‘You can’t see beyond the choices you haven’t made,” said the Oracle in The Matrix Trilogy. This is what our nation was grappling with as we painstakingly waited for the announcement of the General Election results.
As we did so, we were inseparably glued to every broadcasting and connected device in our vicinity. The winner in all this, apart from the triumphant candidates, were TV stations because this was possibly the highest ever combined viewership ratings achieved in our history. So what do you do, as a media owner, when an opportunity like this presents itself?
You’ve got to make it count. For three or more days you have a captive audience like never before. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission set the election date way back on December 10, 2015, giving you ample time to put in place a plan to ensure that this captive audience chooses your channel over and above the rest.
First, you’ve got to give them what they’ve come for — the elections coverage. They want instant news and updates, in-depth analysis and clever commentary.
Before the elections where Tony Blair emerged Prime Minister of the UK, Channel 4 TV spent months planning their coverage broadcast with investments in new studios and pioneering high-tech space design that has become commonplace on our screens today.
Not only did they push the envelope with regards to the comprehensive elections reporting but they ensured that the scheduled segments would have top analysts and newsmakers that people wanted to listen to, and were thus able to grow their share of eyeballs during that time.
Secondly, you want to use this event to retain viewers who switch from your competitors to watch your broadcasts.
Channel 4 used the opportunity to refresh their brand and reposition it as modern and trendy, with the ability to connect with a new generation of viewers.
They introduced a new logo and station livery, with differentiated studio formats and a distinctive programming schedule that had been well researched in order to satisfy a wider audience.
With enough time you can try out different studio sets and test them through various camera views in order to perfect the final effect.
Run through the various visual technology and train the studio anchors for a seamless and orchestrated drama as they patch in field reporters across the country and update election maps on the high-tech screens.
As you unveil history minute by minute, think of the words of Victor Hugo: “The ode lives upon the ideal, the epic upon the grandiose, the drama upon the real.”