- Sky News has slowly built a vast network on social media. The 24/7 cable news channel is now focusing on generating content online
- The news network has partnered with YouTube and Facebook to disseminate content on social medial platforms.
- Sky News received interactions and shares more than that of all its competitors combined.
Social media platforms have become a new source of information since the last few years. The platforms that once acted as an informal medium to connect people are now providing the users with all kinds of information required to keep them abreast of the developments in country, politics, sports, entertainment etc.
A report commissioned by the Reuters Institute, authored by Flamingo, states that the young generation does not see traditional media as the best or the only way to consume news in order to stay connected to the world. Online channels, including social media, play a considerable role as they are easy to access and regularly updated.
Let’s take a look at one of the Australia's biggest news networks- Sky News. In a span of merely one year, Sky News has built a news empire on social media.
Sky News is best known for its breaking news format, and its social media platforms are no different.
The news network has successfully built an online operation in Australia similar to the Fox News. Surprisingly, the network has an audience not just confined to Australia but also from the other parts of the world. Within a year, Sky News now has become one of the largest voices in the news space, notably, with much smaller operation than its competitors.
On YouTube, it has 2.86 million subscribers, and its videos have been viewed about 500 million times. The number is much more than any other Australian media house.
Sky News has also outdone its competitors - ABC News, SBS News, 7News Australia, 9 News and 10 News First Pages, in the Facebook race. Their combined interactions are less than standalone numbers of Sky News.
The network has been focusing on producing highly partisan opinionated content which has helped its audience grow internationally.
The focus shift on digital content:
Twitter Moments and Snapchat Discover have Sky News as a launch partner, which allows news network to use any new platform features within 24 hours of its release.
On Instagram stories, Sky News lets its presenters take over the forum to report breaking news.
In 2018, Paul Whittaker, former editor-in-chief of the Australian, took over as head of Sky News Australia. Whittaker was asked to increase Sky News’ reach to more Australians. Sky News which initially was a 24/7 cable news channel, started to offer its services on free-to-air in regional areas in the country. Its influential network slowly started to show its effects on business leaders, politicians, the political class. Since Whittaker took charge of the news channel, their television audience grew substantially. The US election helped Sky News reach more than 800,000 unique viewers on TV.
The real growth, however, is visible online. Sky News welcomed digital editor Jack Houghton in 2019. He had worked previously in Daily Telegraph. The news network’s partnership with YouTube and Facebook made it shift its focus towards digital content. Due to the new partnerships, Sky News stopped posting videos on Twitter and changed the video format to suit these platforms' algorithms. Sky news started to create videos which are longer than three minutes. The content has been further extended to opinion-based ones which consist of editorials or panel interviews. News content for such videos which are shorter in duration are generally expensive to produce. The network also posts longer videos of three to six minutes, usually taken from its largest shows produced in the evening.
Apart from social media platforms, Sky New also hosts videos on its website. In June it was reported that the Sky News website received an average of 50 million views per month in 2020. The increase is more than 400 per cent year on year.
In the vast space of digital content, Sky News seems to have found the secret ingredient to the viewers' minds. Its strategies are working as the numbers speak for itself. Over the last few years, Sky News has captured everyone's electronic devices and established itself as an essential part of Australian digital broadcasting world.