GRC Viewpoint

Bridging Gen Z to news via virtual production methods

Attracting the attention of younger viewers has long been a challenge for broadcasters, and in today’s landscape, it’s tougher than ever. With millennials and Generation Z relying heavily on mobile devices, YouTube, and TikTok for entertainment and information, news outlets face the uphill task of engaging this tech-savvy audience without trivializing important stories.

Enter Blinx Digital Media Hub, a recently launched Dubai-based news broadcaster. Debuted in September 2023, Blinx seeks to connect with the youth of the Middle East using a combination of emerging young talent and cutting-edge virtual production techniques. While the channel offers diverse content such as talk shows, investigative reporting, and live broadcasts, its core programming revolves around concise and informative packages.

Despite promoting itself as ‘By the Youth, for the Youth,’ Blinx is strategically led by seasoned professionals in key managerial positions. Nakhle Elgage, former director of news at Middle East Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), serves as the general manager, while Fadi Radi, previously in a similar role at Al Alarabiya news channel, takes on the position of chief creative officer.

Fadi Radi emphasizes Blinx’s unique approach, targeting Generation Z by hiring fresh graduates and individuals with low profiles, and nurturing them into effective storytellers. The focus is on creative storytelling rooted in the lessons learned from the news industry over the years.

In its quest to be digitally native, Blinx partnered with Vizrt to create a futuristic Metaverse Studio. This studio incorporates extended reality (XT) sets, virtual reality (VR) capabilities, and artificial intelligence (AI) enhancements. The use of NDI (Network Device Interface) protocol reflects Blinx’s commitment to digital native operations, although some older technology, such as SDI (Serial Digital Interface), remains part of the setup.

The cloud-based newsroom system, facilitated by 7Mountains DiNA NRCS and the Mimir video collaboration platform, allows journalists and presenters to access the main system from anywhere in the world. This integration of traditional newsroom elements with metaverse techniques ensures credibility, copyright adherence, and fact-checking in Blinx’s content workflow.

Beyond technology, blinx has designed its studio to foster creativity, blending technology with nature. The intention is to create a space where individuals can film freely, surrounded by a natural environment, promoting a comfortable and inspiring workplace.

The success of Blinx in its initial three months, amassing around 700,000 followers, signifies a positive response from the audience. By prioritizing meaningful content and leveraging advanced technologies, Blinx seems to have struck a balance in reaching and resonating with the younger demographic in the Middle East. Far from being disconnected, millennials and Gen Zers in the region are actively seeking information and connection through platforms like Blinx.

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