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El Universal

Newspaper boosts revenue with YouTube videos

Adopting YouTube’s Player for Publishers across properties lets Mexico’s El Universal deliver news and engage users with up to 40 new videos a day.
El Universal
El Universal

A voice for equality and freedom for 100+ years

Founded in 1916, El Universal is a strong leader in Mexican journalism and a voice for liberty, women’s equality, and freedom of expression. Their continued commitment to producing quality content and meeting audiences where they are, across platforms, has made El Universal a top online news publisher in Mexico — with 17 million unique users/readers visiting their website each month.

Today, El Universal owns and operates a variety of publications and online media outlets covering news, politics, entertainment, lifestyle, wellness, and university life. Like other newspaper publishers, they’ve faced challenges in recent years catering to an increasingly mobile audience. Video has become a critical piece of their content strategy.

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[Audiences want content] to be faster, more agile, and more fun and entertaining. The YouTube platform gives us the opportunity to do that.
Amado Cabrera
Video Platform Manager, El Universal
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Equipo Video El Universal-05
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Introducing a single-player video strategy

“We are a traditional media outlet, and video lets us tell the news in a different way,” says El Universal Video Platform Manager Amado Cabrera. “Millennials, centennials, and [future] generations [will] consume content more quickly. They want it to be faster, more agile, and more fun and entertaining. The YouTube platform gives us the opportunity to do that.”

El Universal had previously worked with the Google News Initiative (GNI) on its digital growth strategy, expanding on its ad revenue to include a subscription model using Subscribe with Google. In 2018, Cabrera and colleagues joined forces with the YouTube team to develop a unified video strategy for the El Universal website and properties.

El Universal had used different video players across properties, resulting in a fragmented approach that was costly and inefficient. In addition, the newspaper was hosting 15,000 videos on its own website and another 40,000 on a vendor platform, creating infrastructure issues. They were also competing with Mexico’s TV stations, which had a steady stream of video content to repurpose online.

The YouTube team introduced Cabrera to YouTube’s Player for Publishers (PfP), which gives audiences a better viewing experience across desktop and mobile devices. At the same time, it gives news organizations more options to monetize video content through ads and syndication.

  • 1,300% increase in video views
  • 500% increase in YouTube revenue
  • 3.69 million YouTube subscribers

Developing a profitable YouTube video channel

Cabrera worked with the YouTube team to migrate El Universal’s 40,000 vendor-hosted videos to the YouTube platform, integrating the PfP within the newspaper’s content management system (CMS). In January 2019, they launched the new El Universal YouTube channel featuring the most popular news and entertainment stories of the day, with the depth and variety of the publisher’s complete video content listed by category.

YouTube also worked with Cabrera to revamp El Universal’s long-term video strategy. The publisher centralized the video production and curation function under one manager for all properties, streamlining operations. They also used Google Analytics and Google Trends to serve up timely, trending video content that users were searching for. This new strategy has resulted in $140K in savings on digital video infrastructure, a 500% increase in YouTube revenue, and a 1,300% increase in video views since adopting the PfP.

Today, El Universal’s YouTube channel has 3.69 million subscribers and over 90,000 videos. It has become a vital component of the publisher’s long-term content strategy. “There will always be news, but how you’re going to tell it will evolve,” Cabrera says. “The ability to tell stories and publish videos following a journalistic line attracts audiences.”