Any well-established broadcaster needs to…adapt to the way lots of younger consumers consumer news.
Faced with changing trends in news creation, delivery, and consumption, two organizations on opposite sides of the Atlantic are applying new technologies and ideas to boost broadcast newsroom efficiency and deliver more high-quality stories to more platforms.
To learn more about how news providers are adapting, Avid’s Craig Wilson, host of Making the Media podcast, recently spoke with Michael Jermey, Director of News and Current Affairs for ITV News, based in London, and Maral Usefi, Vice President of News and Editorial Operations at VICE Media Group, based in New York City. (Catch the recorded chat with Jermey here, and with Usefi here.)
New ways to deliver news and boost business
In today’s digital technology era, the news business has become increasingly complex. Providing news to everyone how and where they want it is challenging. Quickly creating quality content tailored to many types of audiences located on different platforms and devices in short and long-form, video and text, in multiple styles and tones, and working with a team in many locations, requires newsroom staff to be flexible and collaborative.For both ITV and VICE Media Group these challenges have created opportunity.
ITV is taking the ability to access news on any device a step further. A regional and national news provider for more than six decades, ITV is embracing digital technologies and streaming platforms with an innovative news service to create and deliver content in new ways. The company has launched an on-demand news service on the new ITVX streaming platform that Jermey believes is unique.
“At the moment if you want to consume news you can go to a news channel, wait for one of the big news programs on one of the big channels, go to your phone or tablet, but you can't see, on a connected television set, news on-demand that allows you to select what stories you want, of high quality and constantly updated so it's not repeat television. It's up-to-date news,” Jermey says. “We think that's a service our viewers will appreciate.”
About a year ago, ITV launched news posts on TikTok, a service that now has more than 1.3 million followers. The content style differs from its traditional news programs but retains the integrity and high-quality ITV is known for.
“A young colleague said she didn't own a television set and consumed media through her iPad, phone, TikTok and other social media. Any well-established broadcaster needs to be open to that and be able to combine what we do and have done for a long time very well and not give that up, but also to adapt to the way lots of younger consumers consume news,” Jermey explains.
Michael Jermey, Director of News and Current Affairs, ITV News
The VICE news brand is geared toward 18 to 34-year-olds, but the company is trying to expand that audience and commercialize its content while staying true to its mission. In November, the VICE News FAST (Free to air, Advertising Funded Streaming TV) Channel launched providing in-depth exploration of current affairs content through series, documentaries, and features made over the past few years. The company created the channel to diversify how they offer content and to meet the growing audience interest in news.
“We're experimenting with what will happen when we put out new content on FAST. We're hoping for an ecosystem that mirrors the Internet, mirrors YouTube views,” Usefi says. “We have hundreds of millions of people watching VICE content on YouTube that we don't monetize. FAST feels like a place where we can mirror that and hopefully make some money.”
The value of new technologies
Experimentation is a key value at VICE As a young, small company, VICE strives to bring new options to its audiences.
“We need to constantly be the leaders in setting the stage of what's the next new thing,” Usef says. “We don't want to be 20 years down the road and our product still looking the same and our platform still being the same because that's not going to get us anywhere.”
ITV’s journalists are multi-skilled, shooting and editing video in the field on their phones and laptops, writing content, then uploading and posting.
“We've adopted every form of technology and try to use it for its correct purpose,” Jermey says. “Technology over the time I've been working in television has enabled better journalism.That's one of the great benefits that digital technology gives you is that you can target specific bits of the audience.”
Technology has had an effect on the efficiency and cost of media production. As a result, news teams are able to spend more time on delivering quality journalism “People talk about a golden age of television journalism, which is normally the decade in which they entered the industry, I think that's a myth,” Jermey remarks. “Television news on whatever platform has gone from strength-to-strength.It's possible to reach more places, tell more stories, in more interesting forms than ever before.
Vice has separate broadcast and digital leadership arms, but editorial teams now collaborate closely to make decisions together.
What we've tried to do, and you'll see this in a lot of newsrooms because of the times that we're living in, is make sure that everything we spend money on can be used across multiple platforms
Maral Usefi, Vice President of News and Editorial Operations, VICE Media Group
"That deployments, for example, to Ukraine or Lebanon are being used in every way: for a documentary, a Vice News Tonight piece, a piece for Showtime, and our TikTok and Instagram content.”
ITV’s news teams are not only responsible for putting out News at 10 or creating TikTok posts. News teams take an overall view when creating content, examining how to best share a piece of news in multiple ways, creating different versions based on platform and audience.
“Our big broadcast programs are still very well watched, but it's possible to go to our app or website and see a similar agenda covered at all hours,” Jermey explains. “It's possible to engage with ITV News in different regions through social media. We are on most of the platforms where our consumers want to see us.”
As audience news consumption trends continue to change, news providers will need to adapt and use new technologies to share and deliver content. ITV’s focus is always on providing stories that matter to audiences, that affect them and that bring value and use new technologies to help carry out that mission.
“We learn from other bits of the industry, and from other content creators outside of the news sphere, that we continue to evolve to be relevant to our viewers on whatever device or platform they want to watch,” Jermey says.
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