Blog Post

How can B-roll make or break a TV campaign?

TV news editors choose between dozens of stories on a daily basis; the deciding factor between a story making it on air, or not, often boils down to one thing: visuals. Obviously broadcasters would prefer to shoot their own pictures, but when they don’t have the resources to do that themselves B-roll can become one of the most valuable tools in your PR kit bag.

So what is B-roll?

Is there a but?

Ah, yes, there is. To ensure it gets on-air, B-roll needs to be shot in a particular style. At Shout! Communications we have two golden rules, and every client who has followed them has had the pleasure of seeing their footage on UK television.

Golden rule 1: Shoot the B-roll footage in a news style.

Golden rule 2: Include footage that broadcasters can’t easily film for themselves.


Broadcasters want to film their own pictures and they want to do their own interviews even more. That said, we would include interview clips at the end of a B-roll for a number of reasons:

  • It’s a good way of show-casing your spokesperson to broadcasters and might encourage them to do their own interview.
  • It’s also a diplomatic route to trying out your spokesperson – and your key messages – without offending anyone!
  • If your spokesperson is in demand, but with no availability (or willingness) to do interviews, broadcasters may use the clips anyway.

Why do news teams use B-roll?

Quite simply – budget! Newsrooms have seen their budgets slashed over the last few years as competing formats such as social media have come into play, meaning their teams don’t have the time or money to film new footage for every story.


This presents PR practitioners with an opportunity.


Broadcast bosses will deny using B-roll, but in our experience the journalists at the coal-face, working in the edit suites and newsrooms, will always be grateful for the offer of suitable footage. So if your client is champing at the bit for TV coverage, give them the best possible chance and suggest B-roll.

Is it expensive?

No! As I’ve said above, it needs to look like something a news crew might have filmed for themselves so it’s relatively quick to film – and edit. Some of our most successful B-rolls have been shot and edited in a day, at a cost of around £2, 000.


£2,000 to get on TV? That’s a bargain!


For an example of what B-roll take a look at our sample here, featuring some sights and sounds of London:

More Blog Posts

6. Dec 2023

We and our clients were lucky enough to have had another great speaker to give us their insight into the world of broadcast.   This time it was a return visit to our Small Talk circuit – show biz guru, Johnny Seifert. Johnny wears several hats, including that of show biz editor at TalkTV and entertainment […]

RAJAR logo
22. Nov 2023

Latest radio listening figures are out from RAJAR, for Q3 (July-September) and they reflect a robust industry, albeit with the usually expected ups and downs for individual stations.   49.5 million adults in the UK (so about 88% of us) tune into radio – and on average we tune into 20.5 hours of live radio […]

A gathering of people talking
26. Oct 2023

Four great speakers, from the world of broadcast,  an audience of 80 PR professionals and a buzzing atmosphere.  It was our first in-person Big Talk this side of the pandemic. First of all the speakers.   What  a line-up it was, with senior journalists from BBC News, ITN, GMB and BBC News Podcasts. Magnus McGrandle, Senior […]