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A Research Portfolio on the PR consequences of broadcasting a live music festival event on YouTube.

By Laura Croggon

Introduction This portfolio will be researching music festivals across Europe and America and how they use YouTube channels to create a buzz and promote the atmosphere of each event. The rise of social media allows a break in the production of who produces media changing the rules and barriers of entry, ‘Anybody can share their videos for free. This ability to create and share content, this UGM, is a key part of the social media revolution.’ (Poynter, 2010). From researching numerous music festival YouTube channels, they use the channel to post different videos depending on the reaction they are after and what they are aiming to achieve. An example of the type of videos some of the channels use are ‘mashup videos’ which is where they use a compilation of clips of the festival in previous years, others use the channel to broadcast podcasts of the future performers or mini documentaries of what the festival is about. The aim of this portfolio is to discuss what is the most successful way to broadcast a music festival on YouTube, discussing factors such as the length of the video, the theme and the excitement it brings through user engagement.

Participating in Research

A Music festival receives its feedback on YouTube via. A like or dislike button and by comments, ‘YouTube, which was initially conceived as a video version of ‘hot or not’ (Penenberg, 2009) which within a week of launching, it had reached almost two million page views per day. With the option of the YouTube user being able to give their opinion simply clicking a thumbs up or thumbs down (meaning yes or no) it shows quantitative data, however there is also the option of leaving comments which gives a qualitative result. The advantage of user generated content is explained by Krumm et al, ‘A warmer, more intimate side of pervasive user-generated content is aimed at building community and raising awareness among localized groups of people’ (2008). When there is little interaction via. Comments or likes its harder to evaluate a videos success, Glastonbury’s YouTube channel often have little or no interaction with there videos however they still manage to keep views up. This makes it harder for them to monitor and improve the channel.

Allowing YouTube users to easily participate in voicing their opinion and interact with other viewers it benefits PR as it is a free way for researchers to gain opinions of the music festival and for them to show correlations between the qualitative data. With the like and dislike option it means they can easily see if it is a hit or miss and also how popular it is. The comments that the viewers leave mean that they can indicate specific reasons for why the video is liked and what the video fails to do, like the comment box it means they can gain an inner opinion. To leave a comment or opinion you must be a member of Youtube so have to ‘sign up or sign in’ before. This creates a limited community for Youtube and means the comment isn’t left by someone that is anonymous, meaning that the comments and likes are more accurate as you can only like/dislike the video once which decreases the use of spam. A recommendation for Glastonbury YouTube channel would be to post there videos on other social networks and blogs asking current fans what they think of the video and maybe offer an incentive. This will also keep the video active and communicating with the festival’s community.

Secondary Research The average Youtube user spends around 15 minutes a day on the site (Metekohy, 2010) this means a youtube channel has to decide whether they want videos that are long, detailed and entising or just teasers which need to have the power to keep the user wanting to click on other related video’s. The festivals channel know their target audience and decide what type of video is most effective.

John Pavlik explains how YouTube and the broadcast of videos online have changed the way media is communicated: ‘From twitter to mash-up media, new technology presents significant implications for public relations.’ He then continues to explain how online distribution has become an advantage to traditional media ‘The rise of digital video production and online distribution through sites such as YouTube is propelling organizational uses of video to communicate directly with publics such as consumers, without traditional media filters or gatekeepers.’ (Pavlik, 2008)

