Sunday, February 11, 2007

BBC Once Again Stifling The Media Industry

Good to see Kevin Bakhurst, the BBC News 24 Controller, writing here on the BBC's The Editors about competition being a fine thing for viewers. It is always fun when the word competition is used by an organisation that faces no competitive threats whatsoever due to its position as a taxpayer funded body. Yes, competition is a good thing for the audience, so maybe we can start by leveling the playing field.

Here are his comments:

It emerged late yesterday that from the Spring, if Ofcom approves, Sky News will no longer be available free to viewers on Freeview.

They currently get around 845,000 viewers a week on this platform out of their weekly total of 4 million. For us at the BBC, I think this is a double-edged sword.

Sky have already rather given up on viewing figures as BBC News 24 has moved substantially ahead of them (6 million a week versus 4 million). Whereas, a few years ago audience size was their preferred measure of success, it has now been quietly dropped. The move on Freeview will almost certainly be another big blow to their audience size.

I can fully understand why Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB have taken this decision on commercial grounds alone: you can make money out of movies and sport but not easily from news. However, I do think it's a real shame for TV News coverage in the UK.

We are very fortunate to have two thriving 24-hour TV News channels and I firmly believe competition is a good thing for the audience. Sky's decision will be a bad thing for news audiences, particularly those who can't afford subscription services and choose Freeview for that reason. I would just say that for us at BBC News 24, we put immense value on our audiences and their views - and will continue to do so whatever platform they watch us on.

2 comments:

Praguetory said...

You made it. You were a late entry.

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