With #Instafax, BBC Delivers News to the Instagram Generation
All the news that's fit to Instagram
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News organizations are constantly trying to find new and better ways to deliver the day's headlines. But while most newspapers and news stations seem to simply lament the impact social media has had on their audience, the BBC is embracing it.
If you follow the BBC's Instagram account, you may have noticed that its videos have taken on a unique look for the last week or so. Dubbed Instafax, the new videos are bite-sized news updates that feature B-roll set to music, with a few sentences of text laid over the video.
Here's an example of the BBC's Instafax for its recent report on the death of a 91-year-old Japanese WWII veteran:
This is not the first time the BBC has reported news via Instagram, but it represents a new tack for the news organization—an attempt to deliver video content in a way that anyone can use on the go. By including a brief text summary in the video itself, rather than as an audio voice-over, the videos are likely easier to produce and can be watched and understood even with a phone on silent.
The first such story was posted on January 16th, and since then every Instagram post from the BBC's main account has been an Instafax. In some senses, it's a riff on Ceefax, a broadcast teletext service that the BBC ran from 1974 until 2012. Ceefax delivered short text-only updates about international events, sports scores, and breaking news.
User comments on Instafax posts have thus far been overwhelmingly positive, and though the BBC is clearly still experimenting with the format—the bumper featuring the BBC logo has moved from the beginning to the end of many updates and there's no way to link directly to the full story—it's certainly an interesting step in a new direction.