ABC's "Nightline" is partnering with the BBC Current Affairs, the news production unit for the British broadcaster, on a series of reports aimed at drawing young viewers online.
The series, called "timesXtwo," looks at a single topic from two points of view. Although production teams from "Nightline" and BBC Current Affairs decide on the story together, there is no collaboration between them on how it will be covered, according to Roxanna Sherwood, executive producer of the late-night ABC News program.
Both segments will run side by side on a "timesXtwo" channel on YouTube, where a growing number of young viewers are going to get news video. Though most of the TV audience for "Nightline" is in the 50-plus age group, 70% of the YouTube users watching the program's clips are younger than 34, according to ABC News.
ABC and BBC came up with the dual story idea after determining that engaging viewers online requires an unconventional approach. The segments are about seven minutes long, using little or no voice-over narration and lots of on-screen text and graphics.
"We wanted to offer something a little less predictable that capitalizes both on the journalism and storytelling of both BBC Current Affairs and ABC News while easy to watch on a mobile device,” she said.
Having two versions of the same topic offers a level of "transparency," which young news consumers also favor, she added. Subject matter will also be aimed at them, including animal tracking, the movement toward micro apartments and cross-dressers.
"Nightline" ran the first "timesXtwo" segment on Wednesday's program, focusing on the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, a foundation-run boat devoted to rescuing migrants and refugees off the coast of Libya.
The ABC production focused on an American millionaire who financed the mission. The BBC version told the story through the eyes of one of the migrants on the boat. ABC and BBC crews watched as 2,500 migrants were rescued by the operation in a single day this month.