When the world’s first regular television service was launched by the BBC in 1936, it ran for just two hours a day and was watched by a tiny audience in London and the Home Counties. Today, 500 hours of video are uploaded every minute to YouTube alone.1
It’s a testament to the phenomenal change we’ve seen in the way media is created and consumed. And right now, that pace of change is arguably greater than at any time since that first broadcast.
Meanwhile, movements such as Pride, #MeToo, and Black Lives Matter have brought questions of representation, equality, and identity to the forefront of national and international conversations.
At Google, we wanted to understand how people’s identity informs what they love to watch, and what that means for the U.K. media industry. These questions formed the basis of extensive new Google and MTM research, spanning interviews with leading advertisers, consultations with experts, cultural analysis, and survey results from more than 10,000 people from all corners of the U.K.
The report explores:
- The role identity plays in people’s media choices. Audiences value media services with content that mirrors their lives and provides a window into the lives of others. Viewers want to see their identities, passions, and values reflected in the content they watch and are increasingly aware of their power to call out media outlets that fall short. In our survey, 76% of respondents said that YouTube is a place where they can dig deep into their interests and passions.2
- How U.K. media and advertising industries focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and why media matters. A great deal has been written about the importance of ensuring that content (including advertising creative) is representative of its audience, both in front of and behind the camera. There is still considerable work to be done here. Less than half of people in the U.K. report feeling proud, represented, noticed, understood, or included in the media content they watch.3 The report explores why media, and not just creative choices are also vitally important.
- The role open platforms play in supporting the creation and distribution of representative and inclusive content for audiences. By lowering barriers to entry for creative talent in the U.K., YouTube and other open platforms empower more diverse creative talent. This ensures audiences across the U.K. can find personally relevant and relatable content. In our survey, 74% of YouTube users said the platform supports a diverse range of people to become content creators.4
The research reveals a highly complex media ecosystem in the U.K. One where passionate audiences are seeking out content from increasingly diverse creators that speak to the many facets of identity across the country.
The sheer complexity presents a challenge for marketers, but it may also be one of its greatest strengths. One theme stands out in our research: brands that champion and exhibit true diversity can form deep and valuable connections with audiences. That’s an opportunity modern marketers cannot afford to miss.
Download the Mirrors & Windows report to discover more about identity and media choices in modern Britain and the opportunities for brands.