Media Ethics, Insights, Inspiration.01: From Broadcast to Content Marketing:



Digital Technology and the New Audience.

Welcome to the first instalment of my new blog series. This series is very loosely based on my Masters on Digital Media Ethics and Social Change. These blogs are likely to be infrequent however I promise they will be interesting! This first instalment will give an insight into how traditional broadcast media has changed with the adoption of new media technologies and how it has been replaced by media that converges across multiple platforms and has changed the power position of the audience.

Since the advent of smartphones, social networking and the whole host of digital technologies that have informed how we communicate, the way businesses marketing has changed. Have you considered how this changes the role of your business audience?

Consumers and Broadcast Marketing


Have a think about traditional mass-media marketing. Newspapers, Radio and television advertising were the tools of marketers, broadcasting content direct to audiences. In this scenario, audiences are passive, scheduled advertising during prime-time programme breaks, advertising spots on the radio or paid adverts circulated through newspaper distribution. Communication between audience and marketeer is non-existent in this scenario. Marketeers would pay for premium prime time advertising or spend money on guaranteed newspaper circulation.

In this traditional format, marketeers have a considerable amount of control, with a captive audience they can predict how many ‘bums on seats’ as well as easily monitor viewing behaviour.

The Audience Takes Control

Something significant has changed in the way the audience now interacts within these traditional forms of advertising. Shifts in media technology have empowered the consumer, for example they now have control over the flow of media into their home, advertising slots between primetime television viewing slots now have little meaning. Consumers can now actively engage with marketeers through social media channels and copy, share, edit and repurpose media in ways that are not always the intention of the marketeer. The audience has become an active participant in the production of media and has disrupted the one-way ‘top-down’ flow of information. There has also been an increase in the media options available to consumers, from a very small selection of television channels, we now have a cable network with hundreds of specialised channels with the opportunity to skip advertisements and we have new forms of home entertainment including the Internet, YouTube and on-demand streaming services like Netflix. With such variety, marketeers can no longer guarantee the same customer loyalty.

A Marketing Rethink

Let us consider how marketeers have addressed this fundamental change in the media landscape. Understanding this will help inform how you market and engage your prospective and current clients. If audiences are no longer passive, sitting on sofas waiting to be fed your marketing content, how do marketeers get your attention?

Marketeers have realised that the answer lies in encouraging consumers into a long-term relationship with media and they do this by giving them tools to actively engage and participate. They also realise an emotional investment is the best way to engage. Consumers no longer simply watch and absorb media, they share with one another, discuss in online groups, they parody and repurpose media. Tapping into this new active audience using new methods is now central to marketing strategy.

Emotional and Active Investment

The format of Pop Idol gives you an insight into how marketeers are engaging these new audiences. Pop Idol is one of many cross-media franchises, the audience watching the show are shaped into making purchases at every stage of their journey, viewers become emotionally engaged in voting, they discuss outcomes on social media, clips of performances proliferate on YouTube, the winner of pop-idol has hit singles with top-selling albums with an already invested audience, the contestants also perform to sold-out concert tours and there are follow on feature-length movies.

Advertisers now approach marketing strategy in a similar way, communicating across multiple platforms, encouraging interaction and emotional investment with their brand building a consumer ‘relationship’ with their business.

How does this translate?

Small businesses do not have the same access to mass audiences as the investors in television production, neither do they have the time or funds to create complex multi-media campaigns across every platform, however the same principles still apply. Audiences are now active and not passive consumers of media and emotional investment will increase consumer loyalty.

Create good quality content marketing across the right social media channels for your audience. Encourage active participation in your brand. Utilise different formats to connect with your consumers at different points in their buyer journey, blog writing, podcasts, video media, insights, tips, competitions, social events. These contribute to put your brand repeatedly in front of your customers. Encourage engagement and interaction and actively build lasting relationships.

I hope you found that interesting. If you need engaging and relevant media production to support your marketing strategy get in touch:

Get in touch with Firetree Here. – Business Media Production

Thanks for reading. If you enjoy our blogs please feedback and we always welcome guest contributors with expertise in communication.


Sources and further reading:

All images Licensed Adobe Stock.

Convergence Culture – Henry Jenkins, 2006

Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture, Henry Jenkins, 2013