While Tobes distracts his readers by claiming “it might be right-of-centre but there's nothing racist about it” about Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) while missing that FNC’s top rated host Tucker Carlson has been shamelessly plugging the Great Replacement Theory - beloved of white supremacists - the real news about GB News is that, advertiser boycott or no, it needs to pull in viewers to remain viable.
The viewer numbers envisaged were mentioned in an article by Adam Sherwin for iNews early last month, along with how they might be monetised: “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’ … could pay a fee of £5 a month for the privilege”. There was more.
It was conceded that “GB News, which will air on Freeview, Sky and all other main platforms, cannot rely on advertising revenue alone”. However, “The channel believes it can improve on the daily audience of about 110,000 viewers a day which watches Sky News”. Improve on it to the extent of having 135,000 paying “superfans”.
But, as I pointed out at the time, 135,000 people stumping up £5 a month will only generate around £8 million a year, and GB News probably needs around £30 million a year to remain afloat. And, as presenter Victoria Derbyshire has revealed, the viewing figures for last Friday - after the launch night novelty had worn off - make grim reading.
GB News’ breakfast offering that day drew an audience of 56,000, fewer than Sky News Breakfast, fewer than 10% of ITV Good Morning Britain’s audience, and around 4% of that for BBC Breakfast. Worse still, Brazier & Muroki, GB News’ mid-morning offering, drew a paltry 36,000 viewers. Even the claimed 100,000 plus for former Murdoch editor Andrew Neil’s evening hour was short of that dreamed-of 135,000 figure.
Worse, some of those viewing are only doing so to record the gaffes, or monitor the advertisers as part of behind-the-scenes lobbying to suggest that those advertisers plug their wares elsewhere. Worse still, there has not yet been any effort to make the all-important pitch to those thus far mythical “superfans” for £5 a month subscriptions.
And yet worse is the suggestion that the advertiser exodus has continued, but with those pulling their advertising doing so with little or no fanfare, so as to avoid the welter of abuse and even menace thrown at them by the right-wing press - and Brillo himself.
There is, of course, a solution to shortfalls in viewer engagement and advertising revenue: those who already sank £60 million into GB News can just sink a little more.
Where have all the viewers gone, [not so] long time passing … where have all the viewers gone, far, far away. GB News’ campaign is developing not necessarily to its advantage.
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