In its News Consumption in the UK report last year, Ofcom revealed that Sky News had overtaken the BBC News channel in terms of viewers - which was a particularly salient thought as a couple of colleagues and I headed to Sky News earlier this month for an exclusive newsroom tour.
It was a fantastic chance to see what goes on behind the scenes at Sky News - as you can see from my photos above and below - which is part of the sprawling Sky HQ on the far side of west London.
Of course, from the iconic BBC radio pips to the satellite era and 24/7 rolling news channels, trusted broadcast news reporting combined with quality production and analysis has long been a cornerstone of the UK media industry - and TV remains consistently the most common platform for news consumption among adults in the UK, with 75 per cent citing it their primary source (Ofcom 2014).
And while TV news channels must fill 24-hours of airtime with content, selectivity is of course really important when producing trusted broadcast news; you only have to look at Fox News in the US and their recent apology for a report on Birmingham (in the UK) - which made wild accusations about the Second City’s religious demographics - to understand why making sure stories are accurate, relevant AND interesting is crucial to maintaining viewer satisfaction and respect.
One thing I found fascinating was how Sky News monitors all other live news broadcast channels from its central control room - so breaking news is never more than few seconds from airtime. Fewer people will be aware however that, much like the BBC’s multichannel TV and radio offering, Sky has long since been integrated with a national radio service. As such, securing interest for a story with Sky News’ planning desk often leads to radio syndication too. A double win!
With our new digital era bringing journalism to the fingertips of the masses and their social media accounts, so news channels like Sky are now also increasingly well integrated with social media. Their ability to combine well-researched news analysis with on-the-ground eyewitness updates, comments and opinions is proving crucial to sustaining the popularity of broadcast media - and will ensure TV news remains relevant and engaging to the new digital generations.