Friday, January 27, 2012

But change you must

Andy Parfitt (formerly head of BBC 1, now Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon, executive director of talent EMEA) starts by looking back to the times when radio feature making basically meant cutting audio tapes. Sitting there with all the material, the core of the editing process was exactly the same as it is today: to bring clarity and simplicity to the stories to be told.

"Public broadcasters tend to be afraid of young audiences. They fear not to understand them", Parfitt says. Yet, catching young audiences are the true challenge. How bridge the gap? "Brand thinking is very relevant to feature making in the Facebook age", Parfitt says. A brand is a promise, an experience, and a memory. So if a radio station thinks about using other ways of distribution such as the web or social media, brand values become even more important. Parfitt's lessons learnt:
  • Consistent values and content
  • Success makes change hard, but change you must.
  • Producers are very often very unlike audiences.
  • Radio people mostly have humility. Which is wrong.
  • Whatever you do, make it more than broadcasting - make it as much as it can credibly be. "BBC Radio 1", Parfitt says, "is an idea, an idea about youth, about music - and everything done on air, on the web, on mobiles, is congruent."

Parfitt's "new creative agenda": event-driven participation and playfulness. The world has changed:
  • Young radio listening hours (audiences younger than 35) in the UK are in decline.
  • Mobile web on hi-definition screens sees exponential growth.
  • Social Networks in the UK increase bei 400% in 4 years.
  • Try asking for a radio in a Tokyo electronic store...
  • Public radio continue continue to commission thousands of audio features.
  • There's more "listening" than ever.
  • Speech radio audiences commute by car (journeys are getting longer).
  • Apple has sold its one-hundred millionth iPod in 2007.

There are only 13 years between the first Netscape browser and the iPhone 4 - an industrial revolution beyond imagination. Today, Parfitt concludes, the opportunities for innovation are plenty.

No comments:

Post a Comment