The OFT have just published their full report into the Global and GCap merger. It’s a bit of a slog through 90-odd pages, but there’s some interesting things in there about the nature of radio today. You can also see that the OFT don’t know the difference between the word ‘licence’ and ‘license’.
Reasoned analysis to follow, but in the short term, for the anoraks, I thought i’d paste this bit – point 49:
49. The parties plan to undertake the following:
(i) Marry Globals brands and GCaps geographic scope.
Globals strategy is to develop near-national coverage for its Heart brand as well as greater coverage for the Galaxy brand. GCaps well known stations are associated with a particular area and therefore are not appropriate to develop a national brand. Global intends to use cost savings achieved through the merger to re-brand the majority of GCaps heritage stations, refocusing those stations towards the standard Heart/Galaxy demographic. The parties submit that this operation will result in a better offering for both listeners – who will be able to listen to Heart throughout the South of England and the Midlands, and for advertisers – who will be able to advertise across the whole or part of the Heart/Galaxy network, with a better understanding of the product and the audience demographic across the network.
(ii) Refresh and refocus GCap core city stations.
Certain of GCaps stations, in particular those that are located in large cities which have the capability of supporting a truly local station, will not be re-branded. Instead, Global intends to refocus these core assets towards more targeted demographics. Again, the parties submit that this will benefit listeners and advertisers, both of whom will have a better understanding of what to expect from the station.
(iii) Set up national network programming with quality presenters and at the same time, retain the local character
Global intends to broadcast the same programme across its entire network of stations*, leading to costs savings on production and higher quality product and presenters. At the same time, Global will ensure that the local character of the re-branded stations is retained, in order to preserve the loyalty of the local audience and provide a platform for local advertisers. Local features such as news, weather and traffic will be retained, as well as some local programming.
* The parties have informed the OFT that in fact, networked programmes will be broadcast only across the Heart network, and separately across the Galaxy network, at certain times of the day.