Exclusive: Wildlife filmmaker Patrick Aryee on bringing factual to Gen Z audiences

Patrick Aryee

Factual content creators must “listen and engage” with Gen Z to attract that audience, wildlife filmmaker and TV presenter Patrick Aryee has told TBI here at the Monte-Carlo TV Festival.

Gen Z – those born between 1996 and 2010 – are a sought-after, hard to reach demographic, particularly as a factual audience for docuseries or films, and Aryee, who leads UK-based Abstract Pictures, suggests that reaching them means meeting them on the platforms they already use.

“To be quite frank, I think it’s very simple. We just need to listen to them, engage with them, understand what platforms they are using, and how they communicate,” said Aryee, who is behind titles including Patrick Aryee’s Wild World for Sky, Evolve for Curiosity and 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter for the BBC.

“I think it’s very easy to almost preach from the top down, as opposed to really engaging, getting on the same level as someone and speaking the same language. Once you’re speaking the same language that’s when real communication takes place and you can finally start to understand what they’re doing.”

Aryee said that creators need to engage with this audience on platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok and suggested that those from more traditional broadcast backgrounds work with up-and-coming Gen Z creators to learn from one another.

“What I would love to see is, whether it’s producers, filmmakers, directors, exec producers, journalists… actually empowering those individuals that they want to create content for, utilising them to understand how their generation communicates.”

Patrick Aryee’s Wild World

Serving the public

Aryee said that short form content is a “perfect opportunity to give a bite sized piece of information – little nuggets if you will that act as teasers for why you should watch the long form.”

He explained: “[This] is why I’ve decided to focus on creating my own content on YouTube and being more independent” with a new channel, Ingenious Ideas, launching in the next month or so.

“My opinion is that every creative should have a presence on YouTube. In this day and age, if you don’t have some form of presence on YouTube, your business is simply missing out.”

The filmmaker added that natural history and environmental filmmakers have a huge opportunity to help educate audiences about the issues facing the planet.

“When it comes to the different issues that we’re facing; whether it’s the climate crisis, the lack of clean drinking water, pollution, sustainability, clean energy, as factual content producers, we have a huge responsibility. It’s a huge honour to be able to serve the public, serve our viewers, serve our audience and serve our communities.

Aryee specifically highlighted that if broadcasters and content creators “start looking at the viewers and audiences more as communities, then we can start to build trust with them and create content that has genuine impact.”

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