Audiences are at the heart of everything we do. Gaining an understanding of the kind of information or interaction audiences need is just the beginning.
We then work with them to:
The process of designing a mass media programme or campaign begins with a 'messaging workshop', where the results of formative research are analysed to produce a 'messaging brief'. The brief describes which messages need to be communicated to achieve key behaviour change.
The messaging brief also identifies information that needs to be conveyed.
As a result, we included clear, accessible information about the signs of acute respiratory illness in our public service announcements.
The next step is to find out which formats - drama, discussion programmes, public service announcements - can be most effectively used to deliver information and stimulate discussion.
Drama can be a powerful mechanism for development. It can build an emotional connection with target audiences over a period of time, while modelling situations or behaviours.
Viewers or listeners become attached to characters and share in their experiences, sometimes discussing them with people around them, reflecting on their situations and actions and how they might respond if it were them.
For example in Nigeria
, our 48 part television series - Wetin Dey
- is using drama to change knowledge, attitudes and behaviour around HIV and AIDS.
Discussion programmes including radio phone-ins and television debates, offer great potential for audience interaction and the opportunity to reflect and expand on a particular topic.
For example in Bangladesh
, weekly political discussion programme - Bangladesh Sanglap
- is helping citizens to ask difficult questions and hold their politicians to account.
Public service announcements (PSAs) can be very effective on both radio and television, as long as the message is clear and simple and the PSA is repeated an appropriate number of times.
For example in Cambodia
, PSAs featuring the actor, Jackie Chan
, changed behaviour around condom use.
PSAs tend to work best in conjunction with other formats, so that the short, sharp hits can be elucidated elsewhere.
In building a campaign we generally use a range of formats, because they cross-promote one another and reinforce messages. Additional materials - such as posters and comics - may also be used to echo the messages and stories conveyed by other media outputs.
For example in Angola
, our campaign to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS
includes a youth radio discussion programme, television and radio public service announcements, press advertising, outdoor advertising, advertising in taxis and high profile events.
Once we've worked out which messages to communicate and formats to use, we work in partnership with media professionals in developing countries to create the programmes.
Our partners work with us to co-produce, write, direct, perform, film, edit, broadcast, and promote our programmes.
One of our primary objectives is to strengthen the media in developing countries
. We share BBC expertise with broadcast and production partners, delivering extensive training to media partners in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
Once we have created materials and content, we pre-test them with focus groups consisting of members of our target audience(s). They help us refine our output in terms of tone, language use, relevance and appropriateness.
They also reveal how audiences react to programme concepts, or particular characters or storylines.
For example in India
, pre-testing television PSAs
helped to identify the elements (characters, story lines, music, take-away, context) that viewers liked most and least. This enabled the producers to select the best elements from each one to ensure that the PSAs resonated with the audience and were therefore as effective as possible.