Last month, The Telly Awards co-hosted a special evening here, in New York City, with our partners at Storyhunter. Bringing together an expert panel including Courtney Coupe (VP of Content, Great Big Story), Athan Stephanopoulos (President, Now This) and Jason Beauregard (Head of Studio at VaynerMedia), the evening convened leaders from across the video industry, as well as within the Telly Awards and Storyhunter community.

ICYMI, here are three main takeaways:

Quality stories will always win.

Regardless of platform, length, or audience, good stories will always rise to the top.  When Great Big Story began in late 2015, it identified a white space for story-first, short form documentaries. At a time when conversations surrounding video were saturated with questions around the ideal length for online video, and a concern that viewers would not watch work beyond 30 seconds on social networks, Great Big Story launched a series of micro-docs up to three minutes in length. Two short years later, they have produced over 1,700 videos with over 2.3 billion views to date, and engage an audience that spends over seven minutes on their bespoke app. Courtney Coupe, VP of Content at Great Big Story, spoke to the fact that their work stands out for its surprising stories, clear aesthetic, production value, and universal appeal.

Brands continue to experiment with longer content.

Jason Beauregard of VaynerMedia, has built a new kind of studio within this forward-thinking agency—one which is fully integrated with other departments (including engagement for live, time performance analytics), allowing for a nimble and agile approach to testing and experimenting with quick turnaround briefs. Jason walked through some of the work created by his team that continues to speak to the shift towards branded content, and away from 30-second ads. VaynerMedia has successfully worked with a number of brands advising its crossover into longer form work—and at times outside of its comfort zone, ideating, producing, and supporting the distribution of the work.

Community is everything.

From the impetus for The Telly Awards and Storyhunter to come together, to the conversations that were had following the panel, and the exponential growth of NowThis’ online audience, community and collaboration are inarguably the key to progress. From the power of bringing voices together from across the industry, building audiences across the globe—Great Big Story documentaries which have a 60% international audience—and collaborating with on-the-ground international talent to scale production, creating a community and key collaborators is necessary to success.