From choose your own adventure-style cooking shows, to interviews in which you can skip to the parts you want to see BBC Taster, a new collection of content for the 16-24 year old demographic by the British broadcaster aims to engage #teens.
It’s all part of the plan to make the brand relevant to the up and coming generation of news consumers.
According to Digiday, people aged 16-24 currently only spend 50% of their time watching TV, and that number is set to drop drastically over the coming years. Therefore the BBC is jumping on the front foot, making some aggressive moves to create the type of content young people want.
The project is called BBC Taster, and interactivity is a vital part of it.
Upon entering the site, you’re greeted with a pop-up message warning it’s “an experimental area”. The site’s header suggests, “Try, rate, share our new ideas”, and just by looking at some of the titles which include, “My Hijab and Me” and “Kitchen Bitch” the aforementioned cooking show, one concludes the site’s mantra is let’s get viral.
A clip called “When Len Met Jen”, an interview between ‘Girls’ creator Lena Dunham and ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ creator Jennifer Saunders, offers options to skip to portions of the interview including “Kicking Off” and “Get Naked”.
The “edgy” headlines create the sense the BBC is trying to get the message out that they’re hip and cool, and, I suppose they should be. They should be doing everything they can to engage a demographic completely uninterested in watching television the traditional way, and this seems like a reasonable first step.
But talking trying to talk like a teen to teens treads a fine line. The BBC is fortunate that they’ve always been relatively progressive when it comes to adopting new technology and emerging forms of media. But they’re also in many ways very traditional.
Proud of its high standards in news and entertainment, the corporation continues to hold conflicting values as they attempt to appeal to a broad audience spread over multiple demographics.
Furthermore, the layout, colour scheme and headlines that populate BBC Taster obviously mimics sites like BuzzFeed and Vice, two increasingly influential websites with devoted youth audiences. These sites already have a firm grip on that market, and if a traditional organisation like the BBC pushes too far into their domain, they’ll appear as little more than a pale imitation.
Being it’s first serious move into interactive video for a young demographic, Taster doesn’t seem altogether pathetic. With the desire for feedback from the audience, and the creepy “My Story” feature, which looks through a reader’s Facebook profile and “intertwines your backstory with archive BBC news events”, the new site may indeed become successful at driving co-creation with its users, and unearthing the relevance they’re looking for.
But they aught to try and sound too #teen. Coz that would be #lame.