Friday, August 29, 2014

World dominance

It's often hard to be sure you're comparing like with like in online statistics. New research by Comscore gives advert-supported 73.4m unique browsers around the world, up 30% from 2012, and very close to overtaking, at 73.6m.

The release says that year-on-year growth in the United States is 16%, moving up to 4th place. The whole chart is not shared - where lies the Daily Mail in all this ?

Alexa stats, which measure things differently, suggest the CNN/BBC battle may be in the classroom - the BBC site has twice the national average of users at "school/college", with CNN only 50% above average.

Standing room only

Sky News Tonight, launching on Monday, 7pm-9pm, brings the touchscreen from sport to news. One might think that Adam Boulton might be happier sitting down for two hours each night - but there's clearly not much space in their bijou Westminster studio...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's the content, silly.....

A new cadre of strategists seems under construction in James Purnell's immensely brainy wing of the BBC - trying to get their head round tricky stuff like "content" for Charter Renewal.

There's a new ad for "Head of Strategy News Group", presumably to sit above the existing local, national and global strategists (yet, spookily, only graded at Band 11). The successful candidate will report both to James Harding, Director of News, and a post which I hadn't clocked til now - Controller of Content Strategy.

He or she will "support them in devising a refreshed editorial strategy which transforms the offer to audiences for the next Charter." And there's me thinking they'd worked that out already...

Constructive feedback

Both listeners and staff, it appears, have earned the show a partial reprieve. There'll be two slots a week, Wednesday and Saturday, from next April, as opposed to the current weekday, UK tea-time outing. After cancelling it altogether in July, grand global fromage Peter Horrocks has thought on and emailed thus: "In the light of comments from listeners and suggestions from many of you in World Service Group, I have reconsidered... The purpose underlying World Have Your Say, and the innovation and editorial ambition it routinely displays, merits a continuing place on the output of World Service English......I have long been an admirer of World Have Your Say. It has been a pioneer in transforming the relationship with our audience and you can see this result across our output."

"Thank you to the team for their constructive feedback and their continued professionalism as they’ve undergone uncertainty."

An unusual result at the modern BBC. Now, let's see what happens to BBC3 and live shows overnight on Radio 2...

Deal or no deal

It's hardly a vote of confidence when 1,000 out of your 7,500 staff ask to see what you'd pay them to leave. Those are the stats revealed to the unions in the latest set of job cuts at BBC News. 472 have confirmed that they want to be considered for voluntary redundancy - that's against 415 post closures, some of which may be job shares etc - and 266 twinkly new jobs being created to deliver the shiny new digital future.


Finally, a berth for former BBC CFO Zarin Patel, at the international headquarters of the Grass Roots organisation in Station Road, Tring.

The company offers "employee solutions, customer engagement, promotions and incentives, and meetings and events" to some big clients - Santander, Vodafone, Chanel, Microsoft and Deloittes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ambulance chasers

There was a wide range of mischievous Tweeting last night on the Kate Bush comeback concert. It looks like at least one fooled the Newshour team on the World Service. They'll let me know if it wasn't them...


He may have struggled to ride the bucking bronco that is the BBC, but Lord Patten, it seems, has now sufficiently regenerated to take on bigger issues.

In October, he lectures to the Oxford Martin School on "What happens when the world loses the habit of co-operation ?"

Despite our extensive knowledge of the major challenges the world faces during coming decades, impasse exists in global attempts to address economic, climate, trade, security, and other key issues. The Chancellor will examine the implications of this gridlock, drawing on the work of the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations, of which he is a member, as well as experiences from his distinguished political and diplomatic career.

Meanwhile Alan "No win, no fee" Yentob is also girding his loins for the Michaelmas Term. He'll be interviewing Jessye Norman at the end of September as part of the Blenheim Palace Literary Festival. Jessye was Alan's one-record-only on Desert Island Discs, performing Richard Strauss' Beim Schlafengehen. The day before, in the rather more louche surroundings of the Curzon Soho, he hosts a Q&A with director Gracie Otto, about her film The Last Impresario. It's a film which features the thoughts of Alan Yentob.

Gracie's next film will be called Girls In Hotels.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Shades of grey

So much for the newsroom wisdom of ages. CNN and HLN in the States are offering exit deals to over 55s with ten years' service under their belts. The offer excludes on-air talent.

And then, once they've gone, there are more cuts to come.

Monday, August 25, 2014


The BBC leaders' debate tonight sees the Battle of The Eyebrows on BBC1 in Scotland, whilst BBC2 in Scotland shows Coast and Live at the Apollo. In the rest of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, you have to turn to BBC2 for the debate, whilst BBC1 shows a Miranda repeat and New Tricks. No, I don't know why it's like that either...

Other people who read this.......