Monday, February 27, 2017

Wrong envelope ?

Getting things the wrong way round moves to the UK tonight. At 10pm on ITV, David Walliams will follow Broadchurch 3 with the first Nightly Show, and News at Ten becomes, in the official ITV schedule, simply "ITV News", at the later time of 10.30pm for at least eight weeks.

The gamble belongs to Kevin Lygo, Director of TV at ITV.  Last year the original News at Ten averaged 1.8m viewers. "We underperform in the commercial sense in the 10 o’clock hour,” Lygo tells The Guardian. "Not only do fewer than a million tune in to the channel at 10.30 but those viewers are “not young”.  Lygo is in part looking to the USA, where ABC's Late Night News does rather well after the big gun chat shows, and against the second-leaguers, like Seth Meyers and James Corden. But he's also acknowledging the current strength of News at Huw.

“I think our News at Ten is rather brilliant and it frustrates me that every night four to one people watch the BBC instead. The truth is that when you’re up against the 50-times resourced juggernaut of BBC1 news you won’t get more viewers.”

I suspect Andrew Pierce, in the Daily Mail, has slightly over-written "Newsnight under the axe ?", but it also faces a squeeze if Lygo does shift the news ecology. The Mail puts Newsnight's average audience at 550,000. The Katz Curate's-Egg-of-a-Show needs, and gets,a little trail within the BBC1 bulletin, just before the regional news section, which has nibbled away at the declining Newsnight audience.

If Lygo's scheme works, there's a chance Newsnight will be permanently scheduled against the main evening ITV News, unless BBC Director of News James Harding blinks. Harding is right to consider his options. "Slow News" could be a way out - move to 11pm for an hour and nick the paper review off the News Channel. Fewer viewers, but a bigger slice of the BBC2 budget.

1 comment:

  1. Back in 1980 when it started Newsnight's viewing figure was so low that some wag suggested that it would be cheaper to turn off the BBC2 transmitters and post the show out to viewers on a VHS tape.

    After a few months with not much improvement it was time for a morale boosting meeting of all staff involved where viewing figures were again released. Still fairly dire "but when Newsnight followed snooker they were much higher".

    Voice from back of room "so why not show more snooker instead?"


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