By Saskia Whelan
It’s true; millennials just aren’t watching TV news anymore. According to a report by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, with 46% of 18-24 years olds preferring to consume news on their smartphone, and 28% making social media their first stop for the latest headlines, broadcast media has had to catch up fast. Instant news in the places where people are congregating online – with Facebook, YouTube and Twitter now the top three social sites for news – is required.
And it’s happening already. For example, in 2015 Sky News launched an account on Snapchat, the image messaging app that lets you compile pictures and short clips into ‘stories’. Favoured by teens who can stick on a filter that gives them dog ears in selfies, they can now get also watch quick films of the latest news from Sky on the go via their phones.
Streaming is the next logical step for broadcasters to get social with their reporting. Initially dismissed as a flash-in-the-pan trend, even traditional broadcasting heavyweights like the BBC are getting involved, streaming content on Facebook, which is the most popular social network for news consumption. It’s estimated around 44% of young people are heading there to watch, post and comment on news. Streaming is a smart solution in that it suits all budgets, from ‘citizen journalism’ style streams featuring footage from one camera, with no tripod, for instant news bulletins, to slick multi-camera streams from the likes of the Financial Times.
Even radio is going visual, with BBC Radio 1 regularly streaming live content online via iPlayer. LBC, one of the UK’s biggest news talk radio broadcasters, also has cameras set up in the studio, streaming clips online and on Twitter for a visual experience of the news for millennials scrolling through their feeds.
What does this mean for PRs? Happily it’s more outlets for us to target and secure coverage on. Broadcasters are live streaming what they are outputting on TV but they’re also using streaming to provide alternative material for viewers too. So for the PR industry we get a second chance of placing a story.
Streaming is still a secondary outlet for broadcasters so my guess is there isn’t a lot of budget for it – that means PR agencies who can offer a full range of content, including well shot B-roll with good visuals and interview clips, are going to be best placed to support broadcasters. A good PR story with visuals has a better chance of making it on air and on online news sites now, as it reduces the cost and work required from the TV channels themselves.
Arguably the move away from tradition TV news to social channels is the biggest change in broadcasting since the 1st July 1967, when regular colour broadcasts hit our TV screens in the UK. It’s a hot topic for broadcasters and broadcast PRs alike, and that’s why it’s the theme of our Big Talk.
The Shout! Communications Big Talk featured speakers from the BBC, ITV and Sky News. Click here to see what they had to say: