TV remains as vital as ever for news consumption

By Paul Davies

Ofcom’s latest news consumption report shows that TV remains the most-used platform for news (according to 79% of respondents). Almost two-thirds of younger people (61%) still rely on TV for news, demonstrating that TV remains as vital as ever.

It’s incredible to think that, in this fast-paced period of connectivity and technological change, live TV has remained a constant in our lives for almost 100 years. It has adapted extremely well to every phase of innovation and news has been a central part of that. Technology advances have meant that viewers get to witness the latest news on the ground as it breaks, wherever it occurs.

Some may have predicted that internet-based platforms like social media would pose a threat to live television. But the opposite is true – they actually complement each other extremely well. Just look at how news of the murder of George Floyd spread last year. The story broke after a video shot on a smartphone appeared on social media. This was picked up by news stations everywhere and broadcast to the world, sparking global protests.

It’s not just the contribution of user-generated content that is driving TV news forward. Thanks to the latest cloud technologies, reporters on the ground can get their stories to viewers faster than ever. Meanwhile, cloud-based asset management and online editing tools have really come into their own over the past year or so, while many news operations teams have been working from home.

TV is bringing viewers closer to the news, and quicker, than ever before. It’s great to see live TV in such a healthy state.

Here’s one final takeaway from the Ofcom report that caught my eye: BBC One came out on top (19%) as the news source that is most important to audiences in the UK. With Broadcasting House based a stone’s throw from Platform’s new offices, it’s nice to be so close to the heart of news broadcasting.