Ofcom’s ever useful media nations report was published this week with a usual trove of useful data.
There’s been extensive coverage of the wider findings of the TV industry but for me the value is drilling into the data on how video is consumed. This is the gold that can inform how comms people look to communicate.
‘Without data,’ data scientist W. Edwards Deming wrote, ‘you’re just another person with an opinion.’
So, here’s the data.
The Ofcom report focuses on TV, radio and YouTube without looking in detail at wider social media data. There is nothing, for example, on how much time people spend watching video on Facebook, for example.
I’ll blog the radio data separately but in the meantime, here’s plenty to get on with on video.
The most popular YouTube content of 2018? Paul McCartney’s carpool karaoke with 44 million views.
Now, here’s the data…
The average UK adult watches almost five hours of video a day
Dominated by live TV, the average UK adults is burning through almost five hours of video screen time every day. That’s around 35 hours a week.
The eye-catching figure for public sector communicators is the 34-minutes a day spent watching YouTube.
Conclusion: YouTube remains an important place to put content. There is a healthy appetite for watching content on the channel.
There is a split between younger and older demographics on how they watch video
Older people tend to watch their video content as live TV while younger people gravitate to watching video as YouTube.
For 18-to-34-year-olds, YouTube is the most popular means of watching video with an hour and four minutes watching the platform every day. That’s well ahead of second-placed Netflix on 40 minutes.
Elsewhere, the data points to eight to a majority of 15-year-olds preferring YouTube to TV.
Conclusion: If you are looking to reach an older or younger audience you need to tailor your content accordingly.
The most popular YouTube channels have been created by digital natives rather than traditional audiences
YouTube as a place is dominated by people making content that probably wouldn’t have got an audience twenty years ago.
Digital natives is the catch-all expression for vloggers and non-broadcasting industry content. Lean over your child’s shoulder while they are watching a screen and the chances are its the content that they’re watching. They’ve built an audiences based on generating engaging content and slowly building trust. They may not have the same slick production values as traditional broadcasters but that’s okay.
The learning point for this is that the traditional gatekeepers of video content – TV stations – have become not the only show in town.
News at five per cent is a small part of the pie and it leads to a question as to the effort chasing the traditional opinion formers.
Conclusion: Channels made by digital natives are the most popular channels on YouTube.
Young people are watching YouTubers
Children are often known as a hard-to-reach audience as they don’t consume traditional media in a way that we are at home with.
The Ofcom data drills down into exactly watching on YouTube with some useful data for three to 11-year-olds and then the older 12 to 17.
YouTubers are significant. These are vloggers who are creating their own content and often speak to the camera directly. It’s rough and ready content built because its the content that best reaches an audience.
Conclusion: Young people are unlikely to be on your organisation’s YouTube channel but you could reach them by going through channels that are popular.
The Media Nations report published by Ofcom can be found here.
There’s a time limit to this post. I hurry to write it before England play Columbia in the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
My first World Cup watching England was in 1982. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been let down. Let’s get this straight. I’m a cynic.
How the FA used to communicate with video
There was a bloke called Graham Taylor who was the face of the FA. He was 40 in 1985 but his jowly face and provincial solicitor fashion mode made him look so much older. That he was the face of the FA tells you all you need to know. This is him in action, children, with an even older bloke called Ted Croker.
How the FA now communicate
Coming into the 2018 World Cup, the FA ditched how they normally communicate the squad they’d be sending. Rather than a man walking into a room and reading a list of names to a roomful of journalists they released it straight to their audience.
They made a video aimed at young people of young people shouting the names of players out. A girl in a kit slides in celebration shouting Danny Rose’s name, kids on a bus Harry Kane. It’s a list of optimism and celebration.
Here’s the interesting thing.
My video skills colleague Steven Davies dislikes it. He’s Welsh but he makes valid criticism of the video as sometimes hard to follow with regional accents, a lack of sub-titles and others.
I get that and I recognise the valid criticisms. But I love it. I love how it makes me feel optimistic.
It’s short. It has the demographic in mind. It’s visual with fast cuts and I love it.
It’s also not a one-off. Through the tournament the FA have been producing a stack of content from match highlights to behind the scenes content and quizzes between players that are all shareable across their YouTube, Facebook and Twitter channels.
But just in case it all goes wrong, I’m posting this blog ahead of the Columbia game.
I’m @danslee on Twitter and email@example.com. If you hate missing out on the good stuff subscribe to my weekly email here.
My Mum once did something astounding when she was younger. She blew out the Beatles.
She was about 20 and working in Liverpool city centre in the early 60s when a friend asked her to come see this new band that was playing lunchtime concerts at The Cavern club.
Off my Mum went, but half way down the steps she halted hit by a wall of sweaty heat rising from the subterranean club.
“I’m not going in there,” she said, “it’s too hot and smelly.”
And by those slight chances history passes you by.
For the past three years I’ve co-delivered workshops to show comms people how to plan, shoot and edit effective comms video. I come back to The Beatles to give two tips because people are switching off your video far quicker than you’d like them to.
Beatles video tip #1: Make your video like a pop single
In the UK, 71 per cent of the population have a smartphone and research shows we check our phones on average more than 85 times a day. So as we scroll we make snap decisions on what to watch and for how long for.
