Saturday, February 23, 2019

Talk talk

It must be cheap. Radio 4 is looking for another series based on 'conversations', this time to fill a weekday 2300 slot.  We already have the Listening Project, Only Artists, and now Sioned Williams, commissioning editor for comedy wants to try "Comics chatting to each other, or unlikely combinations of people in odd, unexpected places."

The audience profile at that time of night is interesting: average age is 65, and only 14% of the audience are in the Radio 4 target group of 35-54 ABC1s. 

Flixed up

The Times (paywalled) believes the BBC and ITV will announce an joint archive streaming service for the UK next week, to be priced around £5 a month. 

BARB says 11.6m homes already subscribe to either Netflix, Amazon or Now TV - with more than 9 million of them favouring Netflix. There are increasing numbers who subscribe to more than one, and many homes already have Sky or Virgin offerings.

Say 3 million opted for the new BBC/ITV service in the first year. Annual income would be £180m; take off operating costs, advertising fees etc, and the much bigger issue of copyright payments, and you might be looking at £100m, to share 50/50.  The new service devalues UKTV, who in their last full year raised £90m for Auntie, who also received £54m in royalty fees. It's a gamble the BBC needs to get right. Beyond explaining why we need to pay again for programmes we've already funded in previous licence fees.


The BBCs technology contracts have not always run smoothly.  But the joyous video below suggests there's at least a honeymoon period for one bit of the BBC - Studios - and new partner HCL, the global technology giant based in India. All is truly lovely. Stay to the end for the BBC executive who can't remember his job title.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Question answered

Couldn't sleep last night, worrying about 'marketing excellence'. Now I know.

Aussie culture

When BBC managers are back from the ski-slopes next week, they'll be exhorting workers to contribute to a new staff survey. This time, the software comes from Melbourne-based Culture Amp; other clients include McDonalds, Air BnB and Eurostar.

The company's founder is Didier Elzinga, a former CGI specialist who worked on Harry Potter, Batman and more. Now he's apparently 'Puttting Culture First'.  If anyone watches to the end, can they tell me what it's all about ?

Long service

We're still waiting for news of a new BBC Board non-exec, to replace Simon Burke. Mr Burke, an accountant with a retail background, has been a BBC minder in various guises since joining Mark Thompson's Executive Board in 2011. His current portfolio includes The Light Cinema Group and Guernsey-HQ-ed garden centre group, Blue Diamond.

The ad to replace Simon ran in September last year, with interviews in November. Should we be worried ?

All lovely

Nice interview with the Fiennes cousins on their forthcoming National Geographic up-the-Nile documentary on Radio 4's Today this morning.

Editor Sarah Sands forthcoming book on the Queen of Sheba is being published by National Geographic.

Embed from Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01: Sarah Sands and Susan Goldberg attend the 'Women in Photography' dinner, hosted by Editor-in-Chief Susan Goldberg and guest editor Mary McCartney, to celebrate National Geographic magazine's 130th birthday at Farmacy on October 1, 2018 in London, England

Thursday, February 21, 2019


Where else might viewers in Scotland land on Monday at 9pm, when they should be watching "The Nine", the flagship of BBC Scotland ?

ITV offers an hour and a half Long Lost Family special, featuring Edinburgh's own Nicky Campbell. True Entertainment offers Episode 3 of Series 21 of Taggart, with the Glasgow police on the track of a serial killer. Film 4 has True Lies. BT Sport 2 has highlights of the 2018 World Lure Fishing Championships in Rutland.

Sky One has Oscars highlights. Naughty old BBC1 is a little competitive, with the launch of Steve Coogan's new Alan Partridge show at 9.30pm.

Authentic ideator

You get the worrying feeling that BBC Global News is trying really hard to make money through sponsored content.

Here's a new post - a "Content Strategist, BBC Storyworks", which reads like someone who thinks up news-y feature-y ideas for gold-chip companies to fund. The ad contains new assertions about audience figures....

"Over half the global online audience watch or view the BBC on a monthly basis, attracting audiences with vastly differing characteristics. BBC Global News has the unique ability to engage influential, affluent audiences through vivid and authentic storytelling.

It's yet another ad that's avoided the sub. Here's part of the role responsbility...

"Source and utilise market/audience/brand insights and emerging trends in topics and formats to ideate creatively and form original, relevant and commercially viable content propositions, and working with independent editorial teams as appropriate"

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Stand by

As the clock ticks towards Sunday's launch for the new BBC Scotland channel, some factoids for context.

The BBC’s Licence Fee Unit's estimates for evasion show the highest level is in Scotland

33% of viewers in Scotland have a satellite service, such as Sky. 17% use Virgin cable. 32% only have a Freeview DTT service.

BBC iPlayer was the most popular on-demand/streaming service among adults in Scotland in
2018, with 47% claiming to use it. This was followed by Netflix (39%) and the STV Player

The top show in ratings terms in Scotland in 2017 was the semi-final of Strictly, watched by 1.1m. The best performing programme made in Scotland was Hogmanay Live, watched by 861k.

Reporting Scotland, the opt-out on BBC1 at 6.30pm weeknights averages around 450k. STV2 offered a 7pm Scotland bulletin, covering national and international news from April 2017 to May 2018. when the channel closed. Highest audiences were close to 5,000, but on some nights there were insufficient viewers to register any figure at all with BARB.

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