By Hannah Buckley, Head of Content
With a quarter of the world’s population currently on ‘lockdown’, many of us are more reliant on broadcasters to inform, educate and entertain us than ever before. However, like most businesses, these organisations are feeling the pressure as they are forced to adapt under these unprecedented circumstances to cater to different audiences and fill the void left by unexpected disruption to their usual schedules.
But, like the rest of us, broadcasters are taking the unexpected turn of events in their stride and adapting creatively to continue providing services which have become invaluable to most. While there are certainly some challenges currently facing the industry, we take a look to see how they’re overcoming them to ensure we can all still get our sport fixes, binge watch boxsets and keep the children entertained!
- Content libraries making up for reduced outputs
As the production of soaps has come to a halt, this has led to a reduction in the number of weekly instalments of the likes of Eastenders and Coronation Street. The absence of live sports has left a space, not only in the lives of sports fans, but also in the TV guide, so many broadcasters are turning to archive content to plug the gaps.
Broadcasters have built up significant amounts of content over the years, and this is proving a great opportunity to maximise it. The BBC, for example, is ensuring it still entertains the nation by re-running classics like Gavin and Stacey, while fans of period dramas can enjoy re-watching Great Expectations and Pride & Prejudice.
The broadcaster is also making more of its video library available on BBC iPlayer so viewers can stream whatever takes their fancy, while it’s focusing more programming on news, education, fitness and religion to keep people informed and active.
Similarly, sports broadcasters like BT Sport are showing extended highlights of matches and replays to continue to provide value for their audiences, most of whom will have paid for access to the channels.
- Lowering quality to cope with increased demand
Streaming on platforms such as Netflix has hit an all-time high. This has resulted in some over-the-top (OTT) providers, including the newly launched Disney+, reducing video download quality across Europe. This initiative has helped to reduce pressure on the continent’s internet bandwidth, while also ensuring that everybody can still stream content.
- Using alternative platforms to reach new audiences
Although they’re not technically broadcasters, over the last week, we’ve seen a growing number of social media influencers using Instagram or YouTube to broadcast everything from live workouts to cook-alongs. For instance, Joe Wicks, otherwise known as The Body Coach, is using his YouTube channel to run virtual ‘PE lessons’ for children who are no longer at school. So far, these videos have proved wildly popular, being viewed a staggering six million times.
There’s no doubt that these are uncertain times, however, it’s cheering to see broadcasters doing so much to ensure that audiences can continue to access much-needed entertainment and information despite facing disruption to their services.
Let us know what you’ve been watching so far during the ‘lockdown’.