NEWS published on 25 Jan 2016

SkillsXchange Workshop explores engaging young talent to foster creativity and secure PSM

What can broadcasters do to make sure that our brightest talents are happy to work with us? What values motivate them and how can we make sure that we efficiently exchange ideas with them? Just some of the questions posed at the first EBU SkillsXchange Workshop held at Google’s Brussels headquarters on Friday 22 January.

Welcoming the 50 delegates from 20 EBU Members the EBU’s Senior Online Development Manager Madiana Asseraf explained how the SkillsXchange came about: “We wanted to get on board young professionals – engage with them in house to exchange skills and ideas. This is our first workshop to work on solutions to create a better future for public service media.”

Delegates were then shown a video message from EBU Media Director Jean Philip De Tender who told the audience: “Today is a great opportunity - you are in an exchange and having this exchange is a great opportunity for millennials to meet leaders in PSM – go home and share what you have learnt today.”

The first keynote of the workshop saw EBU Executive Board Member and Director General of Sveriges Radio (SR) Cilla Benko explain how Swedish radio has decided that “our mission was to get our content to the audience,” and explained the initiatives they’ve employed to do so.

“We have audience networks around the country. We invite listeners in to decide what stories we cover. We now have 15,000 people engaging in this.”

Showing the audience a video incorporating animation and graphics, Cilla Benko highlighted how SR is explaining the Syrian conflict to young audiences.

“When we posted it, it was shared 700,000 times – this is a way of being a public service media of the future – it’s important to guide people who would normally not come to us,” she said.

“We have created innovation teams to develop new offerings not just for young audiences but also for those over 60. We test new concepts, offers and formats for a mobile audience. For example we’re working with taxi drivers to develop “car view”, and looking at “personalization” such as P3 radio. This is a mobile app for 17 to 19 year olds. We worked with people in this age group for over a year to develop 3 different radio streams – you can love bomb your friend with songs – swipe songs you like and dislike. This is just one way you can interact with audience to create something new.”

In a group exercise delegates were lined up according to their age and asked to step left or right to indicate their social media and media consumption habits. It showed that the majority of delegates still watch linear television and most have a Twitter account. 90 percent listen to radio at least once a week. When asked if they had watched a YouTube video in the last 48 hours – 95 percent had.

Later the young professionals and managers were set a task to work in teams on strategies on how can PSM become more millennial friendly and what millennials themselves can do to reinforce PSM’s relevance. Some of the projects suggested included ‘Instacrime’ a user-generated series based on Instagram pictures that the audience can continue by adding their own pictures; A platform for refugees and immigrants to find out more about each other; My Channel which allows viewers to personalise their own TV and EBUTUBE – a platform that offers content made by millennials for millennials.

Ezra Eeman, from Flemish Belgian Member VRT explained how OpenVRT, a community for digital creatives, worked: “We felt it was necessary to have a bigger talent pool of millennials, to develop new channels to share their work so we developed a platform to show off their work and to facilitate networking with other members of the community and VRT staff.”

He added “We stand for innovation, digital and creative talent and sharing of knowledge. We use different tools and collaborate with outside organisations to empower the wider community.”

Stephen Nuttall, Senior Director of YouTube EMEA told the workshop that 30 EBU broadcasters are running channels on Youtube which is an “exciting place for storytelling.”

He went on to use BBC Radio 1 as an example of a successful  YouTube/PSM pairing:  “They have 4 million subscribers on YouTube – they get extra reach and repurpose content for the channel. They are excellent at bringing those artists who start out on Youtube to the mainstream. Sam Smith, for example, put his first video on our platform.

“Digital video is immersive,” Nuttall continued. “You can do more storytelling with digital than other media. Think how to use digital to grow your linear broadcasts. In the TV world normally the first episode is the most watched and then viewers decline.  On YouTube nothing starts fast – it takes time to build an audience online. The first 10 thousand subscribers are the hardest to get.”

Young multimedia journalists from 4 EBU Members also  shared their experience of the first SkillsXchange at the Prix Italia in September 2015. “We did something totally different – something new – meeting up with people from around Europe was invaluable. You realise you are part of a bigger picture and bigger organisation. It connected us together and fostered creativity after the event.”