Broadcast television is 80 years old and PR must harness the medium for the digital age

It was 80 years ago this month when Elizabeth Cowell spoke the famous words: "This is direct television from the studios at Alexandra Palace" - the first high-definition television service of its kind, from the BBC.

PRs should master the broadcast medium in the digital age, writes Howard Kosky
PRs should master the broadcast medium in the digital age, writes Howard Kosky
Whilst I haven’t been working in the PR industry quite so long, the TV market has certainly evolved considerably since then and I’d argue the influence and impact remains as strong, if not more appreciable. 

The challenge, as ever, for PR professionals in today’s TV landscape is ensuring we adapt to the new era and ways of broadcasting and keep abreast of the routes, methods and technologies available. 

Some might be surprised to hear me say the value of B-roll and supporting GV’s remains high if the content offering is right; but alongside the ‘traditional TV channel playout’, we also need to broaden our view and look at broadcaster’s such as Facebook Live and Periscope Producer, all of which can deliver an extremely powerful opportunity to showcase a story.

When I hear people discuss social, digital, and broadcast as separate entities, I have to question whether our industry has fully grasped full integration from the perspective of the channel provider. 

How many of us consider the number of views Sky News gets for an average Facebook Live interview in comparison to traditional BARB broadcast figures; and indeed I’d suggest it’s time to begin to question and perhaps redefine what ‘traditional’ now actually means in the world of Broadcast and TV. 

In the age of Netflix, YouTube & iPlayer, amongst many others, and new broadcast rights deals being announced almost weekly across new platforms, distributors and channels, the reality is that whenever, however and on whatever the end audience wants to consume ‘TV’, the appetite for it is absolute. 

Furthermore, PR professionals now have opportunities and more routes to reach, impact and influence the viewer. 

Let’s just hope as an industry we invest in the training, knowledge and skillset of ‘how’ to use broadcast to its full potential, and ensure we remain purpose-fit in this ever-evolving broadcast landscape. 

And my final thought is that 80 years on, with the most recent Ofcom report stating children are spending more time online than watching TV, surely we can look forward to an era of the term ‘online’ going the same way as ‘new media’ and for all to just recognise the power of TV, no matter how, on what or where we consume it.


Howard Kosky is the chief executive of Markettiers

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