With the rapid rise of the web, it may be tempting to think that broadcast news is losing its importance to communicators and campaigners in Wales. The facts, however, tell a different story.
As part of a new course I recently ran for NUJ Training Wales, I explained that while seeking TV news coverage isn’t always the right tactic, there are strong reasons for considering it as a communication tool for your organisation.
Whether you want to influence Senedd members, drive behaviour change, recruit volunteers, fundraise or simply strengthen your brand – here are 5 potential benefits to consider.
1. It gets big audiences
In Wales at least, TV is still the biggest news medium we can use to get our message across.
The latest research from Ofcom revealed that BBC One and ITV Wales were the top news sources, accessed by 64% and 49% of the public respectively. The biggest social media platforms remain behind, with Facebook on 40%, Instagram on 30% and Twitter on 12%.
BBC Wales Today regularly attracts over 200,000 viewers, with much higher figures – over 700,000 per day – reported during the Covid crisis. According to Barb figures on audience share, ITV Wales At Six isn’t far behind. In a population of around 3 million, that’s huge.
2. Big online impact
If you do secure coverage on TV news, it will almost certainly drive big impact online too. Not only will your story probably end up on the broadcaster’s websites, but it should also lead to social media posts from them too, as well as other users sharing the story online. BBC Wales news has 130,000 followers on Twitter alone. That provides some great online content for your organisation to share with your followers.
3. It’s emotional
Broadcast news thrives on human interest stories and strong images, and beyond audience size – consider the impact a 3 minute TV piece can have on a viewer, compared to a social media post.
Whether it’s the patient saved by an early diagnosis or the residents threatened by a new motorway, seeing and hearing the issue in question will pull at the heart strings in a way that the written word sometimes can’t.
If you can tell the story visually, TV news can be a great way of getting the message across. You don’t need cute puppies either (although it helps).
4. Politicians will listen
With such a big audience, what politician (especially in an election year) would ignore what’s reported on TV news? Even if they don’t tune in themselves, they’ll likely see mention of it on Twitter or elsewhere on the web. They’ll often be asked for comment on a story, especially if they’re in government – and there’s nothing like TV news for giving politicians a grilling.
5. It reaches audiences other media cannot reach
TV news is a good way of reaching most of the UK population – but for some groups it’s especially important, according to research by Ofcom.
It still matters for young people. Despite 79% of 16-24 year olds using the internet to find out what’s going on, 49% watch TV news.
But if you’re targeting older people, getting broadcast coverage could be crucial – 92% of over 65s watch TV news, with only 44% seeking out news online.
In summary, TV news still matters
Even with the growth of social media, online news platforms such as Nation.Cymru and even new newspapers like the forthcoming The National Wales, TV news remains a vital way of campaigners getting their message across in Wales in 2021. As a way of reaching big audiences, creating emotional impact and being politically influential, it’s hard to beat. In my next blogpost I look at how you can maximise your chances of securing that coverage for your organisation or campaign.