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Growth around online video news seems to have been largely driven by technology, publishers and platforms, rather than strong consumer demand, a new report from the Reuters Institute finds – but breaking news events may hold clues to success.

The report explores the explosion in online video news seen over the last few years, and the implications for journalism. The authors interviewed around 30 news organisations to understand developing strategies and approaches – with a focus on the UK, US, Germany and Italy.  Most companies have been investing in video over the past year with large publishers more than doubling their video postings through social networks like Facebook and experimenting with live services such as Periscope and Facebook Live.

The results may hold disappointment for publishers focused on news video. The report shows that just a small proportion of time spent on news sites is spent on video (an average of 2.5% across 30 websites) with even large producers of video content, like BBC News struggling to get beyond one in ten of users accessing video on a visit.

The report showed a marked increase in interest in online video news when it came to large-scale breaking events. The percentage of users accessing BBC News following the Paris attacks in November 2015 more than doubled, from 10% on an average day to 22% immediately after the attacks.

The conclusions of the report back up survey results from the Reuters Institute Digital News Report (released 15th June 2016), which showed that 78% of global sample of 50,000 saying they never or only occasionally accessed a news video. The survey showed limited growth in the use of news video and wide variations between countries.

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