Tom Harrington was quoted in an article on the Great British Bake Off, which reaches the biggest young audience for TV series this year. Bake Off’s move from the BBC to Channel 4 was controversial and the latest series has also attracted criticism because one of the contestants. But the latest viewing figures suggest Channel 4’s decision to spend £75m on showing the programme for the next three years has paid off. These figures make Bake Off the biggest Channel 4 series since Big Fat Gypsy Weddings in 2011 and also the biggest series for 16 to 34-year-olds on any channel this year. Tom said “it has been a great success, outdoing most expectations both critically and in terms of viewership with the final likely to be the most watched show on the channel in the past 15 years. That’s pretty impressive when you take general viewership decline into account. It’s quite rare for a programme to move channels when at its peak. Big Brother was in decline when it moved to Channel 5, but even there it provides great value for that channel, along with Neighbours, which had experienced great popularity on the BBC”. He added “of course it is difficult to track those titles that move to the SVODs [subscription video on demand, such as Netflix], such as Black Mirror, Ripper Street or The Grand Tour, as viewing information is not released, but it would be fair to say that viewing on those platforms is still very small when compared with linear television [such as BBC and Channel 4]”.
Tom Harrington was quoted in an article on Apple who has hired Jay Hunt, former controller of BBC One and chief creative officer of Channel 4, to join its video team. Ms Hunt was responsible for TV shows including Sherlock and Luther at the BBC before helping Channel 4 sign up the Great British Bake Off. Her title at Apple will be creative director, Europe, worldwide video. Tom said "it seems like Apple is going for a worldwide push already, even though it hasn't yet made much headway in the US. Jay Hunt is exceptional in the commissioning space. She's exceptional at finding programmes that fit the outlet she's working at. He added “she could have worked anywhere she wanted".
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on the presentation he held at the Press Gazette’s Digital Journalism Summit. Douglas highlighted that small and medium size businesses are now spending more with Facebook than they are with local newspapers. He said that this switch had happened in the space of just a few years, overturning a business model which has sustained journalism for centuries. He also noted that the rate of decline in newspaper circulations is accelerating because of the rise of smartphones. He said “Smartphones interrupted the news bundle much more than the desktop experience. Adding that “older demographics and demographics more likely to read popular newspapers are adopting smartphones. As a result the decline in print is accelerating”. He said that whereas the average length of time spent with a newspaper is 36 minutes per day, only the BBC website achieves more than an hour per month with its readers. He estimated that Facebook now delivers two thirds of the traffic to some news websites and said that Google and Facebook now account for a majority of the traffic to most news websites.
Alice Enders was quoted in an article on Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment scandal, which is causing more headaches for 21st Century Fox’s 11.3 billion pound bid to take full control of U.K. cable network Sky Plc. Revelations that U.S.-based Fox News renewed O’Reilly’s contract after he settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for $32 million came just a month after Britain’s culture secretary asked competition regulators to review the takeover. Alice said that U.S. settlements are generally much larger than those in Britain in regard to sexual harassment cases, so that alone would not change the situation. She said “we’re not at a point that we’re looking at something that is going to be the smoking gun”, adding that the O’Reilly revelations and the eye-watering sum will simply “reinforce existing impressions on questions of corporate governance issues”.
The Premier league (PL) will be hoping for another huge increase in rights payments in the upcoming auction for the three seasons starting 2019/20
Aggressive competition between BT Sport and Sky has led to hyperinflation of most premium sports rights. Sport now accounts for two thirds of multichannel content spend, but only 8% of its viewing
BT’s current financial position makes it difficult to justify expansion or further hyperinflation of its PL rights portfolio, but it cannot withdraw completely
Matti Littunen was quoted in an article on Facebook, which is testing a major change that would shift non-promoted posts out of its news feed, a move that could be catastrophic for publishers relying on the social network for their audience. A new system being trialled in six countries including Slovakia, Serbia and Sri Lanka sees almost all non-promoted posts shifted over to a secondary feed, leaving the main feed focused entirely on original content from friends, and adverts. Matti said the move was “the classic Facebook playbook: first give lots of organic reach to one content type, then they have to pay for reach, then they can only get through to anyone by paying”. He said that many “premium” publishers had already cottoned on to the trend, and backed off relying too strongly on social media. But new media companies, who rely on social media to bring in traffic and revenue, would be wounded, perhaps fatally, by the switch. Matti added that “the biggest hits will be to the likes of Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and Business Insider, who create commoditised content aiming for the biggest reach”.
Douglas McCabe was quoted in an article on the future of magazines. The combined revenues from cover sales and advertising for the UK’s magazines have fallen by 8 per cent since 2012 from £2.4bn to £2.2bn, and will fall a further 18 per cent to £1.8bn by 2021. Digital growth simply isn’t replacing declines in print ads and circulation, and by 2022 the market will be almost a quarter smaller than it was a decade before. Nonetheless, for the first time in years, there is optimism that it might be possible to retrieve some of the digital ad growth that has been dominated by Google and Facebook. However, Douglas is more sceptical, saying magazines can’t just expect the money to come flowing back in. He said “part of the problem is that a lot of online magazines are just replicating what everyone else is doing online. Publishers need to go back to some quite fundamental business decisions about what their brand might mean in a digital space. What can they do that no one else can?”.
Enders Analysis report “Google’s golden age of search”, written by Alice Enders and Matti Littunen, was quoted in an article in Campaign. Matti and Alice reported that Google's core business in search is bigger than ever and has never innovated faster. They said "commentary questioning Google’s relevance and future advertising clout feel misplaced to us". While some have questioned Google's ability to survive in a mobile-first world, Enders Analysis finds that mobile has "supercharged" Google's core business. Central to Google's success has been its ability to adapt and respond to the different types of answers people seek when they search. The company has evolved its product into a modular system of information units designed to support every type of connected device. The report, Google’s golden age of search, said "these are dynamically combined and arranged to fit the screen and user context, meaning that not only is mobile search an entirely different experience from that on desktop, but even within mobile the search results for different types of queries will result in vastly different layouts".
Google has beaten Facebook in mobile revenue growth, and competes successfully in retail search with Amazon
Intelligent user interfaces based on machine learning have become a core competitive strength, with social and messaging the main remaining weak points
Rising political pressure due to Google’s growing scale and influence is now a bigger concern than commercial risk, as the threat of regulatory intervention limits strategic options in partnerships, M&A and integration
21CF’s bid for 100% ownership of Sky has been referred for a Phase 2 investigation to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which will decide by 6 March 2018
Third parties Avaaz and Ed Miliband MP complain of the influence of the Murdoch Family Trust (MFT) and family members over the UK’s news agenda and political process
A remedy could insulate Sky News from this influence. The offer of a Sky News Editorial Board at Phase 1 was refused. Third parties will ensure the debate in Phase 2 is very lively