What impact could entertainment content have in 2022: Part one

Part one of our series of articles sharing industry leaders' hopes and ambitions for the future of content

At OKRE, we know that entertainment content can change the world. And we’re not the only ones who think so – we talk to lots of people who believe the same. That’s why we’ve announced the OKRE Summit, a new annual event where the entertainment industry and charities will come together to build new connections and share their knowledge.

The only event of its kind, the OKRE Summit will enhance social and cultural impact in entertainment content and provide an opportunity for creative and strategic collaboration between the sectors. With speakers and delegates from global content platforms, content creation, broadcast and production, research and academia, and local, national and international charitable organisations and foundations, the OKRE Summit will help build new collaborations and champion entertainment content that makes a real difference in the world.

Ahead of the first event this Summer, we’ve asked industry leaders what impact they would like to see entertainment content have in 2022 and we’ll be sharing their thoughts in in a series of articles in the run-up to the event. From a greater focus on stories that encourage unity and authenticity to what audiences really want, creative innovators from across television, audio and film have a clear picture of the change they would like to see their content make in the world.

And while their responses showed a wide and varied ambition for the entertainment sector, keeping audiences at the heart of content was a theme that many returned to.

‘We need to see vision after vision after vision of the beautiful world we know deep down inside is possible’

Jocelyn Stevenson

Jocelyn Stevenson, who received a BAFTA Special Award for her writing which includes Fraggle Rock, The Magic School Bus and Barney & Friends, says: ‘I would like to see entertainment content start to shift the human narrative away from the story of separation towards a story of unity.

‘We need to see vision after vision after vision of the beautiful world we know deep down inside is possible. We need content that nourishes our creativity, our dreams, our hearts rather than feeding our fears, hostility and sense of being a separate self lost in a world of “other.” I would love to see our entertainment content frame the immense difficulties we’re experiencing now as a path to transformation rather than the road to destruction.’

Camilla Byk, founder and editor of podcasting platform Podium.me that aims to give a voice to young people aged 16 to 25 agrees that entertainment can provide people with an opportunity for connection and unity. She says: ‘Entertainment content can connect people in a way that fills a gap left by the pandemic. Moments of collective viewing and listening bring us together and reflect conversations that have been missing over the last two years.

‘Content producers have an opportunity to tell stories that are real and honest, uplifting and raw, and have the effect of encouraging others to share their stories with each other. In 2022 we can take our masks off literally and put aside the bragging and boasting of pre-Covid social media. What an opportunity to change the entertainment landscape.’

‘It’s the stuff in between the songs that can change lives.’

Sam Bailey

Unity was also a key theme for Sam Bailey, MD of the Audio Content Fund, a government-supported scheme to provide funding for original radio and audio content, and MD of The Radio Academy. He says that there is an opportunity for radio to change lives – and keep its competitive edge over streaming services by doing so. ‘I want music radio brands to remember to be brave – to think about the importance of the stuff between the songs,’ he says. ‘It’s through creative, compelling content that radio will keep its distinctive edge over streaming services, and how it can bring listeners together and make a difference.

‘In the early stages of the pandemic, we saw how radio can help unite people, comfort them, and ease loneliness through shared listening experiences. People love listening to music, and a good music selection is a real art form – but it’s the stuff in between the songs that can change lives.’

‘Everything we do is to satisfy an audience but often we give them what we think they like rather than what they really want,’ says Fiona Gillies, co-founder and CEO of SMASH, a new platform that is designed to make it easy for creators to pitch their film or television idea. ‘How about working with emerging content creators embedded in the audiences we need to attract?’

She added she would like to see: ‘The growth of audience interaction – let them tell us what they want. Imagine if we could give audiences more niche and engaging programming… if we had some kind of direct link to them which helped us commission the content that has them glued to their seats.

Award-winning journalist and author Dhruti Shah said: ‘Entertainment content is what reaches the masses. It’s able to take current affairs and make it resonate using storytelling methods that often, sadly, get compartmentalised elsewhere. When watching dance, you are absorbing more than dance – those watching are absorbing stories, culture, heritage and histories. They are absorbing political statements and conflict. When listening to songs, you can be hearing tales of crossing borders and race relations conveyed through key rhythms and melodies. When it’s a gameshow or quiz panel, you are accessing a library of knowledge.

‘So the impact I would like entertainment content to have in 2022 is to take ownership of this and those who are involved in this industry to be transparent about the edutainment that occurs in entertainment. I think our audiences would respect that.’

Do you have thoughts you’d like to share? Now’s your chance to tell us: What impact would you like to see entertainment content have in 2022?

Do you have thoughts you’d like to share? What impact would you like to see entertainment content have in 2022? Let us know on Twitter @okresocial or LinkedIn. And you can sign up to be the first to hear news about the Summit here.