July 16, 2012
"Stay Tuned" is a music show made by - not for - its young audience. Producer The Feds' head of content explains
Photo: Stay Tuned’s hosts Nicole Singh and Joel Phillips engage with music stars like UK rapper Tinie Tempah (right)
I love a chat. There is nothing better than sharing your thoughts or ideas with someone, hearing what they think, and coming away from that conversation enlightened and your opinion evolved, changed.
I feel the same way about making television. I love it that now, due to advancements in technology, I can make television with the audience I am making it for. I don’t think it’s for my tech know-how that I have ended up obsessed with innovations in gaming, culture, social TV – it all comes down to my “love of a chat.”
Interacting with someone gets their whole attention, committed to an experience, and coming away from that experienced influenced. Pretty powerful, huh?
What’s great about making television now is that I don’t need to talk at them, telling one side of a story, only relying on the feedback we used to get from ratings once a week.
And the fear I used to have of being yet another adult making children’s TV out-of-touch with my audience is a fear no more; because I am more connected to my audience than any other generation before.
We tend to think of interactive and multi-platform in terms of complicated formats, but they needn’t be.
The success of Stay Tuned is its simplicity in the way that it connects to its audience.
I’ve just finished production on the 2nd series of Stay Tuned for the ABC in Australia. Sixty episodes in, Stay Tuned is an award-winning multi-platform, interactive music show. Formatted as a factual entertainment series, it features two video-bloggers who dig the dirt, sneak around backstage and do anything to get inside the skin of the music industry and answer their viewer’s questions.
Now in its second series, it proves that audiences, if given the opportunity to be heard, will tell you exactly what they’re looking for in their entertainment.
Stay Tuned in essence asks its audience to create the show. Driven by the online community, the viewers are the inspiration for each episode, asking the questions they want to know to the bands they want to hear from the most.
Stay Tuned emerged out of a need to do music content differently. For any teenager, music is their life. This is where Stay Tuned comes from. The ultimate goal was to form this online community for like-minded musical interests. But we also wanted to reconnect a viewership for music TV for a demographic brought up consuming and sharing content online.
For Stay Tuned, the audience is the star of the show. From early research right through to production, the ongoing dialogue with the audience played a crucial part. Kids know what’s cool, and they want to tell you about it, rather than you tell them.
Early feedback from our 10-15 year old demographic proved that it offered something more than a traditional music show, not only entertaining and informative, but providing an aspirational avenue for emerging young artists.
“…at our age we’re going, well, maybe I could do that with my life”’ Matt, 17
The Stay Tuned format implements short snappy segments to engage music fans of all genres to ensure a wide appeal to its music fans. These include segments such as No Go Zone, where bands tell you the questions they never want to hear again; to Confession Sessions, where they reveal a secret about themselves; to Stay Tuned Presents, where emerging artists upload a performance on the site.
This was an important factor that spoke to our target audience.
“Stay Tuned is… people who really have an interest in music and have a particular interest that may not be pop or whatever.” Ally, 15
Even though we have finished TV production for the 2nd series, we still have bands answering our communities’ questions online. If dialogue with our audience is key, maintaining dialogue is crucial. We still listen to and address their feedback, so they have a sense of ownership over their music.
We’re heading in the direction of hyper-personalised experiences on all platforms. We need to keep this in mind when developing TV. Stay Tuned is all about the fans and giving them content the way they want it, when they want it.
Listen to your audience and know your audience’s entertainment consumption habits and know that they change. Be humble that they are different from yours as well! You never really know what the audience wants, unless you’re constantly talking to them. If you look at the way musicians connect with their fans online, we can learn to apply this to our own audiences.
What a great time to be making content. I’m in development for an online comedy series, an interactive installation for a band and a ten part one-hour documentary series for an international youth network. They’re all happening in these formats as they are ways I believe will effectively engage their audience. Interactive viewing is the future of TV and that is just so exciting creatively!
Keep talking and sharing. And, please, I love a chat, come talk to me and let’s keep making better and better stuff! See you at MIPCOM!