What does a digital producer do?
Digital producers create the online presence of a TV programme. They use apps and social media to engage viewers and give the show a life that goes beyond its transmission time. Through the work of digital producers, audiences can take an active part in the show, whether through voting, participating in spin-offs or talking about it with other fans. They can interact with the programme at any time of the day or night.
The scope of a digital producer’s role varies depending on the type of show that’s being produced. With some programmes, such as ITV2’s Love Island, it’s the digital dimension that makes them what they are. Love Island has a senior digital producer with a team of about 20 digital producers, working closely with the production department to create a seamless experience between the programme that’s broadcast and the programme as it’s experienced on the website, social media, apps and beyond.
On other shows, such as a live daily daytime show, the digital producer is tasked with creating quick turnaround content: unseen interviews and segments with the show’s guests, quickly packaged ‘best bits’ that are uploaded soon after the show, or getting stand-out clips released to the press to keep people talking about the show.
In other instances, a digital producer works with a broadcaster’s marketing department rather than for a particular programme. In these cases, they are more concerned with promoting a show that has already been made than with making the online presence an integral part of the show.
Digital producers create digital media, like videos, podcasts and GIFs. They are comfortable with all aspects of digital production, from basic scripting of a video to shooting and editing. They are skilled with text, images and audio. They are also expected to have a keen sense of who their target audience is, and where to best engage with them: a youth-orientated reality show might favour TikTok and Instagram, whereas a news-based panel show might find its audience better on Twitter.
Strategy is an important part of a digital producer’s role, as they often design the campaigns to reach their audience and bring people to the show. They plan how content will be found through search and hashtags. And they organise the release of content on social platforms, before, during and after the show’s transmission, responding to comments and analysing its effectiveness using analytics.
This information is then used to inform the content of the TV programme. The programme’s production team learns what the viewers are interested in and creates the programme accordingly, all through the insights gleaned by the digital producer. On social media, the digital producer is often the voice of the show engaging directly with fans (and haters!), so a sound grasp of language, tact and tone is really important.
What’s a digital producer good at?
- Being creative: come up with ideas for digital media, think of the lines that will excite the audience
- Sound judgement: make good editorial decisions quickly, know what tone to take with a story and how to intervene in an intense online discussion
- Making videos, podcasts and images: be skilled in all aspects of digital media production, record sound, capture images, edit and craft a story, often in very little time
- Social media: identify the audience, use platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to encourage conversation, know when and where to post, be skilled in the use of search and hashtags, be fully across emerging social trends
- Numbers: scrutinise analytics, understand the figures generated by social media, know how to interpret them and learn from them