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TV must turn audiences into communities, says Yomego boss


By The Drum Team, Editorial

October 8, 2009 | 3 min read

News that online ad spend is now bigger than TV is not the death knell for traditional broadcasting as many have suggested: it is an opportunity that TV should seize, says social media agency Yomego.

According to Yomego managing director, Steve Richards (pictured), TV that embraces social media, rather than rails against it, is capable of converting its audiences into highly successful ‘social’ communities.

Setting out the critical issues that face the TV industry in a new report, TV: End of the industry Or just the end of a business mode? he says that sharp revenue declines from advertising have been in stark contrast with viewing figures, proving that content is still king.

“Standard and Poor recently estimated ITV’s 2009 spot ad revenue would shrink by nearly 15% compared to 2008. Yet is reportedly doing OK. In another example, CBS attributed a 200,000 increase in viewers in one month to the strategic placement of sample content on YouTube. The BBC is even redesigning its websites to increase their social media content.

“Falling ad revenues because of the recession are merely a symptom, not the underlying cause, of TV’s current challenges. The experience is that TV has the content people want but it must change its business model to incorporate the new platforms, before these new platforms replace TV altogether.”

Yomego has created online communities for clients including Irish telecom giant eircom, MTV and MNet.

Steve Richards believes that the opportunity for TV producers is to build their own social communities around their content: “Content has an intrinsic value and views will subscribe to watch it, just as advertisers will pay to be associated with it.

“Subscription models using Facebook apps are a potential money-spinner for content owners. Users don’t want to pay multiple subscriptions to access content, so multi-layered content for niche audiences just needs to find the right home. And social media channels have a rather large ‘welcome’ mat.

“The work we have done with eircom and www.soccerrepublic.ire is a case in point. eircom has built a receptive and positive community around its sponsorship of the Irish national football team, attracting the team’s supporters using engaging and exclusive content and creating a dedicated interactive platform that puts the fans firmly in the driving seat.”

The Yomego report goes on to point out that currently an average of 20 hours of video is uploaded every minute; facebook has 300m users and 96% of generation Y – the digital generation that will outnumber the baby boomers by 2010 – have joined a social network.

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