Fact-finding – Inspiring the UK production industry to develop the next generation of factual TV programmes
This study revolutionised how Channel 4 thinks about, commissions and markets factual and current affairs programming for 16-34s. It has directly impacted investment decisions worth £10 million over three years, part of a strategy to double audiences to All4 by 2025 and safeguard the broadcaster’s commercial future. Commissioning briefs to the UK production industry, asking for content ideas that are now in production, were inspired by Craft’s insights. Programmes will shortly see the light of day on All4. The study delivered strategic recommendations on who to target, with what kinds of content and, crucially, the specific production points that make the content appealing. Marketing and product teams benefited, too – a new brand has been created in response to the insights, its targeting, name and values all emanating from the research. Craft suggested cost-effective changes to the organisation of the All4 UI – saving the time, expense and risk inherent in creating new brands by better categorising, signalling and signposting FCA content.
“This comprehensive, wholly actionable study changed everything when it comes to our strategy for reaching young viewers with factual and current affairs content. It fundamentally changed our understanding of young people, directly informing editorial and marketing strategies for attracting this increasingly hard-to-reach audience. The study has been our North Star in launching a new online-first strand speaking directly to 16-24s. The research directly informed its naming, what it should stand for, its traits and sensibilities. We have since commissioned several programmes as a direct result of the research, the first batch of new titles for All4.
The findings acted as a wake-up call to our marketing and All4 teams, laying out how we should better market and position content. Work is underway to ensure that our young-skewing factual content is easier to find, positioned in appealing and easy-to-understand categories, and is badged using more considered titles and imagery – Craft stressed that these were as important as the content itself.”
David Benabo, Senior Content Research Manager
Konrad’s thoughts on winning this Award
In winning the ICG/MRS award for Independent Consultants, I’m delighted to have been recognised by my peers. The study Craft put forward was conducted in collaboration with Channel 4, diagnosing the reasons behind the lower levels of engagement with factual and current affairs content shown by 16-34 year-olds, and proposing a set of solutions for Channel 4 to reconnect young audiences with such programming. Knowing some of those I was up against well, and hugely respecting their work, makes it all the more special to have been selected. This kind of validation is especially important when one works as an independent without a ready-made set of colleagues to tell you that you are doing well. It means a lot.
The ICG has some of the most talented and experienced researchers in our industry and we are delighted to have them recognised in the MRS’s awards process. The MRS/ICG Award for Independent Consultants, now in its seventh year, is designed to recognise the contribution of researchers who choose to work as micro-businesses rather than in a larger agency environment.