Coachella music festival in California, already a popular festival, needs minimal promotion compared to less well known festivals, so use their YouTube channel to reach there target audience and not keep them of deprivation of the atmosphere so supplied them with live performances and bonus extras to keep the buzz of the festival alive outside of the event. Statistics show that 70% of YouTube activity is outside of the U.S (Metekohy, 2010) which will affect a great proportion of Coachella fans and YouTube users. Coachella already has an active forum available at: which is often in use by current fans where they can embed videos of there past experiences at the festival;, this means the video’s are kept active and spread to other Coachella fans still using YouTube. Compared to Coachella, a festival with a respected reputation behind it, Bestival uses their youtube channel for promotional strategy. Establishing in 2004 a newly created festival it only had 15,000 attendees, three years later in 2008 it doubled to 30,000 capacity. ‘Bestivaltv’ established early 2007 and use the channel to broadcast interviews with upcoming performers and other video promotional techniques. From the research, depending on what is trying to be achieved depends on how the video is created and its concept. However the aim for all campaigns is for the video to go viral and both a teaser video and long winded one can achieve this for example ‘KONY 2012’ is 30 minutes long and got 70 million hit in a week (See appendix E). An element for a successful video in a PR campaign is to have a shock factor- give the viewers something they don’t know and which grips them in. A recommendation for bestivaltv is to stream live performances like Coachella to gain the respected reputation and have active users while the festival is on.

Content Analysis Tomorrowland

499 subscribers 164,343 video views Date joined: July 1, 2011. An international festival held in Belgium used a 13 minute video of a compilation of clips from the festival in 2011 to promote the festival for 2012. It has reached a total of 20,286,512 views since being posted in 5 months ago. This became so successful as they made the story like a magical fairytale story reaching the target audience.

Glastonbury 1,192 subscribers 969,022 video views Date joined: September 21, 2008. Possiblly the biggest and most famous festival in the world held in somerset. Glastonbury use the channel to not just post videos of performers or artists at Glastonbury, the message they theme across the channel is about how they are environmentally friendly and are not just a music festival. They have the largest target audience of families, students and adults.

Bestival 499 subscribers 164,390 video views Date joined: March 27, 2007. Known as the closing festival of the year in early September, its target audience is varied like Glastonbury reaching families as well as other festival goers. Its main attraction is that there is a theme each year. The channel use this as an important Ingredient of the channel using highlights of the previous festivals and videoing particularly impressive fancy dress costumes.

Reading 299 subscribers

255,193 video views Date Joined: August 23, 2010. Having the least amount of subscribers, which is probably due to the lack of videos they have uploaded. The festival do not use their channel to there greatest advantage. The videos they upload are mainly best bits and festival goers experiences.

Benicassim 739 subscribers 807,066 video views Date joined: April 6, 2006. Festival internacional de benicassim the official name for benicassim festival reaches a large target audience as the subscribers range from Europeans, Americans and Australians. Benicassim use there channel to broadcast there festival to all there audiences as they have many barriers which restrict them from reaching all the audiences. They use videos in a range of languages interesting all audiences.

For a music channel to decide on how they are going to broadcast themselves they must realize what they can change to make the channel better and what is already successful, ‘The first step in content analysis, is to define what the research problem is’ (Hansen et al, 1998). The problem that each music festival face is brand

awareness, each YouTube channel need to reach higher subscribers and views than there competitors for there festival to gain more popularity and therefore need viral video’s. Using a small sample of 5 music festival’s and their YouTube channels to recognise the most effective techniques of how to gain the most subscribers and views through video. The music festivals chosen are ranged for different target audience, different sizes and vary in the age of establishment meaning the research is more generalized and these factors will be taken into consideration for why there channels are more/less successful. See appendix C for a collage of the music festivals YouTube channels. Tomorrowland, one of the more recent music festival built off little reputation was established in 2005. The YouTube channel isn’t even a year old and already has the same amount of subscribers and similar amount of total video views as ‘Bestivaltv’, a YouTube channel that is 4 years older. This is all due to the ‘Tomorrowland 2011 official after movie’ posted by the channel in August 2011. It is a video that is compiled of highlights of the weekend set out like a fairytale making it unique and shows a different approach from how bestival compiled there best moments of the festival in 2011. Tomorrowland has gained 32,452,939 views and 127,748 likes in just 8 months compared to bestival’s which has just 11, 473 and 65 likes. Tomnorrowland use the same technique as ‘KONY 2012’ using length as one of there reasons for successes. Glastonbury, already a well respected festival doesn’t need to broadcast the event on YouTube to gain popularity like Tomorrowland or Bestival. It uses the reputation to there advantage by broadcasting videos of charity work and help the more deprived, for example in a recent video which is dedicated to helping mothers and children in Tanzania they have great soundtrack from East African hip hop star and MP Sugu (aka Mr 11). Reading festival is, like Tomorrowland, new to YouTube, it has a considerable amount of video views for how recent the channel is. This is probably due to the target audience ‘At reading festival the average age there is 16-19’ (Reading forum, Apr 2010) 35% of YouTube users are aged 18-34 (Hazlett, 2009) making them the most popular. This shows a correlation the active YouTube users and Reading

