We tested our proposals, and the need for Local TV in the Peterborough and Fenlands conurbation, via primary research taken at the concept launch of Hereward Television at the Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival in August 2015.
This is the biggest outdoor CAMRA real ale festival in the UK, and is the second largest beer festival in the UK of any type behind the Great British Beer Festival, held at Olympia, London. Peterborough's is a five-day event situated on the Embankment in three very large marquees, which always takes place in the run up to, and across, the August Bank Holiday weekend. It attracts between 30,000 and 40,000 visitors per year.
Highlights of interviews we carried out in person there are available on a DVD compilation. In summary, we found that the majority of those interviewed were unaware of the existence of Local TV services in the UK. When informed what these services were intended to provide in terms of programme content, and the number of such licences for broadcast around the UK already issued, it was unanimous that people wanted Peterborough to have its own station. It was also encouraging that people noted they would tune in to a TV schedule which had programmes with a local angle, and were produced in their region.
In terms of the basis being voluntary, people understood the strategy being necessary to make a Local TV service sustainable. They were also clear, from media coverage of the ITV local programming reductions, that it was essential to have such a basis to ensure the viability of the service in the long term.
As part of this launch week, Hereward Television was broadcast online live via YouTube. From a basis of no pre-publicity, viewing figures escalated dramatically during the week.
The Research Figures in Full
Market research was carried out at the Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival during August 2015. A DVD is available of the highlights of some of these interviews, which demonstrates that we are correct in our assertion that not only are a high percentage of the target audience unaware of Local TV across the UK, but also that they see a genuine need for locally produced and focused programmes to be available to them on the small screen in their living rooms. The revelation that a service for them could be based in Peterborough was met with unanimous support and approval, especially in the potential of being beneficiaries of our training.
The launch of Hereward Television at the Festival also allowed us to test the take-up of a new service from a standing start, with little pre-publicity. The figures below, which can assumed to be via word of mouth over the Tuesday to the Saturday of the event, demonstrate that this will definitely be a service which people will use, once they find out about it.
Total of 3,124 viewers
Total minutes viewed: 25,261
- Day 1 = 300 viewers
- Day 2 = 475 viewers
- Day 3 = 650 viewers
- Day 4 = 775 viewers
- Day 5 = 900 viewers
AUDIENCE: 85% male, 15% female. Locations - UK, USA, Canada, Italy, Spain
VIEWING: 71% via YouTube, 29% via www.hereward.tv
45% came directly, 14% via YouTube search, 29% via other means (e.g, Smart TV).
Our Discovery Evenings around the region have allowed us to further refine our proposition, taking into account the views and opinions of those who have attended.
These have reinforced the fact that little is known about Local TV and its potential, but there continues to be unanimous support and interest it what can be made possible by it, especially in terms of the benefits which can be derived from our courses of training.
Products and Customers
Our 'customers' are our beneficiaries, and ancillary to these are our audiences and our advertisers and donors.
Our beneficiaries will seek an environment where they can learn new skills, transferable to other professions and careers, network their creative energies with others who have similar interests, share different cultural knowledge and approaches, feel included in their community, and have a channel for their views and opinions. Their programmes are our ancillary products, devised from their training. We want all our beneficiaries to have pride in being part of Hereward Television, while addressing concerns revolving around social inclusion, disenfranchisement and detachment from society.
Volunteering for Hereward Television is open to all, but we will be targeting in particular the under-25s and the over-50s, in particular those who can make best advantage of the training we have on offer - the long-term unemployed, those who want to build up their confidence and social skills sets, and those looking to change or enhance their future career opportunities.
How to find our beneficiaries and attract them to the training will come from working with the Job Centre, local charities and organisations, in order to highlight to them what we have available for those on their radar, and how it can be of enormous benefit to them in terms of improving their employment prospects and their quality of life.
Our target community of beneficiaries has Peterborough at its centre, with a population of 186,500 (2011 Census), with 137,910 of these living within urban areas. (www.opportunitypeterborough.co.uk/download/economic-snapshot-of-peterborough-october-2013/).
Social inclusion means enabling people or communities to fully participate in society, for the public benefit. Peterborough has been classified as the 71st most deprived local authority area in the country (IMD, 2010), with high levels of deprivation within its borders, and amongst certain sectors of the population. 38% of the citizens, compared to 15% nationally, live in areas that fall within the 20% most deprived nationally. Taking into account combined IMD scores, Central Ward, East Ward and Paston Ward are in the worst 10%, while Dogsthorpe Ward and Bretton Ward are in the worst 20%. This is why a central location for our community media centre is important, so it is easy to reach for these potential beneficiaries.
31% of the population aged 16 and over have no qualifications, and 13.9% are over the age of 65, hence our focus on the 16-25 and 50+ age groups. 13% of the population are from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic or Refugees groups, which is another subset of beneficiary we are looking to serve. To engage with people who are facing deprivation in one form or another - through living in a deprived area, claiming out-of-work benefits, sickness or disability benefits, state pensions, or from a BME, migrant or refugee community - sees social inclusion at our heart.
We wish to improve feelings of self-worth and self-confidence, in particular helping those who have been isolated from, or who are out of touch with, society to re-integrate and participate in their surroundings, such as those who have completed a long period of service in the armed forces, or have spent a long time in prison, and are finding it hard to re-adjust to life outside those institutions.
However, whilst our focus will be on being beneficial to people from these demographics, we will be welcoming to anyone living or studying in our footprint, which also includes neighbouring conurbations such as Spalding, Bourne, and Holbeach in the north of our region, through Market Deeping, Crowland, Whittlesey, March, Yaxley, and down to Alconbury, Ramsey and Chatteris in the south. Some parts of Stamford, Oundle, Long Sutton and Wittering will also be covered. This gives us a catchment area which we calculate to be in the region of 342,900 citizens. We will, however, not exclude anyone on the basis of their geographical location.
Through the training provided, we will also be enabling local agencies, voluntary and community groups and faith organisations to distribute information and advice in an accessible, friendly way - especially to audiences which are found to be difficult to reach by other means; for instance, written materials for those with English as a second language will be not so easily understood when compared to a broadcast by, to and for these communities.
With us providing programme-making services for small communities of interest - for example Black, Asian, Migrant, Ethnic and Refugee communities, LGBT communities, the disabled community - which are not present on other channels, we go against the traditional model of television, and indeed Local TV, by not being governed by ratings. If there is a niche audience, however small, and the volunteers to make it happen, then their programme format will be broadcast. All of these can be considered as regeneration activities to change and improve the social and economic circumstances of our community.
Our audiences will be receiving information on their region and its myriad of interests, presenting opportunities for them to get involved and also express their opinions. Our ancillary products from our training courses, our programmes, are there to be viewed and interacted with. Good citizenship will be encouraged, as they will be able to get involved with our live broadcasts, and be rewarded with 'water cooler' moments which they can share at their workplaces. This will lead to community bonding, and a pride in our region.
Our advertisers/donors will want to see a return on their investment in airtime and exposure via our products - our television programmes and their advertising slots. They will want to benefit from increased sales and/or take-up of their products and propositions. If properly executed, marketing metrics embedded within the outputs will demonstrate the level of success which has been achieved via Hereward Television, making renewal decisions an informed task.
We will work with these supporters to ensure a mutually beneficial success, and a 'feel good' factor for being a donor. Other than the preference criteria listed above, there will be no restriction in terms of demographics within any of our three target groups of 'customers'.