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Connecting with young audiences – what works?

25 November 2020
Connecting with young audiences – what works?

There is a general perception that public service media (PSM) are not connecting with young  adults and that our traditional brands, by definition, represent what  young people are fleeing. 

Granted, many PSM organizations are struggling to remain relevant for young adults, yet a significant number of brands and  programmes launched by EBU Members have  connected with this age group. 

In fact, highly aware of how young people consume media, EBU Members make available a total of 185 unique dedicated youth services to reach Gen Z through a variety of channels, including linear TV and radio services, linear online streams and stand-alone online brands.

The problem is not that young people are not interested in our brands or remit. On the contrary, in our new report – Youth - What Works? – it’s clear that PSM values often overlap with theirs.  We feature 60 success stories from 23 Member organizations and, during our interviews with PSM Youth executives, we learned that, when PSM organizations show  a genuine interest in  understanding this age group, adopt the right mindset and allocate the necessary resources, they succeed in  connecting – even though that sometimes means stepping out of comfort zones and taking risks.  

So, what works for youth? 

Here are some of our strategic recommendations to successfully connect with young adults:

  • Know your young audiences well
  • Let young people produce content for young people
  • Take a user-centred approach
  • Be as real and authentic as if you were mirroring their own life
  • Develop content that contributes to a better world and society
  • Foster dialogues and build communities
  • Encourage young people to share your content
  • Don’t sell! Marketing needs to feel organic
  • PSM and young people share several common values – that’s an opportunity

Through our report we aim to inspire our Members as well as fostering collaboration between peers and encouraging young people to access PSM content. We do this by identifying those ideas that can be replicated elsewhere. Please be bold and set aside your assumptions about  the limited relevance of PSM for this age group. 

Ambition – when accompanied by action – can go a long way.  

Relevant links and documents

Written by

Madiana Asseraf-Jacob

Head of Corporate Development and Strategic Initiatives

Relevant Links