Q&A with Will Worsdell, ITV

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What has been the biggest shift in media consumption habits this year?

One of the biggest growth areas this year has been live media.  On TV we're seeing that live broadcast TV is incredibly robust but lots of people are choosing to do that through online services (like the ITV Hub).  In social we're seeing a similar shift, Instagram stories has grown massively this year as a media channel and marketing channel.  I think it's all new ways of people fulfilling long held motivations and desires to be part of something happening right now and be able to discuss it.  That was at the heart of the success of Love Island.

 

Is it a myth that young people don’t watch TV anymore?

Yes!  Two words- Love Island.  Young people still watch a lot of TV.  65% of 16-24s total video viewing (measuring everything from cinema to youtube to social) is TV.  One of the gradual shifts is how they're watching that TV- a lot of Love Island viewing both live and time-shifted was through the ITV Hub.

 

How have you had to adapt to the rise of online streaming sites?

Our job remains the same really.  Make great TV shows and get them to your audience.  It's important to remember that.   It's got harder to do that as the competition is greater (and their budgets are bigger) and the distribution techniques available are growing all the time but ultimately it's the same job that it's always been.  It's an amazing time to be a viewer.

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What is it about Love Island that has grabbed the attention of young people?

I don't think it was any one thing, more a mixture of several that combined.  It was series 3 of the show and I think we reached a tipping point of viewing figures where it just tipped into the youth culture mainstream and was picked up by so many celebrities and much of the press.  The tone of the show is positive and ultimately about people finding love and if there's one thing the world needs right now- particularly for young people- is some positivity, inclusiveness and togetherness.  The other factor is how immediate and reactive it was- an episode every day and constantly shifting and responding to what was being said online- the Stormzy tweet was a great example of that.

 

How does ITV drive the social media buzz that surrounds shows such as Love Island?

We've got a brilliant team of writers, editors and community managers that work across the Love Island and ITV2 feeds.  They key to it all is speed, Love Island moves so fast that you have to be very reactive to what's happening in the show or what people are saying online.  As it's live it's very hard to pre-plan and sometimes you're surprised by which phrases, people and moments really catch fire.  The other key thing this year was the amount of celebrities that were tweeting about the show- everyone from Stormzy to Noel Gallagher to Jeremy Corbyn.

 

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From YouTube to Instagram to Snapchat, how do you juggle your social strategy and which of these channels are standing out for you right now?

We've definitely shifted our strategy over the last year.  Prior to that we jumped on every emerging and established social platform as we felt we had to be there.  But ultimately you don't, you have to be on the platforms that are most relevant- particularly if you don't have unlimited resource to use all platforms effectively (which we don't). So this year we have been a lot more selective.  We've found Snapchat works well as a paid advertising medium but not organically so we don't use that much now and we've been off YouTube ever since the brand safety concerns emerged- our focus is on Instagram, Facebook and twitter (pretty much in that order).

 

What other youth brands do you admire when it comes to marketing to 16-24s?

If they're doing it really really well I wouldn't know about them as I'm ten years out of that target audience!

 

What is your top piece of advice for engaging the youth market?

Focus on strategy and objectives before tactics.  Too much youth marketing is driven by buzzwords, gimmicks and impulse trends.  While the appropriate techniques and media channels evolve, the objectives of marketing don't and it's important to judge those new tactics in the context of your marketing objectives.  This stops people doing activity for the sake of it and instead because they have a genuine and logical rationale for how it will add value to their business.

 

And finally a few fun questions…

What’s been the best moment of your career so far?

Developing the Paving the Way initiative for ITV2 and the MOBO awards to inspire young people and diversity in the creative industries.  Closely followed by getting a selfie with Stormzy...

 

Favourite app? Why?

Citymapper.  I basically live my life as a zombie guided by Citymapper.  And the premier league fantasy football app (when I'm doing well).

 

Something few people know about you?

Until last year I'd never seen a Star Wars film (I know, I know)

 

What are you most looking forward to at YMS?

The amazing mixture of speakers but particularly Amy Lame- the Night Czar is such a good, and important, initiative for London.

 

Finally, what should we have asked you that we didn’t?

What's the best piece of advice you've ever heard?  Always go to the toilet before you leave a pub.

Will will be sharing the secret behind ITV2's Love Island at YMS LDN 2018 - come and say hello! Haven't got your tickets for YMS yet? Head on over to our event page for more information on the biggest youth marketing conference in Europe.