One of the absolute fundamentals that came out of the broadcasting session at Prolific North Live last week is that there is still a place for traditional broadcast in the melee of content and knowledge that the future is indeed digital.
Jenny Baxter, the Chief Operating Officer of BBC England expressed that linear TV must not be written off just yet however. What works digitally, is not a million miles away from what works on (traditional) TV. Peter Kay’s ‘Car Share’ premiered on BBC iPlayer before it even touched BBC 1 where it had already racked up 2.8 million views.
I think Jenny summed up the absolute core element of the debate in one quote – “Digital is changing the way we get content but not broadly what we want to consume.”
The absolute principles of solid, engaging, informative and entertaining content apply just as much as they did when terrestrial and analogue was all we had. There is a recognition and a need of course at the BBC particularly that viewers and listeners do want diversity in how and when they consume their content – if the behaviour of licence fee payers is changing, the BBC appreciates that it needs to adapt to that and enable their audience to find content and use it at their convenience.
In the panel session that followed the presentations there was a lot of conversation around news content specifically. There was a consensus from the panel that for a broadcast brand to maintain and retain its credibility, its news ‘brand’ and positioning is core – whenever and wherever people consume it.
Howard Kosky, CEO of markettiers4dc Group highlighted that our consumption of news is constant throughout the day accessed via radio and social media particularly, but for him, and he was referring to others like him when stating this point, the BBC 10 o’ clock news is still his appointment to view in the evening – to get a solid BBC take on the events of the day. And now that the BBC has committed to an extension of their flagship news programme to a 45minute programme, we can expect to see a greater analysis of the day’s news which will satisfy the 55+ demographic that consume more TV news than any other generation as Lucy West, Head of News for Granada Reports underlined during her presentation.
Regionally speaking, Lucy West also highlighted the need and ability of journalists to stay nimble – to break and cover news via a mobile phone if needed from the field – without having to wait/go back to studio for standard crew and all the resource that goes with it.
What is interesting is that social positioning and the consumption of content online is dictating what the newsroom covers and spends more time on… quirky (cats and dogs) and emotive (Hillsborough) has secured the hits for ITV socially and therefore plays a part in decision making on what gets covered and loaded on to social channels for future stories. For ITV Granada today, their regional news is 24/7 online and via social channels – with a curated 30 minutes of TV a day at teatime.
Stuart Morgan, Founder of Audio Always, shone a significant light on the power of radio – the most trusted media platform according to Ofcom – and the role it continues to play in the media mix and indeed the role that radio principles play in informing engaging content across platforms – Stuart’s team no longer just produce for the radio set – their content is produced to sit across social and online channels as well, whether in the form of podcasts or shorter segments to complement posts on Twitter.
Radio is still playing a major part in our general media consumption. 48.2 million adults are spending more than 21 hours listening to live radio each week according to the latest Rajar results released yesterday. BBC Radio 6 Music had a particularly good quarter and is now the most listened-to digital-only station in the UK having commanded the highest listening figure for a digital-only station since Rajar began in 1992.
Broadcast reach in the UK is significant and following the session at Prolific North Live, it’s good to know that the people behind the cameras and mics have got our backs when it comes to making sure we can access their content when, where and how we want it.