goers. This means Reading just keep there channel interesting and fresh. (See appendix D). Benicassim use a different approach of broadcasting their festival. Instead of adding videos themselves they create playlist’s using other peoples, which creates connectivity and builds a community. The Benicassim channel agrees with what was explained in the introduction of how now anyone can be the creator, other YouTube users are acting as the media and Benicassim’s channel are just the connectors in building the bridge and creating a community as they are the ones with the respect. This benefits PR as it recognizes that the way to build a great reputation from nothing is to realize who the target audience are, what they want and why it is unique and benefits the consumer. Again the argument over the length of the video occurs and Tomorrowland’s official after movie prove you can keep a viewer interested and engaged for 15 minutes per video which is usually how long an average person spends on YouTube.

Focus Groups

‘This is the place to jot down the questions you want answered by Melvin at our next focus group. More details coming soon about how we'll format the group this year.’

On the Reading Festival website they have a forum, here Reading festival fans have an opportunity to ask ‘Melvin’ this means there are unlimited amount of participants that can interact within the focus group. This is unlike a regular focus group as they are usually in person with around 6-8 people ‘Smaller groups show considerable potential5,6 or 7 participants not only offer more opportunity for individuals to talk but are considerably more practicial to set up and manage.’ (Krueger, 1994) and have a more specified topic than just a question and answer session. Depending on what outcome is needed for the situation depends on the type of focus group to hold.

This research method has been applied to this portfolio by using 3 different focus group sessions explained below: For the first focus group 6-10 students will be chosen who have experienced a live music festival before either one of the one’s chosen in content analysis or another one in the world. The students should not know each other ‘Avoid interviewing friends in the same group as they can form cliques - if cliques do form, suggest taking a break and changing seating positions upon returning from the break’ (Webcredible, 2012). Research shows that they are less influenced or likely to jump on a bandwagon if the identities are anonymous. Each student must watch all the videos that where researched in content analysis and have to critique them. The aim of the focus group will be to dissect what makes a live event appealing to them, finally they must decide which video is best at user engagement and what festival they are most likely to attend. The second focus group will alike the first focus group use 6-10 students however these are students who haven’t experienced a music festival before and have little knowledge of there reputation. They will be shown the same videos as group one and have to decide which festival appeals to them most and if they are more likely to attend a music festival after one or more of the videos influence. The third and final focus group again using the same amount of students as the first and second and have attended at least one festival in the past, will have no expertise or exposure to fanvids and discuss just there knowledge on music festivals and what appeals to them going. The purpose of this exercise and the benefits of a focus group for PR means they give a shared insight on the situation from a small group, it is like receiving the comments on YouTube personally. Using three different focus groups also means that you can easily see relationships and popular quotes or topics that occur in the session, this makes it easy for a problem to be addressed. A recommendation would be for benicassim’s YouTube channel to run a focus group for what playlist on the channel interests a group that have never attended before and if they would because of it. There is little activity or user engagement on a lot of the videos on the site and the festival could use it for more of an advantage than they already do.

Surveys and Questionnaires

Below are graphs of some of the results from the Questionnaire on Music festivals and live events on social networking sites specifically YouTube see appendix B.













1) How old are you?

a b c d e

3) What social networking site are you most likely to use when looking into a music festival?

