Editorial Resources, Trends & Insights

Why Video is the Cure for TLDR

By Karan Vidal | Jul 21, 2016



L;DR (Too Long, Didn’t Read): “Used as a dismissive response to a lengthy online post, or to introduce a summary of a lengthy post” Oxford Dictionary, 2016

Increased user consumption on mobile screens and social platforms has made many readers unlikely to commit to articles that take more than a minute to read. Now that TL;DR has been officially deemed a legitimate term, it’s time to start considering legitimate solutions for those readers who want to know as much as possible, in the least possible time.



Publishers like Digiday have already started to answer to TL;DR by incorporating 50-70 word adaptations of their 500-700 word articles. While Digiday’s TLDR offering is valuable to their readers, re-writing shorter versions of articles takes away valuable time from journalists. Thanks to the emergence of automation in the newsroom, short video summaries of articles can be done in half the time. The increased efficiency in the publication process also accompanies the higher engagement levels associated with video content.

Here are some more reasons that short-form video summaries should be incorporated into any article that’s longer than 500 words – along with some examples of our publishers’ video TL;DR’s in action, created in the same amount of time it would take to read an article that’s, well, TL;DR.

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Perfect for those who are short on time

How can publishers capitalize on an audience that clearly wants the information but won’t commit the time? Research shows that users who access content from a social networking site spend 25% less time on a news story than when accessed by an internal link. The study also found that Facebook accounted for the majority (about 8 in 10) of user-interactions with news stories. As the time spent accessing social platforms on mobile screens increases, it’s likely that there’ll be a decrease in the time-commitment for articles that require at least a minute to read. Check out this Social Video TL;DR on USA Today’s site:

Hardwired for happy hour: Primates choose booze

VIDEO LENGTH: 38 seconds

Brevity doesn’t mean short on quality

Using short-form videos for TL;DRs doesn’t mean a reduction in news quality. It’s simply a trimmed down version that makes news easier to consume, by delivering the ‘punch-line’ of news content in an engaging and digestible format. As 62% of Americans find their news on social media, short-form news videos are a perfect way to provide snapshots of developing stories. With millions of shares per day on Facebook alone, it makes sense to have brief video TL;DRs to communicate news without skimping on quality. List Videos are great ways to condense your long articles into short summaries – check out how AZ Central leveraged our List Video on their site:

Why businesses oppose marijuana legalization in Arizona

ARTICLE LENGTH: 1,484 words
VIDEO LENGTH: 57 seconds

Cater to all buyer personas

The one thing that all content consumers have in common is that they want meaningful information. Different audiences find different types of content “meaningful” – if it’s too long to read, they won’t derive any meaning. And if you want to make sure you’re reaching those influential millennials, the shorter your content is, the better. By incorporating video summaries into your content, your site’s content will be user-friendly for all audiences: those that are willing to read long-form articles, and those that are not. And for those that normally brush the longer content off as TL;DR, a quick video may pique their interest enough to continue reading! The Denver Post had the right idea when they placed one of our Newsroom’s Top Story videos above their article in order to give users a taste of the story:

Johnny Manziel suspended 4 games in NFL’s substance-abuse policy

VIDEO LENGTH: 48 seconds

Karan Vidal