research Center survey revealed that more than 8 in 10 Americans consume news on their digital devices. While this trend is not new, there is also a growing understanding of exactly where U.S. adults get that news on those devices.  

About two-thirds of U.S. adults say they get news at least sometimes from news websites or apps (68%) or search engines, like Google (65%). About half (53%) say they get news from social media, and a much smaller portion say they get news at least sometimes from podcasts (22%). It is clear that if local newsrooms are going to catch and maintain the attention of Americans, they must continue to find new ways of engaging these audiences across various platforms and access points. 

Animated films and supporting assets are highly shareable products that are particularly relevant in an era when a significant proportion of media consumption occurs via mobile devices. Animation offers a dynamic and engaging medium for delivering data and other critical information, enabling local newsrooms to remain responsive to the ever-changing trends in the consumption of digital content. 

Versatility of content 

Creating high-quality animations can cost anything from $3,000 to $12,000 per minute, depending upon the style and complexity. But often overlooked is the enormous versatility that animation offers, resulting in an impressive return on investment. 

Our discussions with local newsrooms across the U.S. have revealed widespread recognition of a balance that can be struck between core thematic content relevant anywhere within the U.S. (e.g. recognizing domestic violence, practical steps to prepare for a disaster), and content tailored specifically to the local audience service (e.g. specific domestic violence support available within the city/county/state served, disaster information relevant to that region). 

Animations that are designed effectively offer this versatility in spades, enabling costs to be shared across multiple newsrooms, while also enabling newsrooms to respond to the specific information needs of their audiences. Animations can be easily updated, without having to create an entirely new product, and act as a lynchpin for content shared across multiple platforms, including websites, social media, emails, radio, and television.

Attracting new revenue, including paying subscribers 

Through the utilization of high-quality animated content, local media can extend their audience reach and attract a wider range of paying subscribers, as well as become more attractive to advertisers based on increased audience numbers. 

This 2017 research by the University of Georgia’s business school, highlighted how, from a buying power estimate of $495 billion in 2000, Hispanic consumers have increased their economic clout 181% to $1.4 trillion in 2016. That’s nearly 10% of U.S. buying power in 2016, and while language and literacy doesn’t present barriers for all, being more inclusive of these underserved audiences can only serve to increase the reach of local newsrooms. 

Want to explore how animation could be leveraged within your newsroom?

We are seeking local newsrooms interested in participating in a pilot testing a collaborative model facilitating the production and distribution of animated campaigns across multiple newsrooms. Initial public information themes have been identified based on consultations with local newsrooms across the U.S., and include depression and mental health, support for domestic violence, and disaster preparedness. 

Local newsrooms will be provided with high-quality animated content at no cost to test with their audiences and will participate in discussions on establishing a self-sustaining model for sharing animated content across multiple newsrooms. 

Please complete this short form to express your interest and find out more.

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