Your audience will make a decision on whether or not to watch your video within a few seconds. Surprised by this? Pick up your smartphone and go scrolling. You’ll quickly come across a video auto-playing. How much did you watch? A few seconds? And then you scrolled down to the next?
Did you watch with sound? On Facebook 85 per cent of people don’t.
The Beatles came from an era when singles were king. So, they made records to be singles. They needed a hook straight away. They needed you to listen.
When I think of The Beatles’ ‘Taxman’ I think of the count in and the riff. For ‘Twist and Shout’ I hear the guitar riff and John Lennon singing ‘shake it up baby’. Think of any Beatles song and within five seconds you’ve got a hook. You need to think of this when you are making a short form video. Put your best content right at the start. Make people watch. If you save it for the end chances are it’ll just be you.
Beatles video tip #2: John Lennon and the Beatles are bigger than Jesus
When I was a reporter I found hard news easy to write. Put who, what, when, where, why, how in the intro for a hard news story and you have a ‘clothes line’ interview. Dead easy.
I found writing a feature much harder. A feature is a more expansive think piece where you can be more creative.
The best tip I came across for writing a feature was simply this… put the best line in the intro. So the first line of the John Lennon interview should be:
“We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity.”
So, put your best visual content at the start to get people to stop scrolling and watch.
I’m @danslee on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org. If you hate missing out on the good stuff subscribe to my weekly email here.
Pic credit: Tyler Merbler / Flickr
It’s a fascinating time to be a comms person… new tactics emerge and old ones fall away.
But like anything, your decisions should be driven less by the shiny and what will get you results.
So, Facebook Live. It’s something I’ve been fascinating by for some time.
The idea is quite simple. You post to Facebook and you have the option to create a live broadcast from your device’s camera as simply as posting some words.
But where does it fit into the landscape?
It’ll help you beat the Facebook algorithm
Being admin of a page used to be such fun. You posted something and your audience saw it, liked it, commented on it and shared it. You sat back and took the applause. But since Facebook Zero and Mark Zuckerburg’s announcement earlier this year that you’ll see less from pages and more from friends and family that’s long gone.
Right now though, use a Facebook Live broadcast and you’ll be reaching more people.
But what do we do?
Here’s where it gets interesting because you are really not hemmed in right now by convention. We’re all learning but please, for heaven’s sake, look outside your sector to see how others are doing it.
Sure, think calls to action. But also see your broadcast as educational, fun and interesting that will build your audience for a time when you really want them to do something. A social channel that’s just one long call to action isn’t fun.
Broadcast because the value is to be in the right place at the right time
English Heritage look after Stonehenge. This collection of Neolithic stone tablets has fascinated people for thousands of years. At the moment of winter and also summer solstice the sun shines perfectly at an angle. It is a special place to be. So a live broadcast of the moment and the build up to it makes sense.
Broadcast because you’ve got something visually interesting
National Rail celebrated the longest day of the year with a live broadcast from a GoPro in the train driver’s cab of the Aberdeen to Plymouth service. This is the longest in Britain and runs through some stunning scenery.
It says that the country is amazing, that as a feat of engineering its incredible and also that National Rail understand how the internet works.
Some kickbacks emerged when it was admitted that the video was not as live but the playing of a video recording. But I get that. But then again, what would a livestreamed suicide do for anyone? Or for the organisation’s reputation if the train broke down?
Broadcast because you are commenting on breaking news
Look at what newspapers are doing. They don’t call themselves newspapers anymore. They’re media companies that happen to produce some print.
When the football fixtures were published my team Stoke City’s local media company ran a Facebook Live to run through them. Leeds away is first up. They incorporated comments from readers – or should I see viewers – too.
The camera work wasn’t amazing. It doesn’t have to be.
Broadcast for a Q&A
Over in the Public Sector Comms Headspace Facebook group I’m admin of, we ran a Q&A ahead of GDPR on how they may affect websites.
From the more than 2,000 members of the group we had more than 900 views and more than 50 questions and comments which was fine with us. We’re a niche but highly active forum.
If you’re a member you can see the broadcast here. But as the stream went into a closed group we can’t embed it elsewhere on the internet.
The topics you can live broadcast are pretty wide and vast. I’ve blogged more than 30 of them here.
So, if that’s the topic, how do I do it?
I co-deliver workshops on live video skills that goes into the planning and the delivery using some handy BBC principles.
Before you go live, run a test broadcast where you broadcast only to yourself. You can select ‘only you’ from the settings before you hit post. This allows you to see if your device can be help landscape or has to be held in upright portrait mode. At a big set-piece event like an election count you’ll need to be aware that media companies will more than likely be broadcasting.
But what if my audience isn’t on Facebook?
Then don’t use Facebook, you big silly. With Twitter, Periscope is the live app of choice and instagram and YouTube have their own functionality. But the numbers behind Facebook make it important.
I’ve heard it said that people are leaving Facebook. The stats don’t support that globally although I’ve heard of people leaving the platform in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica saga. That’s fine. I get it. But until there is a better way of sharing cat videos the mass audience isn’t leaving Facebook anytime soon.
I’m @danslee on Twitter and dan@comms2point0. If you hate missing out on the good stuff subscribe to my weekly email here.