Natalie Hayward, Application Specialist, Broadcast Traffic Systems
In recent years, the emergence of new distribution models such as AVOD, SVOD, and FAST channels have disrupted the traditional television market. These newer platforms offer viewers greater flexibility and choice and are rapidly gaining popularity among younger audiences. To stay ahead of the curve, broadcasters need to diversify their channels by developing content specifically tailored to these new platforms and consumers, whilst simultaneously meeting the needs of existing audiences.
But is the current mix of talent behind the scenes diverse enough to cover all perspectives, when creating and managing next generation channels?
Why representation matters
Whether it’s content creation, post-production, advertising management or channel scheduling, a diverse team can bring a range of ideas and viewpoints to a broadcasting workflow. Considering opinions and insights from those with a different gender, ethnicity, age, culture, or socio-economic background to you, can help build successful channels that resonate with broader demographics. A diverse team can create content that is inclusive, relevant, and appealing, and can help to identify and eliminate unconscious bias. It can also lead to increased creativity and profitability. Considering topics from a different point of view also has the potential to attract more advertisers and sponsors who are looking to enhance their targeted ad-distribution.
Changing the narrative
The broadcast technology sector is full of innovative and skilled professionals, however, there is still a lack of balanced representation. Knowledge doesn’t discriminate, yet this Diversity in Tech Report found that only 25% of tech workers belong to ethnic minority groups, and The World Economic Forum noted the lack of evenly distributed career opportunities for young people in certain groups. Given the difficulties many organisations face when trying to fill tech jobs, and the reported digital skills shortage in the UK, media companies can’t afford to overlook the skills demonstrated by people from diverse backgrounds.
Forums such as Rise, which focuses on gender diversity, and the TV Access Project (TAP), which works to ensure an inclusive television production sector for disabled talent, are successfully driving change within the industry. Although we are seeing more diversity and inclusion (D&I) campaigns across the industry, there needs to be more targeted encouragement given to everyone from a young age. In a tech-driven world, young people need to be exposed to the potential of working in the technology industry without fear of discrimination. The youth of today are the innovators and experts of our future, and highlighting the benefits of working in media tech can drive the next generation to pursue a career in an exciting and thriving industry.
How diversity impacts engagement
Diversity in broadcast technology can have a significant impact on channel engagement. A diverse workforce better reflects the interests and perspectives of viewers, meaning broadcasters can resonate with larger audiences and effectively increase engagement. By including views and opinions from a variety of professionals, content can be produced and managed in an inclusive and accessible way. This can increase engagement from underrepresented groups who may have previously felt excluded by mainstream media. Studies have shown that diverse teams are 87% better at making decisions and 70% more likely to capture new markets. These numbers are likely attributed to the wider experiences and opinions contributed by team members from varying backgrounds, which more realistically represent the perspectives of a diverse viewership. Audiences are smart and they can tell when content is authentic. Fostering a more diverse and inclusive approach throughout the media chain can help build trust and credibility, while also maintaining loyalty from existing viewers.
A focus on consumer data
The newer generation of channels and platforms come with unique and advanced features which, when leveraged correctly, can drive success. Consumer data has become a crucial tool within the broadcasting industry, used to improve programming decisions and user experiences. Personalisation is a key focus for many media organisations and user insights provide the means to keep the likes of SVOD, AVOD, and FAST channels competitive and relevant. Accurately analysing data for audience behaviour, patterns, and trends, allows broadcasters – and advertisers – to target their ideal demographics.
Advertisers want to reach specific audiences, and by utilising advanced data, they can create highly targeted ad-campaigns that resonate with those demographics. Consumers have high expectations, and research has shown that 71% expect to encounter personalised interactions. For the consumer, dynamic ad placement builds trust and loyalty, and for the advertiser, personalisation provides opportunities to reach intended audiences. The broadcaster gets the best of both. It retains a committed viewership and benefits from higher engagement, while growing revenue from advertisers who are willing to pay more to reach a highly focused audience.
So how does a diverse workforce fit in?
With a diverse team, media companies can avoid biases and assumptions in their data analysis. Wrongly interpreting data can lead to misguided content strategies and missed opportunities. A diverse mix of talent can provide a broader and more nuanced understanding of consumer behaviour, which can lead to more accurate insights and better decisions. Additionally, a variety of perspectives can help broadcasters and advertisers better understand and connect with a wider audience. With a focus on more accurate and representative data, providers can improve the effectiveness and inclusiveness of their content.
With the emergence of new distribution models, media companies can connect with a broader range of audiences, but this requires a diverse mix of talent behind the scenes. A team with different perspectives and experiences can bring fresh ideas to the table, create inclusive and appealing content, and identify and eliminate unconscious biases.
Although there are many challenges to overcome, such as the lack of balanced representation and the need for more encouragement from a younger age, there are encouraging signs of change. A diverse workforce can accurately reflect the interests and perspectives of consumers, can help build trust and credibility, and maintain loyalty from audiences who can tell when content is authentic. Diversity is not just a moral imperative, but a strategic advantage for media companies looking to stay ahead of the curve and connect with audiences in meaningful ways.