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Robin puts tech in the hands of journalists to scale video production

Find out how Robin enabled its journalists to create and publish more video – and grow its business in the process.

The challenge

Robin publishes some of the longest-running news brands in Italy, with 600 journalists and contributors covering regional and national news for titles including Quotidiano Nazionale, Il Resto del Carlino, La Nazione, and Il Giorno. Faced with the challenge of adapting its print business to a digital world, Robin has sought to transform how journalists tell stories — and give them the tools to do so — while growing digital revenue. Robin saw video as a growth opportunity, but views were inconsistent, and the process for publishing videos was complex and time-consuming. Robin’s titles published videos from a variety of sources — national and local agencies, partners, journalists on the ground — and each title did its own editing.

Video had to be uploaded separately to different platforms and changing the experience settings — for example, turning off the auto-play function or removing advertising pre-roll — was tricky. Plus, it was hard to see if similar content had already been uploaded. Robin partnered with Google News Initiative in 2021 to create a single platform for its video inventory, enabling journalists to search for existing video and upload and embed new video.

“Our aim was to standardise and centralise our video flows, and to give journalists a simple tool to manage video experience in pages,” says Paolo Zanzottera, Data and Advertising Platform Manager at Robin. The team also wanted to enable journalists on the ground to shoot original video that they could easily share with visual teams to edit for publication.

Revenue from video is very important to the business. Without a solid strategy, production was irregular, making it difficult to sell advertising. Now our journalists can include video in all their stories and views are much higher.
Paolo Zanzottera
Data and Advertising Platform Manager, Robin
  • 20x Increase in speed of video publishing process
  • 400% Increase in uploaded videos
  • 5x Increase in daily video views

The results

The platform, which launched in autumn 2021, is directly connected via API to the publisher’s YouTube and DailyMotion accounts. That means staff only need to upload each video once to publish across channels. They can also easily change settings. Since launch, Zanzottera says, Robin’s journalists regularly embed video in their stories. And around 20% now record original video, which rarely happened previously.

The increased video content has brought more traffic to the publications’ own websites. Previously, most of Robin’s views took place on YouTube and DailyMotion, explains Zanzottera. “Now 70% of our video plays are directly on our websites,” he says. Figures for pre-roll advertising have improved, too: viewability of ads in those positions has increased from 70% to 89%, and the view through rate (VTR) of those ads has reached 87%, up from 73%. This improvement has allowed Robin’s sales team to start talking to new potential advertisers.

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