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How the uk national media treats renewables


The majority of the British public favour renewables. A YouGov poll in October 2012 revealed that 72% and 55% respectively support greater solar and wind energy development. However, this support is …

The majority of the British public favour renewables. A YouGov poll in October 2012 revealed that 72% and 55% respectively support greater solar and wind energy development. However, this support is not reflected by the UK’s national media - which is consistently negative about renewables.

At CCgroup, a clean tech PR agency, we decided to find out just how bad this negative portrayal of renewables is. We analysed the sentiment of all articles mentioning renewables published by the UK’s top five national newspapers in July 2012 - 138 articles in total.

Over half of the articles published in the month are negative or very negative. But most disconcerting is the renewable energy industry’s lack of voice – less than 10% of articles included a quote or viewpoint from anyone in the renewables community. How can an industry hope for fair treatment in the press when their voice is being systematically ignored?

Our research uncovers the extent of this issue and suggests ways in which renewable energy companies can address the imbalance through better PR - being more vocal, more proactive, and more challenging.

The full report and results are available here:

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  • 1. © 2013 CCgroup How to talk renewables so farmers and landowners listen How the UK national media treats renewables
  • 2. © 2013 CCgroup Support for renewables • A YouGov poll from October 2012 revealed widespread support for renewables • 72 per cent of respondents were in favour of greater solar energy development • 55 per cent stated their support for more wind energy development
  • 3. © 2013 CCgroup • Despite the majority of the public favouring renewables, the media consistently report on renewables negatively • Media coverage consistently fails to reflect the views of the wider population • A democratic deficit has emerged The democratic deficit
  • 4. © 2013 CCgroup Why does this matter? • National media content provides the lens through which the public perceive and understand the world • It plays an important role in setting the tone for political decision making • It can directly affect stakeholders’ commercial confidence in an industry • It determines how strong the ‘voice’ of renewables is and how the industry is portrayed
  • 5. © 2013 CCgroup Worst case scenario • On-going negative coverage erodes public support for renewables • This in turn gives rise to political uncertainty and lack of commitment • Investor confidence begins to decline placing question marks over future investment in the industry and emerging technologies
  • 6. © 2013 CCgroup Our research • To determine mainstream media attitudes we collated all articles on renewables published by the top five national newspapers (by circulation) in July 2012 • 138 articles in total were analysed • We measured the overall sentiment of each article as well as the portrayal of different renewable technologies
  • 7. © 2013 CCgroup Mainstream media attitudes • 51% of analysed were negative or very negative about renewables • Only 21% of articles were positive or very positive • 28% of articles adopted a neutral position • Worryingly, less than 10% of articles included a quote or viewpoint from a spokesperson for the renewables industry
  • 8. © 2013 CCgroup Mainstream media attitudes • Over 80% of renewables coverage analysed was in ‘broadsheet’ titles • Almost 55% of articles in broadsheets about renewables were negative or very negative • Reporting dominated by reactive, negative stories
  • 9. © 2013 CCgroup Mainstream media attitudes • Wind was covered over five times more frequently than solar or marine • Wind was most negatively portrayed, with 58% of articles taking a negative view • Solar & marine were covered less negatively, but failed to register regularly on media’s radar
  • 10. © 2013 CCgroup Evolving communications: Style • Be clear and differentiated Ensure your messages standout, making both the rational and emotional arguments • Educate your audience Teach them something new, valuable and relevant • Get involved Speak up and start telling positive stories about your business • Be Mean Seize, capitalise and amplify pro-industry and anti-competitor news
  • 11. © 2013 CCgroup Evolving communications: Platforms • Earned media Use Inspirational, challenging and educational thought leadership to attract positive attention • Paid for media To achieve high impact, ensure campaigns are closely targeted and avoid one-offs • Owned media Provide intelligent content through owned channels to deliver campaigns that achieve controlled cut-through
  • 12. © 2013 CCgroup How? Demands a team with… • Knowledge of renewables – but with fresh, positive perspective • Expertise communicating commercial communications campaigns in complex, technical environments • Ability to create exceptional, unique content across platforms • Access to a range of complimentary skill-sets • Relationships with traditional and non- traditional influencers
  • 13. © 2013 CCgroup Introducing CCgroup • We are a commercially driven PR & marketing consultancy - founded in 1985 • Our team members have been working in fast growth renewables since 2006 • We work in partnership with a range of CleanTech companies – manufacturers, service providers and VC-backed organisations – to deliver commercial success through campaigns that: • Boost sales • Build value, and • Position for exit
  • 14. © 2013 CCgroup • The full results and analysis of our research can be seen in our whitepaper ‘How the UK national media treats renewables’ • Download it here: renewables • Get in touch! Email us at or call us on 020 7535 7203 Get the full report