BBC Offers 15-Second News Breaks With Instagram

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Is 15 seconds enough time to deliver a news story? On January 16, BBC News began a month-long experiment called Instafax that uses Instagram video to relate news stories. On-screen text spells out the basics of the story in a few sentences, while video of the event plays. The only audio is dramatic music. The text is all-capitals in white, so that it's readable on smaller screens. Viewers can see the topic before they play the video, letting them focus on the stories they're most interested in. BBC is posting three Instafax videos each day.

With so little room, the videos work more as teasers for news than news stories themselves. Each video's description contains more story information than the video itself. The description also includes a link to the full version of the story on the BBC News site. At the end of each description, BBC explains that this type of news reporting is an experiment, and asks for viewer comments.

While it's no substitute for a complete news story, the experiment shows how one established news source is using new media to engage mobile and younger viewers.

"We want the process to be organic, and we're keen to trial new ideas on how we can use our video content to reach new audiences," Steve Herrmann, head of BBC News Online, told The Guardian.

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