Cracking the Code: What’s the Value of Behind-The-Scenes Content for a Science Series like KQED’s Deep Look?

Thursday, October 29, 2020
Resource Type:
Research Case Study | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Broadcast Media, Websites, Mobile Apps, and Online Media
Adults | Museum/ISE Professionals | Scientists
General STEM
Access and Inclusion: 
Women and Girls
KQRD, Inc., KQED, Inc., Texas Tech University, School of Media and Communication

For an award-winning, public media YouTube science and nature series like KQED’s Deep Look, which delights its audiences by exploring unusual, tiny animals and plants up-close in ultra-high definition, how do you quantify and assess the value of different kinds of behind-the-scenes content when your original short videos are so fantastic at engaging your target audience?

Below is a summary of the key findings of the behind-the-scenes survey.  Attached is the full report.

1. The measurable benefits of appending a fully produced behind-the-scenes video to a Deep Look episode appear to exist primarily among individuals outside Deep Look’s target audience (science-curious individuals). Women low in science curiosity who watched the produced BTS content rated Deep Look as more authentic and demonstrated greater engagement than women of similar science curiosity who only watched the original episode. On the other hand, men low in science curiosity who watched the original episode perceived Deep Look as more authentic than watching the episode with the appended produced BTS video. There was no difference in feelings of connectedness, perceptions of authenticity, or engagement among individuals with high science curiosity.

2. A short behind-the-scenes slideshow may be a resource-efficient way of increasing engagement not only among Deep Look’s traditional audience (highly science-curious men), but also among two very different audiences—women who are science curious and those who are not. Highly science-curious men who watched the Deep Look episode with the appended BTS slideshow reported greater perceived authenticity than men of similar science curiosity who viewed only the original episode. Highly science-curious women were greatly engaged in both conditions. Women indifferent to science who were in the BTS slideshow condition, too, were more engaged than similar women who saw only the original episode.

3. Appending unproduced BTS content (i.e., raw BTS video) to a Deep Look episode does not score as high among science-curious women compared to viewing just the original episode. Women high in science curiosity perceived the episode with the attached unproduced BTS video as less authentic and demonstrated lower engagement than similar science-curious women who viewed only the standalone Deep Look episode.

4. Overall, people who are more science curious report feeling more connected with the series, report perceiving the series to be more authentic, and demonstrate greater engagement with the content than people who are less science curious, regardless of whether BTS content was added or not.

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Team Members

Sue Ellen McCannPrincipal Investigator
Sevda ErisSevda ErisCo-Principal Investigator
Asheley LandrumAsheley LandrumCo-Principal Investigator
Sarah MohamadSarah MohamadProject Manager
Othello RichardsOthello RichardsAuthor

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