The news industry is currently undergoing a great deal of soul-searching as it attempts to adapt to an evolving digital landscape. It’s no secret the way we share stories is changing, forcing editors to continually rethink how they keep us informed and engaged. At the recent Broadcast Video Expo (BVE) in London, keeping up with a rapidly changing news environment was one of the main talking points. But media executives aren’t calling the shots now – it’s the audience who is in control.
TV is dying
Television remains the most popular source of news in the UK, but it appears we’re at a turning point. While three-quarters of the British population still tune in for their news fix, it’s on the decline. In much the same way television revolutionised news coverage in the 1950s, the internet is revolutionising news coverage in 2015.
Ofcom says websites and apps have already overtaken printed newspapers when it comes to finding out about news. It’s believed younger people are largely responsible for the surge. The BBC’s Future of News project predicts the disruption that has taken such a toll on newspapers over the past 10 years will, in some form or other, come to TV news over the coming decade.
Bruce Dunlop, who has played a key role in branding some of the world’s largest broadcasters, says traditional television news hasn’t changed a lot. At BVE he spoke about how the “dinosaurs behind desks” have a good chance of becoming extinct and why money would be better spent online than on 24 hour news. Broadcasters need to find an edge, but how can they do that if they continue to maintain their “Jurassic” formats?
“Digital content” is king
Digital will become the heart of the newsroom. The current trend at Sky News is to spread across as many platforms as possible according to video content manager, Nathan Tyler. Where new viewers are coming from however is through digital, not television.
With more information available immediately, in so many different formats the challenge then is to create quality relevant content, as opposed to more noise. People don’t want to sit and be lectured to though, they want to be part of the stories that affect them. In the long term, BBC expects audiences to take on the role of co-producers as technology becomes more immersive and responsive. In the short-term, we need to enable them to continue the conversation on social media, from their portable devices, wherever they are because more often than not – they broke the news in the first place.
But “content” needs to change
Expect to see more bite-sized news pieces and reports from local people on the ground. The general consensus at BVE was that we can’t simply take what has worked for television over the past 60 years and replicate it online, especially now audiences have the ability to bypass the professional reporter. Like newspapers, there will always be a place for television, but broadcast news will become a “post-game analysis” – a platform to explain the significance of events as opposed to just telling us what has happened. It means striking the right balance between what people need to know and what they want to know will become increasingly difficult.
Post by Adam Marshall, Producer @ TNR Communications