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Social Media & Broadcast – Friends, Foes or Frenemies?

Our MD, Laura, and Talent Manager, Aimée, attended an insightful event hosted by the Royal Television Society called; Have the Social Platforms Pivoted from Frenemies to Audience and Revenue Growth Vehicles?

This was a fascinating panel discussion exploring how the relationship between social platforms and broadcasters have evolved over the last few years. Whilst at one time, they were viewed as entirely separate entities, they now co-exist in this kind of push and pull relationship. So much of their existence can depend on one another, and it’s becoming glaringly obvious that getting social platforms on board with productions can be hugely beneficial to the success of their content and size of their audience.

The panelists included Matt Risley, the MD of 4Studio at Channel 4, Lucy Luke the Head of UK Partnerships for Snap Inc, James Loveridge the Director of Entertainment for Little Dot Studios and Neil Price the Head of TV and Film for YouTube, and the panel was chaired by Kate Bulkley the Media Commentator and Journalist.

The discussion was a fantastic insight into how Broadcasters’ view of social platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Snap and TikTok has matured. Once considered the enemy, broadcasters and productions companies are now embracing social platforms as a promotional friend as well as a viewing platform to reach new audiences. They discussed how Broadcasters are now focused on using social platforms in a two way street, collaborating with tech companies such as Snap and TikTok, both to market linear and digital content in addition to creating bespoke content to reach new audiences and leverage commercial opportunity. Social platforms are incredibly complicated, and all the panellists expressed how they feel someone in marketing should be in the room at the point of commissioning to represent the digital space and how it will translate over into this platform.

There were a couple of fascinating examples of how socials have made a success of original broadcast content – the E4 show, Tattoo Fixers moved away from broadcast to Snapchat and the audience is now huge, it has been more successful in this realm, than it was on TV. YouTube explained how many young audience members are huge fans of ITV’s This Morning, particularly drawn in by Phil & Holly, but have never actually watched it on live TV, James from Little Dot even joked that a friends daughter, upon seeing Phil & Holly pop up on TV, recognised them as being “from TikTok!”. Matt Risley from Channel 4 expressed how they made no money through social media until last year, where they made £14 million by working with socials to help widen their content to more audiences that prefer to watch the bitesize, more condensed versions of their shows.

The panelists discussed how collaborating with socials can maximise their opportunity for revenue, and working with companies such as Snap and YouTube will allow them to explore the language of algorithm and the language of the audiences. They can give a macro view of what is happening, and who is engaging with their content which helps them create future successful shows. The idea is to embrace socials, but not at the cost of long form content.

It seems that social platforms and broadcasters relationship is ever-evolving, they are using their ‘gaps’ to help each other. What broadcasters make up for in creating content, socials make up for in making it even more digestible for the younger audience. With 90% of 13 – 17 year olds signed up to TikTok, it seems a no brainer for broadcasters to get on board with creating friendships and collaborations with socials. What is clear is that people still want to watch great, entertaining and insightful content, no matter the platform, and that doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.

Matt Risley is the MD of 4Studio, Channel 4’s in-house digital agency responsible for the broadcaster’s social strategy at a channel, show and platform level, as well as production of hundreds of pieces of digital content every month for social and digital platforms. The department is at the heart of the channel’s Future4 strategy to reach and engage young UK audiences, and grow new revenue streams through social platform partnerships and innovative social-first branded content solutions.

Lucy Luke joined Snap in January 2022 as Head of UK Partnerships. She is responsible for managing content partners and leading Snapchat’s content programming in the UK. Her experience and passion is in video and emerging content formats. Lucy is experienced in managing partner relationships to build business, audiences and drive innovation. She has also led strategic direction and managed video monetisation for broadcasters and creators across the EMEA region.

James Luke has worked at the forefront of social video in the Entertainment industry for over a decade, specialising in AVOD strategy on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok for premium TV broadcasters and studios like NBCUniversal, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sony Pictures TV, Discovery. Running a department of over 100 editors and social video specialists, he oversees the management of titles like Gordon Ramsay, The Graham Norton Show, The Office, Parks & Rec, The Jonathan Ross Show, Shark Tank and many, many more*. 

*Source: Royal Television Society (