Bonacchi C, Furneaux C & Pett D (2012) Public Engagement Through Online TV Channels: A Way Forward For The Audiovisual Communication Of Archaeology?. In: Bonacchi C (ed.) Archaeology and Digital Communication. Towards Strategies of Public Engagement. London: Archetype Publications, pp. 50-65. https://archetype.co.uk/our-titles/archaeology-and-digital-communication/?id=155
This paper assesses the relationship between the public and archaeology within a rapidly evolving world of communication, where the increasingly dominant position of the Internet is changing the
role of television.
The first part of the paper examines the ways in which digital technologies have changed the media environment and, in particular, the televisual communication of archaeology, over the past decade, in Britain. The analysis is based on audience figures of archaeology-themed TV series and one-off programmes, and on other statistics
regarding the use of digital and online platforms and of mobile technology. It is argued that, in the United Kingdom, opportunities for screening archaeology on both terrestrial and digital channels have diminished. Such opportunities will be likely to decrease even further in the future, due to increasing competition that is affecting the TV world and is diversifying its (once) mass audiences. In this scenario, however, the Internet opens up new possibilities for engagement.
The second section of this paper compares two different forms of online audio-visual communication: 1) that of strongly-branded online TV channels and 2) the one of shorter-term and/or more discontinuous web-based video communication. The discussion is based on the analysis of specific case studies, investigating the ways in which they have been designed and used.
The conclusion highlights that strongly-branded online TV channels are more visible and effective, not only in terms of public engagement (audience attraction and provision of satisfying experiences), but also their contribution towards a more sustainable future for the archaeological sector.