More evidence for the resilience of traditional communications channels last week, with a report from television marketing body Thinkbox identifying continued audience growth. UK viewers couched down for an average of four hours and three minutes a day of TV watching in the six months to the end of June.
While that’s an annual increase of just 51 seconds a day, it’s still an increase that comes six months after Thinkbox itself had called the ceiling. And while an earlier Cision blog post looked at one reason social media reinforces rather than undermines real-time TV consumption – the rise of the meta-commentator, last week highlighted again in the much-tweeted riots – the Thinkbox report finds another: people’s desire to “avoid online spoilers”.
So what about that other bastion of top-down, one-to-many communications, radio? According to this month’s RAJAR figures that audience is increasing too, with a whopping 91.7% of UK population tuning in every week. No doubt there’s a meta-commentary impetus here too – but what’s interesting is how important meta-commentary is becoming to the commentators.
One of the more intriguing findings of our 2011 UK social journalism survey was the apparent importance of social media platforms among broadcast journalists. As shown by the graph below, radio journalists used Twitter more than any other kind of journalist – including even social media journalists.
Anyone who’s listened to talk radio, or endured inter-song chat on music-led stations, will know why. Certainly live radio has has been propped up by phone-ins and texts for quite a while, but the extent to which airtime is taken up with audience tweets has taken on-air UGC to a whole new level.
The Buggles might not have had it quite right, but DJs should still beware.