Online videos are going to be integral to news sites, but also to the future of television, and rating systems are important for advertisers and media alike. ChannelMeter’s goal is to be the gold standard of video analytics. Their data gives videos a grade based on how quickly people viewed the video, whether they watched the whole video, and whether they shared or commented on it. KQED discovered that people stayed to watch their science videos and restaurant reviews more than any other genre, and that has helped editors make staffing and resource decisions. “We learned that KQED has more video and video views than any other public broadcaster,” Boland says. “Even more than PBS. We wouldn’t have known that.”

It has been less than two years since Boland’s a-ha moment in Texas, and in that time KQED has gone from just another public-radio operation fretting about its future to a new-media pioneer that is helping solve the digital-age problems that confront all legacy outlets. It was the first to offer pledge-free streaming for subscribers who contributed $45 or more. The station is even letting Zeega squat in the KQED headquarters until the young entrepreneurs can permanently settle in San Francisco. “There’s a kind of synergy and working together that is just helpful,” Boland says. “Being a partner in an accelerator is way outside of what an American public broadcaster would do. But it made a lot of sense for KQED, and it’s paid off.”


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Alison Langley has more than 25 years experience in journalism as a reporter and editor. Her stories have appeared in a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The FT and The Independent. She currently lectures in journalism at Fachhochschule Wien and Webster University Vienna.