Industry headlines


22nd - 28th September 2014


September 26, 2014

Jimmy Mulville considered BBC3 TV ‘rescue plan’

Have I Got News For You producer understood to back keeping channel on air after corporation decided to take it online-only Jimmy Mulville, the producer behind shows including Have I Got News For You and Outnumbered, is understood to have considered an audacious plan to “save” the BBC3 TV channel from closure. The corporation is planning to shut the BBC3 TV channel – the first channel closure in its history – in the autumn of 2015 and reinvent it as an online service. A handful of former BBC3 shows would be aired on BBC1 and the online channel. While the details of Mulville’s plans are not clear he is not the only player to spy a potentially viable future for the BBC3 TV channel, or perhaps just its programming content, which targets a commercially attractive youth audience. At least one broadcaster is understood to have held informal talks with the BBC about potential plans to “rescue” the channel or its TV content.

September 26, 2014

Downton Abbey fifth series premiere watched by 8.4 million

ITV period drama opener more than 1 million down on first episode of fourth series, but beats Our Girl on BBC1 on Sunday The premiere of the fifth series of ITV’s Downton Abbey drew an average audience of 8.4 million on Sunday night, the lowest debut since the show’s launch in 2010. Viewing was down more than 1 million compared to the return of the fourth series, which attracted an audience of more than 9.5 million, the period drama’s biggest opening episode. However, in terms of audience share, the year-on-year decline was less pronounced – 38% on Sunday for the 9pm to 10.30pm broadcast against 39.7% for 2013’s debut episode, suggesting there were fewer people overall watching TV on the night than 12 months ago. Last night’s Downton debut had a five-minute peak of 9.2 million. It is the least watched season opener since Julian Fellowes’s drama first hit TV screens in 2010, when just over 7.6 million viewers tuned in. About 9 million viewers tuned in to watch the first episodes of season two and season three.


September 26, 2014

The X Factor is most tweeted-about UK TV series, says Twitter

‘Elite’ top 30 shows, including Celebrity Big Brother and Britain’s Got Talent, account for 50% of all TV-related Twitter activity Simon Cowell’s The X Factor is the most tweeted-about series on UK TV, according to new research by Twitter. The ITV talent show generated 9.4m tweets in the 12 months to the end of May this year, nearly twice as many as the second-placed show, Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother, and 13 times its Saturday night rival on BBC1, Strictly Come Dancing. An “elite” top 30 shows accounted for 50% of all TV-related Twitter activity, dominated by reality, entertainment and talent shows along with dramas such as Sherlock, Doctor Who and soaps. TV accounted for around 40% of all UK Twitter traffic during evening peaktime viewing hours. With TV executives turning to social media to generate buzz – the modern equivalent of “watercooler TV” – 11% of shows enjoyed a ratings hike after being talked about on Twitter, according to the social media company’s own study.

September 26, 2014

YouTube invests in 'new formats' from some of its top stars

Google’s online video service promises to ‘get our hands dirty’ experimenting with new shows from popular YouTubers YouTube has promised to “get our hands dirty” with a new round of investment to help its most popular stars experiment with new shows and formats. The move follows previous investments in original channels and creators on Google’s online video service, as well as high-profile advertising campaigns in 2014 for channels including Bethany Mota and Epic Rap Battles of History. “We feel the time is right to make another important investment in our creators,” wrote the head of YouTube originals, Alex Carloss, in a blog post announcing the new initiative. “That’s why we’ve decided to fund new content from some of our top creators, helping them not only fulfill their creative ambitions but also deliver new material to their millions of fans on YouTube.”


September 26, 2014

The Scotsman receives sales boost from independence referendum

Sales of the paper rose by up to a quarter on the days around the vote and web traffic hit an all-time record of 1m page views The Scotsman boosted sales by as much as a quarter and web traffic hit an all-time record in the days leading up to, and after, the Scottish referendum. Johnston Press said that sales of the Scotsman rose 13% week on week last Thursday, the day of the vote. Print sales jumped by 21% week on week on results day on Friday and surged 25% on the Saturday as people digested analysis of the “no” result. Online the Scotsman.com website hit the 1m page views mark for the first time, achieved on the day of the vote, 50% higher than the previous record traffic day. The newspaper’s live blog of the referendum reached 85,000 people, while a referendum microsite attracted 60,000 unique users on the day of the vote.

September 26, 2014

NRS steps into future with focus on mobile

The inclusion of mobile readership figures has shown the true reach of news and magazine brands The latest salvo in the battle for better publishing metrics came from the National Readership Survey and its chief executive, Simon Redican, last week. Having been served notice by the Newspaper Publishers Association on 17 September, the NRS presented its first insight into audience consumption of news and magazine brands on mobile. While NRS Padd has published unduplicated reach of print publications and their websites since 2012, this was the first time readership figures on mobile phones and tablets were made available. Nine news brands and ten magazine brands took part in the initial research, with a further eight to be included in the next report on 24 November. Redican could claim an industry first here, with Barb’s much-talked-about move to collect TV viewing data via tablets yet to be released.


September 26, 2014

Digital radio sales fall to six-year low

Consecutive quarterly growth in digital’s share of listening comes to a halt despite cross-industry marketing campaign Digital radio sales have fallen to a six-year low, with a period of consecutive growth in digital’s share of listening coming to a halt. Despite a cross-industry marketing campaign led by spoof soul man “D Love”, 1.7m digital audio broadcasting (DAB) sets were sold in the year to the end of June this year, down 9.1% on the previous 12 months and the lowest of any year since at least 2009. Digital radio’s share of total radio listening, including DAB, mobile, online and digital TV, was 36.8% in the second quarter of this year – flat on the same quarter in 2013. However, on a 12-monthly basis, the popularity of digital radio continued to grow, with almost half of UK adults (48.5%) claiming to own a DAB set.

September 26, 2014

BBC retunes gender gap on local radio

Broadcaster says it is on course to hit Tony Hall’s target to have a female breakfast presenter on at least 50% of local stations The BBC has more than doubled the number of female breakfast show presenters on its local radio stations and says it is on course to hit a gender diversity target set by the director general by the end of the year. In August last year Tony Hall outlined his ambition for the corporation to have female presenters on 50% of its 41 local radio breakfast shows across the English regions by the end of 2014. Since then the number has increased from eight to 17, with an 18th expected to be confirmed this month. This represents an increase from 20% to 44%. “It’s demonstrably good progress,” David Holdsworth, BBC controller of English regions, told the Radio Times. “I think we’ve appointed some exciting, talented women who will, I hope, be great presenters both now and in the future.”


September 26, 2014

TfL launches selfie campaign to encourage people to get home safely

Transport for London has created a hard-hitting multimedia campaign to raise awareness of the risks of using illegal minicabs. The campaign, created by M&C Saatchi, tells the story of a night out through a series of selfies. The first few photographs show the beginning of the evening, but as the night comes to an end, the photos show a woman being attacked. As part of the 'Safer Travel at Night' campaign, TfL will encourage people to pledge not to take illegal minicabs and to upload a photo of themselves once they have got home, with the hashtag #homesafeselfie.