One problem GB News has yet to overcome is actually launching, which may sound rather like stating the bleeding obvious, but as Press Gazette has noted, “The channel’s launch date has not yet been confirmed … [Andrew] Neil said last year it was aiming for a March 2021 launch but on 18 March the broadcaster said it would be launching ‘later this year’”.
Why should this be? Well, as PG reported in late January, “Andrew Neil’s GB News has launched a recruitment drive for 140 jobs, calling for ‘disruptors and innovators’ who want to help ‘reshape television and digital news’ … Available roles on the 24-hour TV and online news channel … include producers of all levels, video journalists and reporters, technical production journalists, creative journalists and executive assistants”.
She says it ain't worth the candle ...
Maybe that exercise is proceeding not quite as expected? No matter, this was a market so ready to be tapped that the Murdoch mafiosi was readying its own News UK TV channel to compete with GB News. Except, er, it wasn’t: yesterday lunchtime, Jim Waterson at the Guardian brought bad news for devotees of right-leaning news channels.
... so they're sticking with TalkRADIO
“Rupert Murdoch's News UK TV channel has lost its boss David Rhodes, and the team will now be folded in under the company's radio division who do talkRadio, etc. Existing team will be making shows for streaming services and do more professional-style broadcasting of talkRadio”. The Guardian’s follow-up article told why this had happened.
“Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of his News UK company, told staff the enormous cost of getting a television news channel on air meant it did not make business sense to push ahead … Brooks’ declaration that it would not be possible to make a healthy profit from traditional television news will increase attention on the finances of the forthcoming Andrew Neil-fronted GB News channel”. Why might that be?
Well, GB News has raised around £60 million. But the operation could burn through around £40 million a year without subscriber revenue - which it won’t get in the UK, unlike Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) gets in the USA, or, indeed, without significant advertiser revenue, the latter being vulnerable to campaigner attack if the new channel veers off to the right and starts trying to shock in order to attract viewers.
Worse still is the sight of GB News alleged Political Correspondent Tom Harwood, formerly replacement teaboy to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, being reduced to promoting biscuits this week, then later admitting “Something’s got to tick me over until the launch”. Will it turn into Waiting for Godot TV?
Will Gammon Broadcasting turn out to be the mouse that never roared, a white elephant destined to be DOA? It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of irrelevancies.
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