BEST COVID-19 RESPONSE IN MEDIA / CREATIVE INDUSTRIES (OVER 75 EMPLOYEES)
BBC Education – Lockdown Learning
Lockdown Learning has been the BBC’s biggest Education offer in its history. It brought together some of the BBC’s biggest platforms and hundreds of educational resources on TV, online and social media to help pupils of all ages learn at home and was produced in record time. When the news was announced in early January 2021 that UK schools were switching to online learning, we had to move quickly to provide parents, students and teachers with educational content. Working with colleagues in BBC Two, CBBC, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online, we launched the Lockdown Learning content just five days later. From January 11th 2021, Lockdown Learning provided a three hour block of primary learning on CBBC and at least two hours of content for secondary students on BBC Two every week day during term time. This ensured that all children could access curriculum-based learning, even if they didn’t have access to the internet. Alongside this TV offer, there was a wealth of online content which parents, teachers and children could access when and where they needed it.
Despite the restrictions of lockdown and the constraints of reduced budgets, Channel 4’s creative and operational response to the crisis was swift and effective. Our priority was to ensure we played our part in supporting, informing and entertaining all the Nations and Regions of the UK, whilst delivering our remit and supporting the TV industry as a whole. By finding new and innovative ways to produce programmes, Channel 4 were able to continue commissioning during the pandemic, turning around 29 current affairs films and documentaries, launching the Stay at Home Academy to keep viewers occupied and high-spirited through lockdown, and navigating tricky production challenges to keep some of the nation’s best-loved brands on air, when our viewers needed them most. These actions simultaneously helped support the creative sector and help independent production companies survive during these difficult times, with prioritisation given to smaller indies, ethnically diverse led companies, or those based outside of London.
Given these challenges, Channel 4 was able to finish the year recording the first growth in its portfolio viewing share since 2011, record digital growth of 26%, as well a financial surplus to be invested back into its content in 2021 and 2022.
disguise – disguise xR
With the Covid-19 pandemic halting all live shows, disguise – the technology platform that has delivered spectacular live visual experiences for over 20 years – had to rethink its core business offering to empower its user community of creative professionals. Working with this community of users, disguise developed and delivered their extended reality (xR) solution five months ahead of schedule. xR refers to technology that blurs the line between the physical and virtual worlds.
Starting with its early, memorable application in Katy Perry’s performance of ‘Daisies’ in the 2020 American Idol finale, disguise xR has since been used to realise over 250 projects, including the Billie Eilish: Where Do We Go livestream, the 2020 MTV VMAs, Gucci’s 2021 Aria collection launch, commercial shoots for Nissan and Hyundai and even in Walmart’s and SAP’s corporate conferences. Meanwhile, 190+ stages powered by disguise xR have been built in 35+ countries in a worldwide deployment to meet the growing demand for the technology.
disguise is growing rapidly – recognised in the 22nd annual Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100 as one of Britain’s private companies with the fastest-growing profits over the last three years.
EventsCase – 45th Edinburgh TV Festival
Established in 1976, the Edinburgh TV festival is one of the biggest and most anticipated dates in the UK TV industry calendar. Known for its learning opportunities, cutting-edge content and keynote address (the Mactaggart Lecture), the event is a respected source of insight, with past speakers including Sir David Attenborough, Louis Theroux, Hugh Grant and Ricky Gervais.
In 2020, after COVID-19 forced changes to its usual in-person format, the organisers worked diligently with EventsCase to migrate its core features to a new digital experience. After months of research, the organisers named EventsCase as their solution of choice. Work began on the platform from mid-July, leaving just over a month before the official start date of August 24, 2020.
Some of the numbers seen at the 45th edition of the Edinburgh TV Festival include:
88% of sessions sponsored (20% more than previous year); Widest coverage of MacTaggart according to our records – including front page of The Guardian and big screen features at Kings Cross Station; Increase of 56% in overall attendees.
Hotwire and Zoom – Connecting People during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Zoom appointed Hotwire in 2020 with a brief to raise its profile in two European markets. With the onset of the global pandemic resulting in more people using Zoom than ever before to stay connected, Hotwire was asked to extend the programme to manage 19 countries worldwide. Hotwire coordinated an international plan to manage media interest in multiple markets, focusing on shifting sentiment and supporting growth. The team successfully steered sentiment in a positive direction whilst keeping the core message of Zoom as a reliable and innovative video first platform.
Scottish Ballet – The Secret Theatre
Scottish Ballet is, at its heart, a touring ballet company. They tour across Scotland at least three times a year, and regularly visit venues around the rest of the UK and internationally. When it became clear that, due to COVID-19, the company would have to postpone their 2020/21 winter tour, Scottish Ballet announced plans to debut their first-ever feature-length film – The Secret Theatre.
The film was ticketed (for free, with donations encouraged) via Scottish Ballet’s website and released for a short viewing period in the lead-up to Christmas, encouraging viewers to join ‘live’ – for a sense of shared experience.
The results were overwhelmingly positive. Around 25,000 households booked a free ticket, with a robust audience survey sample indicating a total viewing audience of over 55,000 people – pretty much the equivalent of Scottish Ballet regular winter tour of 50+ performances. A third of viewers were completely new to SB, and over 10,000 bookers signed up to the company’s free Membership programme.