I work on digital engagement and social media here in Parliament and over the past week I've been asked to look at how we can develop an 'official' PMQs podcast (after some friendly prompting from the team behind the Downing Street Says site).
So what's new?
I've just started putting a podcast of PMQs on our UK Parliament SoundCloud account and you can now subscribe to the official PMQs podcast on iTunes. In the coming weeks I’ll be looking at ways we can further distribute the podcast by linking it up to other directories and subscription services. I’d be interested to hear any suggestions you might have about how we might develop this new service.
The Guardian PMQs podcast stopped in May 2013 and since then the Downing Street Says PMQs podcast has done an excellent job keeping an 'unofficial' service going. We are now trying to establish an 'official' PMQs podcast and integrate this with our other PMQs coverage.
What do users want from a PMQs podcast?
Reading the customer reviews for these other PMQs services gives a good idea about what users want: the PMQs podcast needs to be available quickly (as close to the live broadcast as possible), the service needs to be reliable e.g. no gaps, and the quality of the audio needs to be up to scratch. Let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed.
Since 2011 we’ve been adding a recording of PMQs to the UK Parliament YouTube channel approximately three hours after the live broadcast - and we haven’t missed one yet! We’ll be looking to establish a similar process with the podcast so our intention is for it to become a timely, reliable, high-quality and above all useful service.
PMQs on YouTube
You can watch PMQs live (or catch up later) via Parliament TV but increasingly we've been looking at ways we can get greater reach on the PMQs broadcast. Our YouTube video of Jeremy Corbyn's first PMQs has now been watched around 80,000 times, which is one of the largest audiences we've had for a PMQs video, and we regularly get around 25,000 views.
About 50% of the traffic to our YouTube PMQs comes from within the UK, with the next biggest audience the US (15%). Most traffic occurs on the day the video is posted (30%), then we get about 10% the next day, 5% the day after and then traffic settles at a steady rate of between 500-1,000 views per day for a week or two. However some of our best performing videos have been PMQs from the archives such as Margaret Thatcher’s last PMQs from November 1990 (270,000 views) and Tony Blair’s first PMQs from May 1997 (160,000 views).
Making PMQs more social
In addition to YouTube since March this year we’ve been uploading a video of PMQs straight onto the UK Parliament facebook page. These have also proved popular: Jeremy Corbyn's first PMQs got 75,000 views on facebook. These videos are also open to comment which leads to a significant amount of engagement. Jeremy Corbyn’s first PMQs generated about 1,500 comments and around 5,000 likes.
There’s a huge opportunity for Parliament to make greater use of its video/audio assets and hopefully a PMQs podcast is a step in the right direction. Trying to offer more real-time coverage of events like PMQs via our social media channels e.g. live streaming PMQs via our YouTube channel is the next step I'd like to make. Again I would be interested in hearing your views and ideas. What would you like Parliament to be offering in terms of online video and audio?