The launch, which is done in partnership with News UK’s video ad tech company Unruly, is part of a wider push by the publishing brand to make video a central part of its brand strategy.
News UK is planning to invest “millions of pounds” in original video content across its portfolio, creating thousands of videos across The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and The Sun on Sunday. As well as recorded video, News UK will experiment with live video and create over 100 videos a month.
The investment is driven by the rise in mobile usage across News UK’s sites, with 80% of traffic to The Sun and 35% of The Times now coming from mobile devices.
The vertical video application is being launched in response to brand research, which showed that while mobile video consumption is rocketing, 58% of UK consumers find it annoying to turn their phone horizontally to watch videos and 30.8% of UK consumers use the rotation lock on their phone to consume video vertically.
Sarah Wood, co-founder of Unruly, believes the new ad format will take away consumers’ main grievances around mobile advertising. For example, the video will only play sound when the viewer has actively activated it.
“It’s a polite ad format, I’d say. But for advertisers it’s high impact,” she said at the launch event at Cannes Lions festival today (20 June).
“Over 80% of The Sun’s traffic is on mobile devices, so we can now monetise [that] audience with premium content.”
Dominic Carter, chief commercial officer of News UK, added that the publisher is currently working with Morrisons using its new ad format.
“We’ve invested quite a lot of money, not only to tell our stories in a different way, but also work with advertisers differently. We have an ambitious next 12 months planned.”