Sky CEO: TV Viewership Affects Climate Change

Sky CEO Dana Strong is asking broadcasters to work together to reduce carbon emissions across consumer households.

Speaking Nov. 1 at the United Nations’ 26th Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, Strong said 70% of respondents of a Sky survey would be willing to change their behavior to address climate crisis, according to data from a joint study with Behavior Insights Team.

Using behavioral science techniques, Sky and BIT, in a report, identified ways broadcasters and content creators could help their viewers take action on reducing their carbon footprint.

Indeed, an estimated 4.3 billion people globally watch TV content on different devices for an average of 2 hours, 54 minutes a day, according to Sky.

The study found 80% of people across Europe support the idea of broadcasters using content and advertising to encourage people to adopt more environmentally positive habits. Of those asked, 75% support TV broadcasters encouraging viewers to think about the environment, whether that’s through documentaries, advertising or increasing the coverage of environmental issues in the news.

“At Sky we have set out our pathway to achieve net zero carbon, but we know this alone will not be enough,” Strong said.

The executive said broadcasters have a role and responsibility to encourage lifestyle changes that address the climate crisis. At the same time, many respondents said they are unsure how to make lifestyle changes to reduce their carbon impact. In fact, only 16% of respondents said they knew what to do to act sustainably, while just 20% said they know how to recycle or save energy at home.

“This means that for the first time we have empirical evidence demonstrating [the need that] creative industries work together to deliver the behavior change required to meet our net zero ambitions,” Strong said.

Strong’s comments are noteworthy because Comcast-owned Sky is Europe’s largest satellite TV operator with 23 millions subscribers. The media giant and its subsidiary also just launched a line of branded “Glass” HDTVs marketed as conduits to the internet and streaming video.

David Halpern, CEO of BIT, said people’s attitudes are significantly shaped by the media they consume. They also expect and encourage broadcasters to do more to educate and inspire viewers to do their bit for the environment.

“We hope this report will provide broadcasters with actionable and evidence-based insights on how they can do their bit to avert the climate crisis,” Halpern said.