Industry headlines


18th - 24th May 2015


May 22, 2015

UKTV reports record revenues for 2014

According to figures released by UKTV, its earnings before interest taxation depreciation and amortisation were £74.1 million, up 9.9 per cent year on year and also a record. The broadcaster also had a good year on screen with its largest share of commercial impacts since launch - 9.0 per cent in 2014, up from 8.2 per cent in 2013. UKTV, which is jointly owned by the BBC and Scripps Networks Interactive, mainly broadcasts repeats of many BBC shows, but has increased the number of its own commissions in recent years. In 2014, four of the top ten most watched shows were original commissions (Storage Hunters UK, Monty Python Live (Mostly), Dynamo: Magician Impossible and Dave Gorman: Modern Life is Goodish).

May 22, 2015

London Live chief executive: 'We can't keep propping it up'

The days of Evgeny Lebedev's government-backed local television experiment, London Live, could soon be numbered, as its chief executive admits it is has been ring fenced from the rest of the group and placed under "constant review". Last week, London Live was released from its commitment to increase the number of hours of original, local programming by an hour a day in its second year (to total nine hours), and to 10 hours a day in its third year. Such pledges by the broadcaster, which passed its first anniversary in March, now seem wildly optimistic as it struggles to attract audiences large enough to excite advertisers. The channel’s biggest audience drivers to date have been repeats of popular shows, including Ali G, Made in Chelsea and Trigger Happy TV, which attract weekly audiences of between 100,000 to 200,000.

May 19, 2015

ITV channel suffers 6% slide in ratings but ad revenues rise

ITV channel suffers 6% slide in ratings but ad revenues rise The ITV network has suffered a 3% drop in its audience share and a 6% drop on its main channel after a string of factual and entertainment flops, but reported a strong performance in advertising revenues. ITV said net advertising revenues rose 12% to £754m in the first three months of the year, adding that after stripping out the benefit of acquisitions, its studios business also returned to organic growth. But the broadcaster, which will lose its rights to the big-rating Uefa Champions League at the beginning of next season, faces a tough challenge to turn around its declining audiences with its most popular drama, Downton Abbey, also coming to an end after the next series.

May 19, 2015

Big Brother: Timebomb makes less than explosive start to 16th series

Big Brother: Timebomb makes less than explosive start to 16th series It was the mother of all reality shows but Big Brother made a low-key return to Channel 5 with fewer than 2 million viewers. Big Brother:Timebomb, the 16th series of the show since it started on Channel 4 in 2000, had 1.8 million viewers, a 10% share of the audiences from 10pm on Tuesday. The show saw contestant Simon Gross evicted from the house within hours of entering. It was down 300,000 on the 2.1 million viewers who watched the opening episode of the last series, but matches its 10% share of the audience, and a long way down from the heady heights of nearly 7 million viewers who watched it launch on Channel 4 in 2006. However, it still did good business for Channel 5, up 115% on its three-month slot average.


May 22, 2015

Spotify takes on YouTube by adding video

Spotify has undergone a major redesign, partnering with the BBC, Vice and other major media brands to add video and spoken content for the first time. The company has sealed a number of deals for its launch content as well as commissioning original video from the likes of Tyler the Creator and comedian Amy Poehler. Video channels will include TED talks, Top Gear, Vice News, Jimmy Kimmel Live and ESPN, among others. Spotify users can also listen to podcasts without leaving the app. It appears the new redesign centres on a ‘lean back’ experience, where the listener relies on Spotify to surface relevant video clips and music, rather than actively wading through millions of tracks. The idea is also to keep users on Spotify for longer, rather than moving to rival aps like YouTube.

May 19, 2015

YouTube takes over KitKat wrappers

YouTube takes over KitKat wrappers KitKat, the Nestlé confectionery brand, is encouraging consumers to take a YouTube break in its biggest ever redesign. The ”YouTube break" will replace the KitKat branding on wrappers as part of the "celebrate the breakers break" campaign by J Walter Thompson. It is one of 72 different types of "breaks" to feature on more than 400 limited editions for the two and four-finger bars, as well as the Chunky bars. Others include "me time break" and "sporty break". As part of the campaign, Google is also encouraging users to search for "KitKat YouTube my break" through the voice activation on their android phone to find trending videos.

May 19, 2015

Media leaders react to Verizon buying AOL

Media leaders react to Verizon buying AOL Verizon’s portfolio includes a national wireless network and FiOS-TV and broadband. The company has significant data on its customers and their digital activity that could potentially be synced into AOL's programmatic ad technology. The company has set its stall out for video playing a key role in wireless take-up in the years ahead, and has tabled business ambitions that will make familiar reading for converging tech and telecoms companies alike. Verizon had also already announced plans to create a new mobile video service this summer, with a mix of paid, free and ad-supported content. Plugging AOL’s ad targeting capabilities into this new service promises to create new opportunities in the world’s fastest growing advertising space: mobile video.

