television's impact revolution
How Streaming Services AND Media Networks are Leveraging Content for Social Change
Over the past 15 months, as we found ourselves with altered lifestyles and a new “daily normal” through the pandemic, spending weekends with a good ‘TV binge and chill’ became an increasing trend for people all over the country and world. In the first half of 2020 alone, Netflix saw an added 25 million subscribers.
It’s clear the market for streaming services has surged, with a reported 37% increase in 2020. The sector landed on every growing category list, despite the pandemic’s negative impact on so many verticals and businesses across the nation.
Increasingly, we see new unique content being promoted and distributed alongside initiatives to address social issues tying into series’ themes. As nonprofit partnership leaders seek to identify unique and innovative partnership potential, and purpose-driven brands seek alternative B2B opportunities to subsequently drive impact, consider how this sector is making moves in advancing social impact and collaborative opportunities for your brand to reach hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide. Check out Rocket’s purpose-driven content activation examples below.
13 reasons why
- The show featured a companion site linking to mental health resources and a hotline, as well as an after show titled “Beyond the Reasons”
- Featured commentary from mental health experts & unique PSAs and content warnings directly from the cast to help young viewers who were negatively impacted by the heaviness of the first season separate fiction from reality
- Partnership with Scholly (scholarship app) on Scholarship Fund to give away $50kin college scholarships, divided into 10 grants for students who have demonstrated leadership in mental health awareness and advocacy and other areas of student wellness
- In partnership with Instagram, Netflix launched a weekly chat series, titled Wanna Talk About It?, with 13 Reasons Why and other teen network talent, as well as nonprofit experts (e.g. Trevor Project, Mental Health America) to discuss mental wellness & self-care in April 2020
Sexual Assault, Trauma
- Netflix partnered with RAINN to provide resources for viewers who are working through situations of assault
- Prior to the show’s pilot release, RAINN aired a two-minute video featuring content from the show, statistics on women and intimate partner violence and information on the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which is operated by RAINN
orange is the new black
- The show launched the Poussey Washington Fund alongside Netflix and GoFundMe in July 2019 (based on one of the show’s main characters) to help support criminal justice reform
- The fund supports 8 nonprofits, many of which are run by formerly incarcerated women, to provide support to organizations focusing on social justice policy and mass incarceration
- Nearly $500k was raised in support of the 8 selected nonprofits
- The documentary launched a profile series, in partnership with GLAAD, highlighting transgender individuals that were a part of the production crew to give a voice to transgender people in the film industry
- The series was launched as part of Transgender Awareness Week in November 2020
- The show’s creator, Ava Duvernay, launched an education initiative called Array 101 to provide educational resources to students about social justice and advocacy. Content available for download
- The guide includes an interactive section, featuring 8 project-based, field study lessons that invite students to create news stories around the Exonerated Five case using public data analysis
- The initiative includes supplemental learning materials and interactive lessons for students in 9th grade and up
- For 2019’s World Mental Health Day, HBO launched the “It’s Okay” Campaign to destigmatize conversation around mental health
- The campaign features videos with commentary from HBO actresses and actors who play characters struggling with mental health issues
- Select episodes initiated with “bumpers”- a note on which mental health issues are depicted in that episode, along with contact information for NAMI (the National Alliance of Mental Illness)
- HBO also launched “Doctors’ Commentaries,” a feature where mental health professionals discuss scenes in shows including Girls, Euphoria, and The Sopranos, to provide education and normalization
- The show made a hotline and campaign landing page that provides 24/7 support from trained professionals to individuals in crisis or stressful situations
- The show aligned with over 8 national nonprofits, highlighting their resources for those facing addiction and mental health challenges, including GLAAD, JED Foundation, Trans Lifeline, Trevor Project, and more
- The show features a disclaimer and mental health PSA about substance abuse at the beginning and end of each episode
- The PSA directs viewers to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Police Brutality, Racism
- The show publishes conversations with cast members about their opinions of social justice in America to provide visibility to the struggles of BIPOC individuals and the flaws in America’s criminal justice system
- The show opens with a content warning and ends with a link to teacher-resources.com, a website created by FX in collaboration with the anti-sexual violence organization RAINN
- The site features sexual assault education, PSA videos from the actors, and hotline resources to validate and support those who have experienced assault
We believe in the power of purposeful brands to change lives & the world.
That’s why we get up each morning with a fire in our bellies to help brands and causes unlock their potential, activate their opportunity and share their story.
We’re a social purpose agency specializing in helping emerging brands develop, implement and communicate their social impact.
Melanie NewellSenior Vice Presidentmelanie@rocketsocialimpact.com Jillian DoaneResearch Associatejillian@rocketsocialimpact.com