Friday, July 14, 2017

Sharing platter

The shifting alliances between big news organisations in the Anglosphere are interesting and not always straightforward. Earlier this year BBC News announced it was ending a newsgathering co-operation deal with US ABC News that had been in place since 1994. It gave the BBC access to ABC pictures - and in recent weeks there were some tensions, with old cutting habits dying hard and new copyright payments needed.

Did it break because the BBC could see yesterday's deal with CBS on the horizon ?  All a bit odd: ABC is owned by Disney, and the Head of News is Brit James Goldston, married to BBC presenter/reporter Laura Trevelyan. Until last November, former Beeboid Jon Williams was running ABC News' foreign operations. Recently ABC poached reporters Ian Pannell and James Longman from Auntie. Despite that. over two decades since the deal was first struck, ABC News has become more populist, and carries fewer overseas stories. CBS is a bit more serious (and in third place in the evening news rankings).

The new arrangement is described as 'cost-neutral' by the BBC (The Mail says it is "giving away news"). Over the BBC/ABC deal, ABC often relied entirely on BBC coverage for Iraq. When cost-neutral runs closer to 'sharing' there may be opportunities for savings on both sides in years to come.

Meanwhile Ofcom and Karen Bradley might like to note that the BBC/CBS deal means an instant break of the CBS/Sky News deal which goes back to the start of Sky News in 1989. Sky used to bolster its overnight schedules with CBS News bulletins - has someone said that there should be more sharing with 'sister channel' Fox News ? Is that in the paper-work ?

In May, NBC struck a $30m deal to buy 25% of Lyon-based Euronews - which will be rebranded as EuronewsNBC, and looked after by Deborah Turness (formerly of ITN) for NBC. NBC has a UK partnership with ITN.

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