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Tuesday 4 May 2021

Brillo Begging Bowl Brandished

It seems that alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is not the only one apparently attempting to solicit donations for the benefit of Himself Personally Now: the people at Press Gazette, apparently more keen than anyone else to talk up new TV News entrant GB News, have brought us a most interesting admission.

It’s been known for some time that Gammon Broadcasting™ (“Bacon’s News Channel”) had a potentially flawed funding model: advertising alone would most likely not pay to keep the show on the road, and unlike Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) there was no chance of the subscription revenue that keeps FNC afloat. Or was there?

Adam Sherwin at iNews has been on the case, revealing “intriguing new details of the financing plan for GB News that will help claw back the channel’s £60m start-up costs. Under the proposals, ‘superfans' will pay a monthly subscription fee giving them bonus content including access to star presenters on the soon-to-launch challenger to the BBC”.

There was more. “The GB News business model envisages turning its audience into a ‘community’, which will pay a monthly fee to access additional content behind a digital paywall … Insiders believe around 135,000 ‘superfans’, sharing [Andrew] Neil’s belief that the BBC and Sky News are ‘out of touch’ could pay a fee of £5 a month for the privilege”.

Sherwin cautions “GB News, which will air on Freeview, Sky and all other main platforms, cannot rely on advertising revenue alone. The live UK audience for rolling news is limited”. So how is the circle to be squared? “GB News will focus on talk radio-style chat led by a provocative line-up of presenters [and this way] The channel believes it can improve on the daily audience of about 110,000 viewers a day which watches Sky News”.

And as Fred Flintstone might have put it, hold it … HOLD IT! Let’s do some of those back of the envelope quick and dirty calculations: all those presenters and pundits, along with the probably hundreds of support staff, the studios and equipment, the publicity budget, all the costs of getting on air - the estimate of £30 million a year begins to sound accurate.

All those “Superfans”, should there be 135,000 of them, and should they all be prepared to stump up £5 a month, that would bring in around £8 million a year. Where’s the other £22 million coming from, let alone the £60 million quoted for start-up costs? Advertising? With campaigners ready to jump on the first mis-step? And an untested product?

Press Gazette point out that this “mimics Fox News which has started offering its most enthusiastic viewers access to extra programming via streaming for $5.99 per month”. But FNC is a long-established brand with the clout of the Murdoch empire behind it. GB News is not. Also, what will the paywalled “extra content” consist of?

Will there be an outtakes reel? Perhaps the overrated hosts and pundits will be seen talking over the day’s “news” and telling one another how wonderful they are? But if there is anything worthwhile in that - and it’s a big if - it will only need a few subscribers to record it and stick it on YouTube - so everyone can see it without paying anything.

But good of GB News to admit that they have money worries. We’ve already got one TalkRADIO. And that’s free to view. The begging bowl no longer looks all that brill, Brillo.

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Jez Box said...

"Will there be an outtakes reel?"

Literally crying with laughter!

Anonymous said...

A "provocative line-up".

Full on far right bullshit.

But who's going to be mug enough to subscribe for the same lying
shit already spread by the BBC, ITN and Sky Old Media?

Oh, hang on. There's always the bewhiskered Gammons who swallow the Murdoch/Rothermere hemlock every day....

Anonymous said...

'Where’s the other £22 million coming from'

*queue of US right-wing billionaires forms*

J said...

I may be wrong, but I believe that in the UK companies have to pay to get aired... in the US however, cable companies pay to broadcast the shit that is fox (even if no one watches it). So even if you never watch fox, part of your cable bill goes towards fox. The majority of fox's earnings are via this paid for airing, not advertising.

One reason that Murdercock decided not to go for a Gammon Bastard networking deal in the UK is most likely the fact that it would be covered by the regulators (which is why Fox got canned, because it was so one sided - a big nono for news, and nearly as bad for all other programs) which meant he probably knew he'd get canned an lose the licence again. Gammon Bastards Network (who's logo looks like something from a 70's National Front leaflets banner) is going to get so many complaints and kicked so far into conformity (re:balance) that it will end up looking like the output of the BBC so bang goes its alt-reich border line racist selling points.

To use your oft published line (recited non-verbatim; because I can't remember the line exactly): "Gammon Bastards News, it was for a time, but not all time - rejoice at that news."

My money is on it lasting less than a year, then Brillo will piss off to the US permanently or go crawling back to the BBC (assuming he didn't get his marching orders, but interestingly there was no big BBC fanfare at his leaving only at his joining the "Gammon Bastards National Front Network". Fat money grabbing bastards like that hate going quietly into that good night; the lack of attention and adulation would kill him even if he could live richly without the pay).

Unknown said...

Golden Bloopers News is breaching!

Anonymous said...

But I thought capitalism was the savour of everything

Unknown said...

And what millionaire is going to bankroll it when they can get the BBC to do it for nothing?

Mr Larrington said...

My understanding of the demise of Faux “News” in the UK is that once the novelty wore off viewing figures dropped into the low thousands – as in n < 3000 – and thus advertisers were not exactly beating down the doors of Dingovision House to cross the Dirty Digger's hairy palm with silver. I wonder whether Brillo's advisers are being hopelessly optimistic with their projected audience. I certainly hope so.

Jonathan said...

Considering Murdoch's Sky TV was losing big money every year until they got the exclusive TV rights to the new Premier League in 1992 and has had them up until recently and struck gold.

Those TV rights subsidise Sky's other output, problem for Gammon News, it has a very narrow audience and extremely limited advertisers willing to align themselves with bigots, racists & angry white men who aren't likely to buy anything other than alcohol & tobacco,