Digital events

Bringing recognisable TV formats to our video comms

By Dan Rowson – Video Production Manager

The night before I started at Macmillan I met with a TV director friend for dinner. We got chatting about work and after I explained to him my new role at Macmillan he said “…but isn’t that corporate film making?”. The insinuation being that corporate film has an agenda (and a stigma) attached to it. Watch Eastenders and they tell you a story, the motivation is to entertain, watch a corporate film and the agenda is generally to sell you something.

Of course Macmillan is different, we don’t solely create videos to sell products or services, we tell compelling stories told by real people but are we missing an opportunity to embrace our access to this content and tell it in a more compelling way?

A major challenge for me since starting at Macmillan (and spurred on by that conversation) is to bring more creativity to our video content, and specifically how do we integrate recognisable TV formats into our thinking. Think about what you watched on TV last night? Reality TV? Chat Shows? Adverts? Awards Shows? News Bulletins? Then think about how each of those shows could be used to meet the objectives of a Macmillan project.

With this in mind we decided to investigate the concept of a Macmillan branded News Bulletin. We knew that 2015 would see some big campaigns and news stories being launched; at the time the PR Team were working on the press release for the 2.5M figure and there was the ever increasing buzz around our general election campaign. With this in mind we approached ITN Productions with our idea.

ITN specialise in producing up to the minute fast turnaround news content – drawing on their pool of video journalists and their archive of over 40,000,000 hours of royalty free video content. Their portfolio includes Dispatches, Channel 4 News and The Agenda on Channel 5. We would be their first charity client to try and produce a news bulletin of this nature.

Our first meeting highlighted a number of issues to be discussed:

-      What would a Macmillan News Bulletin look like?

-      Would it be presenter led or voiceover with visuals?

-      How long should it be?

-      What would it be called?

-      If it’s archive footage, where else might the content have appeared?

-      Who would be our target audience?

-      What stories would we run?

-      What is the lifespan of an episode

Most importantly of course, what would our process be going forward? We had to ensure we were commissioning ITN to make the right content that is relevant, newsworthy and up to date. ITN were able to turn round a first cut of a news bulletin on the same working day – meaning they would reccieve the brief at 9am and get you your new bulletin by 4pm. The issue was, could we decide the news story, sign off the voice over script, agree the visuals and ensure any data in the infographics is correct in time to sign off? The first pilot from ITN is below and in the time its taken to write this blog it’s probably already out of date

Nonetheless, the principle remains, if this video popped up as a preroll advert when you were watching films on YouTube would you be more or less inclined to watch it the whole way through when compared to our other video content?


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