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  • Louise McCahery

Big Jet TV: In the eye of a media storm

There are certain things we can expect when a storm is on the horizon: disruption to transport, toppled wheelie bins and even a few stray trampolines. But a break-out YouTube star?

If you’ve been online in the past few days you may have heard of Big Jet TV. Created and ran by aviation enthusiasts Jerry Dyer and Gilly Prestwood, Big Jet TV is a YouTube channel specialising in live streaming the duo’s plane spotting adventures. With cameras pinned on incoming flights at UK airports, host Jerry provides informative and frequently amusing commentary – giving facts about the plane model, the flight’s journey and the industry as a whole.

While at first glance this concept may not be many people’s cup of tea, but many spent much of their Friday glued to their screens, invested in whether that Qatar A380 flight would finally be able to nail the landing. The channel peaked at about 200,000 viewers tuning in at any one point – with potentially hundreds of thousands more tuning in and out throughout the day. Storm Eunice hit the UK on Friday 18th February, and the chaotic windy conditions created difficult conditions for pilots landing at London Heathrow airport, but excellent conditions for Big Jet TV to go viral. Viewers watched as flights battled the >80mph gusts to touch down at Heathrow’s runway, and as the day progressed, Jerry and the team garnered fame for their endeavours.

Within hours the channel was trending online and being sought out as story segments for news channels around the world. Articles from throughout Europe and the USA have since emerged, indicating that Big Jet TV’s reach really did travel the world. This ascension to stardom occurred live on screen for all to see. The day started out as a regular live stream for the channel, but slowly unfolded to be something more. Much to the growing audience’s amusement, we also witnessed the story of Jerry beginning to receive calls from press looking for interviews, and even some arriving to the site at Heathrow to try and capture the social media sensation. A true showman however – Jerry continuously cut off journalists to make sure that incoming flights were given the spotlight, and the viewers continued to receive high-quality content despite the exceptional circumstances unfolding around them.

Such an explosion of popularity was unexpected, but the figures don’t lie! On just Friday 18th February alone, Big Jet TV was mentioned on social media a whopping 40,752 times, with their Twitter account now having a possible reach of over 500 million people. And it wasn’t just viewers jumping on the bandwagon, brands also took to creating their own content! Here’s some of our favourite Big Jet TV content so far:

Will Big Jet TV be long lasting in its popularity or be a trend reflecting an unreplicable moment in time? Either way, it goes to show the power of social media. Trends can focus on even the most niche subjects and within hours change the lives of those at the centre of them. While it is difficult to predict viral trends, it’s occurrences like this that show the importance of social media within any brand’s marketing roster. Using social as a tool can allow you to connect to a potential audience you may never have known you had, and would never have found offline.

Whether it’s hospitality, retail, B2B, or even plane spotting live streaming – an audience of thousands could be waiting on the other side of the screen.


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