Nigel Gilbert discusses how representative data is necessary when researching just as much as qualitative data is, ‘It is neither practical nor wise to interview everyone and observe everything. Some kind of sampling data is needed, regardless of whether the research is survey-based or involves observational or documentary methods.’ (Gilbert, 2001) A questionnaire or survey creates a representative result, it is more generalized than an interview however it covers results of a large population whereas an interview is more specific. The method of surveys and questionnaires was applied to this portfolio by conducting a short questionnaire on how Music festivals and live events are favoured on social networking sites, specifically on YouTube (see appendix B). This is just a small mock up template of what would be used realistically, the questionnaire would use more than 30 participants, ‘Non-representative sampling is one of the most frequent causes of error in surveys.’ (Boone, 1992. Pg. 6) Boone discusses how the sampling must be representative of the population in order to generalize the results. Therefore a sample must be taken from various age groups, different genders etc. By beginning the questionnaire with asking the age and gender it allows YouTube to know what there target audience is after for example, in the content analysis it shows that Reading festivals average age of the attendee is 16-19 so they know that they want to reach this age group with a video. The channel would know to focus on the results given from them rather than use all of the questionnaire results which are generalized. This can benefit in a PR world because it means that it saves time and highlights the exact information they need.

Conclusion In conclusion after looking at various music festivals and their YouTube channels the most successful way for a music festival to broadcast themselves depends on who they are. One with a built up reputation needs little promotion and is best to stream the festival as it goes on, this has been proven successful by Coachella. If the festival needs to gain more popularity then a video of highlights and what makes its unique for targeting their audience should be created, this was shown successful by Tomorrowland who sold 120,000 tickets for the 2012 festival in less than five minutes compared to last year it took 5 days. The theory of user generated media shows how important the participant of YouTube is and how important the interaction of them influences how the music festival can locate issues with the channel and festival.


A) A press release on Coachella music festival, for full article please visit:

B) Questionnaire 1) How old are you? a) 16-18 b) 18-24 c) 25-34 d) 35+ 2) Are male or female? a) Male b) Female 3) Which Social networking site are you most likely to use when looking into a music festival? a) Facebook b) Myspace c) YouTube d) Twitter e) Other 4) How often do you spend on YouTube a week? a) Once a week b) Every other day c) Every day d) Never 5) Are you likely to interact with the site e.g. tweet or leave a comment on the page? a) Yes b) No 6) Would you watch a video on YouTube of a live music performance if it was recorded on someone’s phone or camera that was of lesser quality than professional filming? a) Yes b) No 7) Would you want to watch the whole set of the music performance or just a compilation of the best bits? a) The whole set b) Compilation/mash up




Original video available from:


Adam. L Penenberg., 2009. Viral Loop- The power of pass it on. London: Hodder and Stoughton. Mark Metekohy, 2010. YouTube statistics. In: Viral Blog. May 17th 2010. Available from: Ray Poynter, 2010. The handbook of online and social media research. West Sussex: John Wiley and Sons. Krumm, John; Davies, Nigel; Narayanaswami, Chandra; , "User-Generated Content," Pervasive Computing, IEEE , vol.7, no.4, pp.10-11, Oct.-Dec. 2008. Available from: Nigel Gilbert. 2001. Researching social life. London: Sage Publications. Hansen, A. etal., 1998. Mass communication Research Methods. Basingstoke: MACMILLAN PRESS. Reading Festival 2010. RE: so this less commerical Reading. April 2012. Available from: Bob Hazlett, 2009. Social networking statistics and trends. April 2012. Available at: Richard A. Krueger, 1994. Focus Groups second edition, A practical guide for applied research. London: Sage Publications. Kevin Boone, 1992. How to conduct a survey [online] 6 [viewed 15 April 2012] Available from: Webcredible, 2012. Focus Groups- How to run them? [viewed 13 April 2012] Available from:

A research portfolio on the PR consequences of broadcasting a live event on YouTube  

A research portfolio on the PR consequences of broadcasting a live event on YouTube