May 19, 2015

Media leaders react to Verizon buying AOL

Media leaders react to Verizon buying AOL Verizon’s portfolio includes a national wireless network and FiOS-TV and broadband. The company has significant data on its customers and their digital activity that could potentially be synced into AOL's programmatic ad technology. The company has set its stall out for video playing a key role in wireless take-up in the years ahead, and has tabled business ambitions that will make familiar reading for converging tech and telecoms companies alike. Verizon had also already announced plans to create a new mobile video service this summer, with a mix of paid, free and ad-supported content. Plugging AOL’s ad targeting capabilities into this new service promises to create new opportunities in the world’s fastest growing advertising space: mobile video.


May 22, 2015

Mobile operators reportedly plan to block online advertising

In a move that will seek to force Google into giving up a cut of its revenues, several European mobile operators plan to block advertising on their networks, according to a report in the Financial Times. The unnamed companies are set to use ad blocking tech developed by Israeli start-up Shine and would prevent ads from loading in web pages and apps. However, the tech does not affect in-feed ads deployed by Facebook and Twitter. 2014 saw UK advertising grow at its highest rate since 2010, increasing 5.8% to £18.6bn, according to the latest Advertising Association/Warc expenditure report.

May 19, 2015

Facebook launches news tool to transform the way people read news

Facebook launches news tool to transform the way people read news As an increasing number of people consume news on mobile devices, Facebook has launched a new tool to help publishers create fast and interactive articles on the social network. Dubbed 'Instant Articles', the tool will include a number of interactive features that allow publishers to "bring their stories to life in new ways," including a zoom-in and explore function, auto-play videos, interactive maps and audio captions.


May 22, 2015

Rajar Q1 2015: Listening via a digital platform grows

Listening to radio via a digital platform - in terms of weekly reach - now exceeds over half (54%) of the UK adult population according to the latest Rajar findings. 28.6 million people (aged 15+) now tune in to radio via a digitally enabled receiver - DAB, television or online, with the share of all radio listening via a digital platform now standing at 39.6%, up from 36.6% for the corresponding period last year. DAB radio is the most popular device, accounting for 65% of all digital hours (26% of total hours). Listening via TV currently represents 12% (5% of total hours) and listening online 17% (7% of total hours) of all digital listening hours. 22% of adults claim to listen to the radio via a mobile phone or tablet at least once per month, up 20% year on year.

May 19, 2015

Is digital audio the next big thing for UK advertisers?

Is digital audio the next big thing for UK advertisers? Digital audio spend surpassed $1 billion in the US last year, making it the fourth-largest mobile revenue generator behind only Google, Facebook and Twitter. Among those leading the charge, the music-streaming service Pandora is tearing into traditional and established digital media takings. Digital audio reached 17 million people (more than 30% of the population) in the UK last year according to the Internet Advertising Bureau, suggesting there is huge opportunity for UK advertisers.


May 22, 2015

UK general election fails to boost newspaper websites

The UK general election failed to give newspaper websites a boost in April, with all the national titles seeing declines in global daily browsers compared with the previous month. However, all titles are still well up on the same period a year ago. The DailyStar.co.uk was the biggest faller, with daily unique browsers down more than 16% to 508,366. Independent.co.uk and Express.co.uk also saw significant falls in daily browsers, of about 6% and 5% respectively. The two largest newspaper sites, Mail Online and theguardian.com, recorded smaller falls, down 2.3% and 1.2% respectively month on month. In contrast, the websites of urban freesheets the Metro and Evening Standard saw rises, with the Metro up 8.7% to 1.3m and the Standard up 5.8% to 391,422.

May 19, 2015

Hearst wins Asda content account

Hearst wins Asda content account Hearst Magazines UK, the publisher of Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar and Esquire, has won the content account for supermarket retailer Asda. Bringing an end to Asda's 16-year relationship with Publicis Blueprint, the long-term strategic partnership will see Hearst produce bespoke content for Asda, including its customer magazine, which is distributed to over 1.9 million readers, as well as for its digital offerings, social media and events.


May 19, 2015

Bus company pulls topless 'ride me' adverts after outcry

Bus company pulls topless 'ride me' adverts after outcry Cardiff bus adverts featuring topless models holding a placard saying ‘ride me all day for £3’ caused a social media storm this week. A bus company has come under fire for promoting a new route with a poster on the back of its vehicles showing an apparently topless woman holding a sign saying “ride me all day for £3”.