This weekend marks World Television Day, an event created by the UN to recognize the role of TV in informing and shaping public opinion. According to the UN: “World Television Day is not so much a celebration of the tool, but rather the philosophy which it represents. Television represents a symbol for communication and globalization in the contemporary world.” Access to TV, in all its various screen shapes and sizes, continues to rise. It plays a critical role in getting news and information to audiences all over the world.
It’s hard to overstate how much we’ve all depended on TV this year; its ability to inform and entertain has been more important than ever. In week one of the UK’s lockdown, eight in ten (82%) people relied on BBC services for news and information (according to Ofcom), putting it well ahead of social media and other sources.
It isn’t just the BBC that is held in high regard. Over eight in ten (83%) people in the UK rated ITV and Channel 4, alongside the BBC, as trusted sources of news and information. This represents a massive vote of confidence in TV in an era when the threat of fake news casts a shadow on so much of the information we receive.
Television plays a vital role in keeping the world entertained too. There’s never been a better time to enjoy drama, comedy, documentaries and movies on screen. The industry has also continued to innovate and look to the future. Disney+ recently revealed it has hit 73.7m subscribers, extraordinary growth considering it is barely a year old. The direct-to-consumer TV service has become a critical part of Disney’s overall strategy, so much so that a major reorganization of its business has centered on its streaming service.
Then there are sports. Broadcasters, producers, leagues and teams have moved heaven and earth to re-start many live sports. Matches were met by eager fans who are still looking forward to getting into stadiums again in person. According to Conviva, NFL viewers spent 41% more time streaming in Q3 compared to the same period last year. The same report also found that overall viewing time across all content types soared by 57% worldwide over the summer – increasing even while lockdowns eased in many countries.
At a time of unprecedented disruption, TV has remained a constant go-to for billions of people. As it continues to inform, educate and entertain, I wonder, what on earth would we have done in 2020 without it?