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Press office / One in Three Say There Should be More Female Experts on TV and Radio News

  • Two-fifths of people feel there are more male experts than female experts on TV and radio news
  • A third want the number of female experts on TV to increase
  • Experts on TV are more likely to be seen as credible and the best in their field than those in print

Thursday 15th January 2015, London, UK: The UK’s first ever TNS/Broadcast Ready poll reveals that nearly a third of adults (31%) in Great Britain say they would like to see the number of female experts on the news increase. According to the poll of 1,173 British adults, a majority of people (54%) believe there are an equal number of male and female experts on TV and radio news. In reality just one in four (25%) experts on the news are female*.

The poll showed that just two fifths (41%) rightly believe there are more male than female experts on the news. Nearly a third of adults (31%) say they’d like to see more female experts on the news; for female respondents alone that number increased to 36%. Most adults (65%) are happy for the number of female experts to remain the same – but what if women’s under-representation was more widely known?

The poll also found that an overwhelming majority of adults (82%) have no preference over the gender of an expert they see on the news.

The Expert Women campaign has been monitoring gender imbalance on the news for almost three years and has found that just one in four featured experts (25%) are female. However according to the TNS/Broadcast Ready poll public perception does not reflect this. Possible reasons are a conditioned expectation of male experts amongst audiences that has somehow made the audience feel it’s ‘normalised’, or a possible confusion between female presenters/reporters and outside experts.

The TNS/Broadcast Ready poll shows that experts who appear on the TV news are likely to be held in higher regard than those quoted in newspapers. Over a third agree that experts who appear on broadcast news tend to be ‘highly credible’ (36%) and ‘the very best in their field’ (32%). The figures for newspaper-quoted experts were 25% and 23% respectively.

The survey reveals that when assessing an expert’s credibility viewers care most about:

  • The expert’s knowledge of the subject matter
  • How engaging they are when speaking on the news
  • Whether what they say is credible
  • Their impartiality

Factors considered largely irrelevant to the audience include:

  • How good looking they are
  • Their gender
  • Their ethnic background

Kerry Hopkins, Managing Director of Broadcast Ready said: “For a long time I’ve had my own theory that what people think they see isn’t always what is actually truthfully there, and that appears to have been proven today. Only 25% of the experts on the news are female, yet 54% think there are equal numbers of male and female experts on the news and 59% did not notice that 75% of the experts on the news are men. However 41% of the British public did get it right thinking there are more male experts on the news. It would be interesting to see how many of those polled would want more female experts on the news if they knew the truthful figure of one in four are women. However, it’s great news that a third of the British public said they thought the number of female experts on the news should increase. This is what the Broadcast Ready Expert Women campaign is trying to address, by getting more industry male and female experts on the news, with a slant on more Expert Women in order to address this lag and help the needs of broadcasters”.

Kerry Hopkins continued: “Since Broadcast Ready began I am thrilled to announce that 61% of the experts we have helped secure broadcast interviews with have been Expert Women and 39% have been male experts. Government figures** in 2013 show that approximately 28% of the highly skilled workforce is male, whereas about 25% of the highly skilled workforce is female. This means there should be no reason why women shouldn’t approach their Board or PR departments within their organisations, to put themselves forward as being one of the spokespeople for their company. There’s a huge pool of female talent across most industries – it’s just not being reflected on the news.”

The TNS/Broadcast Ready poll findings will be unveiled at around 19:15 hours on Thursday 15th January 2015 at TNS, 6 More Place London, followed by a panel discussion chaired by Kerry Hopkins featuring:

  • Steve Anderson, Managing Director of NBC Peacock Productions
  • Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary, NUJ
  • Naomi Kerbel, Business News Editor, Sky News
  • Matt Barbet, ITN Channel 5 News newsreader
  • Natasha Shallice, Series Producer, ITN ITV The Agenda
  • Professor Lis Howell, Director of Broadcasting, City University London

Notes to Editors

TNS Omnibus interviewed a representative sample of 1,173 adults in Great Britain between 18th and 22nd December 2014. All interviews were conducted as online self-completion. The sample has been weighted to represent the adult population of Great Britain aged 18+.Detailed tables for this survey can be found here:

bit.ly/1DHU83P

* Source: Research from City University London in conjunction with Broadcast magazine

** Source: ‘Full report – Women in the labour market compiled by the Government’s ‘Office for National Statistics (ONS), published on 25 September 2013

About TNS

TNS UK advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world’s consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world. TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy groups.

Broadcast Ready

Broadcast Ready Limited is an independent organisation set up in August 2013 and publicly launched online on the 18th December 2013. It is a newsroom style service that features a video-only database of verified broadcast quality experts. The management have worked at ITN ITV News and BBC TV News as well as having corporate communications experience for the world’s leading companies. The service helps in-house communications teams, PR agencies, experts directly and also organisations without a PR or specialist broadcast media relations’ team.

The professionals at Broadcast Ready have worked at ITN ITV News, BBC News, Channel 4 News, Channel 5 News and Al Jazeera amongst others.

The United Nations’ invited Broadcast Ready to become a Member of their Women Make The News initiative. Broadcast Ready has the support of TV and radio editors looking to increase the number of industry experts on the news, and runs the Broadcast Ready Expert Women campaign where it strives to increase the number of female experts on the news.