What is the main novelty of youris.com communication model, also considering that you are a free content provider?
It’s a multi-media model with uniquely wide coverage. We succeeded in placing ourselves among the mainstream broadcasting of European TV networks like an independent agency, reaching newsrooms and science programmes through Euronews, Eurovision and our own contacts. Providing free content Video News Releases is a rather uncommon feature in broadcasting, but this is tied to the very identity of our platform, http://www.youris.com, which represents the other half of our model and which we recently turned into an online science magazine with our own original, in-depth feature articles and interviews. As high quality content providers, we take the initiative to reach broadcasters with ourVNRs and we have found this model works particularly well in increasing our outreach to new Member States, for instance. Our initial approach had been born out of the ambition to bring EC-funded European science research achievements into visual media, which we did for almost 10 years in many other research domains.
So the rather rare feature of your model is that you can reach a wider audience by fitting your free videos into news programmes.
Exactly. It’s about reaching out to the general public. Since we provide high added value broadcasts always for free, many public service national TV networks plus a few national pay-tv channels use them on their news programmes or science magazines. Our balanced approach to science issues has always made sure that we are given access to the main TV gateways, and the spread of our distribution gives us this wide coverage which is the most innovative aspect of our model. Any of our Youris VNRs generates 7 or 8 million viewers on Euronews only, but thanks to our distribution we get to dozens of millions of viewers for each VNR altogether. We have good contacts even outside Europe. There are a couple of US satellite networks which request our VNRs regularly, and I know our
videos have been downloaded by TV channels as far as Venezuela and Vietnam. All in all, we reach out to over 40 countries.
How is your video material and voiceover used by TV networks?
We send them a 3-4 minute ‘teaser’ with a voiceover in English, which is our own finished short narrative, plus the so-called B-rolls, meaning 12-minute long selected footage without any voiceover. It’s then up to the TV networks to decide how to edit the footage, but it has to be said that our messages are always clear in either our teasers or B-rolls.
Which direction would you like your communication model to take after 2011?
We have been in science communication since 1998 and our capacity for success has always depended on us having a dynamic model. So, from the end of 2009 we have also integrated Web 2.0 into our distribution model in order to widen our outreach beyond TV. So far it was generally assumed that people would watch a programme on TV first and go back to the Web to learn more later. We want to try and reverse this model now, by using Twitter and Facebook to inform people that on a certain date and time they can turn on their TV to watch one of our VNRs. Turning the interaction between Web and TV around does look like a highly innovative communication model to me now. This way,the Web audience would migrate towards TV and back to the Web, of course, to debate the issues and go deeper. We would really like to try and do this through http://www.youris.com, perhaps by setting up cooperation with other European online newspapers as well, which would establish a new interactive model.
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