26 April 2013
Helen Westgate, Director & Founder

From changing the channel to multichannel



As the communications landscape continues to change and with digital evolutions and revolutions happening every week, what is fascinating, and indeed challenging, from the perspective of communications professionals is the way that consumers now digest so much media content through a variety of channels.

Take the last episode of Broadchurch which aired this week having attracted a weekly viewership of nine million. As all the strands of the plot were brought together for the compelling denouement, the viewer was invited to go onto Twitter to see an additional scene. And one which actually filled in quite a few narrative gaps. What is important is that this option of a social media channel was not just an “add on” – as a viewer you would have had a far more complete dramatic experience by accessing this scene. Without seeing it, you would have also been unaware of the fact that ITV is planning to bring back another series.

In the same way that movies adapted to the arrival of sound in the last century, now we will all, personally and professionally, have to adapt to the fact that we are all accessing multichannels simultaneously. And I am not just talking about “early adopters” or “yoofs”. Whilst waiting for a bus this week, I realised that nearly all the people that passed me on Kensington High Street, were on their mobile, whether they were teens or in their 70s. The same social shift is now happening as we all adapt to the way that we engage with the media, whether it is for news or for entertainment.

As a great fan of “couch potatoing” as a weekend hobby, I actually predict that watching the TV will no longer be such a sedentary experience. As we sit there, more and more of us will also be checking up on social networking sites for updates from friends, googling for triva about the programmes or films that we are viewing, getting the latest news from our favourite online feeds etc. if indeed we will even be actually watching the TV as we know it anyway.

What is certain is that this shift has only just begun and that those of us in the media will have to adapt our client messaging so that it remains pertinent and impactful across the multichannel environment.


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