Northumberland County Council: Tales from Northumberland – Research to assess impact of show on Northumberland visitors

The TV series Tales from Northumberland with Robson Green was broadcast nationally at peak time on ITV.

Robson Green presented the eight part series in which he journeyed through his home county of Northumberland visiting places which inspired him as a child, meeting some remarkable people and exploring some of the county’s magical landscapes and attractions.

The series had the potential to contribute significantly to Northumberland’s growth targets for the visitor economy by encouraging more visitors, enticing them to stay longer, to do more while they are in the county and to spend more. Northumberland County Council commissioned Public Knowledge to evaluate the impact of the series on viewers’ interest in visiting the county, whether it encouraged them to make a visit in the future, or whether it encouraged them to extend a visit they had already planned or booked.

We conducted online interviews with viewers by utilising our in-house online research panel, Panelbase, targeting a sample across the UK (excluding Northumberland itself of course!). Our online panel has over 215,000 registered members and this resulted in 409 interviews.

Respondents were pre-identified as having watched at least one episode of the series. We utilised our in-house mini-poll system to initially identify relevant panellists. This tool is a fast and effective way of reaching the panellists we wish to target.

A questionnaire approximately 8 minutes in length was designed in collaboration between Public Knowledge and Northumberland County Council. As well as asking viewers for their opinions about the content of the show the questionnaire also needed to allow us to gauge the effect of the show on Northumberland tourism.

Key findings:

  • 91% of survey participants agreed that Northumberland is a great place to visit for a short break.
  • 85% of survey participants agreed that Tales from Northumberland with Robson Green encouraged them to find out more about Northumberland.

Top 5 places participants would be most interested in visiting as a result of watching the series:

  • 1: Northumberland Coast – 50%
  • 2: Holy Island of Lindisfarne – 42%
  • 3: Hadrian’s Wall – 40%
  • 4: Bamburgh Castle – 39%
  • 5: Alnwick Castle – 38%

As a result of the programme’s success in raising the profile of the county and the findings of our research, a second series of the programme was commissioned.

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