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Martin Frizell – Editor of ITV’s This Morning
At Shout! Communications’ most recent Big Talk event, held on Tuesday 27th June 2017 at our great hosts Instinctif Partners, we were lucky enough to have TV royalty closing the show. Martin Frizell, now Editor of ITV’s daytime mainstay powerhouse This Morning, has seen it all, so we were delighted to welcome him to give his view into the working of one of the nations most revered and loved shows.
In today’s shifting broadcast landscape, the main thing that has struck Martin is how This Morning is no longer a linear 2 hour show every week day with the average viewer a 53 year old house wife. These days, it’s a full 24/7 service that has to cater for ages, genders and geographical areas.
Then there are the multiple formats. Martin stressed that whilst the show itself is still obviously the main focus, they have seen an incredible rise in consumption of material through social platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. If they don’t see a base level of 1000 comments on a post they are disappointed!
Martin says rather than seeing the rise of social media as a threat to TV output and viewing figures, he embraces it holistically. They have no set area or dedicated time slot for social media segments, but rather see it as all encompassing. People watch the show, then get involved, whether it be by interacting with presenters Phillip or Holly or with each other. And now catch up and on-the-go are so big it pays for the producers to create additional content from the show for online, and overall consumption of the This Morning brand goes up.
“If we don’t get 1000 comments on a post we’re disappointed.”
This Morning has seen a big increase in viewers from abroad, so this in turn makes the show 24/7 by nature. He believes the idea of having to manage audience decline is a moot point, as This Morning proves; the programme’s viewing figures up year on year, because if you find the right formula, Martin says, you don’t need to worry about it, people will tune in and this he believes is what makes the show so special.
This Morning is a show that leans heavily on companionship; a show that is dependable and people can trust. It is not a news show, but will obviously cover big issues and at the same time it’s also not afraid to cover lighter, slightly niche stories. Yes, the average viewing age is 53 but because of the time it airs the audience also encompasses a wide demographic that includes unemployed people and students. Content therefore must appeal to all and leads to the brand very much being one of family and a collective. It covers a lot of issues to do with pastoral care (they have a 24/7 resident counsellor on request) but also has a lovely warmth and togetherness that comes from its presenters, as well as the humour and fun they and the regular contributing journalists bring to add great value to the show.
In regards to PR professionals, Martin sees no issues between the relationship with us and those in broadcast. Rather he sees it as hand in glove. Journalists’ suspicions of PRs have gone and now Martin sees huge opportunities with the added content being produced, especially with This Morning for big name clients and brands. In fact, the shows sponsorship is coming up for renewal, so if you represent a brand that might be a good fit with the programmes and some spare budget, get in touch!
“Journalists suspicions of PRs have gone – there are huge opportunities with the added content being produced.”
The main challenge facing This Morning is an upcoming studio move. After 30 years on the Southbank, the sale of ITV Studios and subsequent re-development will see them move to White City into the old Television Centre for 6 months. Time will tell if the familiarity and continuity of the show will remain but one thing’s for sure, we are consuming the TV show This Morning more and more even with the rise of social media. Martin Frizell says its not competition for This Morning, but should be embraced and used to extend the already large following of the show.
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