The TalkRadio/TalkTV Combination

News UK announced yesterday that it’s launching TalkTV in four weeks time on Monday 25th April.

Most of the news is things we already knew – shows by Piers Morgan, Tom Newton Dunn and the recently announced panel show presented by Sharon Osborne.

There had been a few questions about how it would work with TalkRadio, what would be shared, what would be separate etc. However, at the end of the release it says that the new TV channel will carry TalkRadio (visualised) programming in the daytime (Julia Hartley-Brewer, Jeremy Kyle, Iain Collins etc) but that the radio station will also now carry the TV’s prime-time output live.

In effect, TalkRadio and TalkTV will be the same product whether you listen or watch it. Generally, I think this makes a lot of sense.

There’s always some discussion about whether radio loses out by re-broadcasting a TV feed. But it isn’t something that’s new – the Today Programme was broadcast on TV for a bit, and now GB News is simulcast on digital radio too.

Of course, in an ideal world you would create radio-specific programming all the time, but given the choice between having Piers Morgan on my station with a large production team generating guests and content, or having a good radio show, I’d probably go for the former (no matter what you think of Piers). It’s also something that makes sense from an audience point of view.

Below is a chart of an average Monday of TalkRadio’s listening. It has a strong morning, but that drops off in the afternoon, and then dives pretty precipitously at 7pm.

This isn’t something particularly specific to TalkRadio, it’s standard for all radio.

…so being able to opt into some high quality content that’s already been paid for, would seem to make some sense.

I guess my one question is around branding. You’ve got TalkTV, and I imagine the earlier shows will be branded TalkRadio on TalkTV. In a world where cut through is really tough, and where especially on the telly side they’re trying to establish something against lots of competition, does it do a disservice to both by having two brands?

If you’ve got a viral clip of Julia Hartley-Brewer, in a Talk-branded environment, what’s the best brand to promote? Is she the radio station breakfast host or the breakfast show on TalkTV. Is it a waste to try and explain she’s both? Should there be a single brand, simulcast across radio, television and online?

TalkRadio has certainly built some brand equity in its six year life and is currently riding high on its best figures – 542k reach – but it is still a smaller radio station than competitors in the space. So should it be rebranded?TalkTV on the other hand is still a relatively unknown quantity. Is it a danger to throw the baby out with the bath water? If it was your radio station, would you want to wait and see before moving them closer together, or have it as a big bang multi-platform brand from the get-go?

These are, of course, all very modern challenges to face.

After GB News’ rocky start, the combination of TalkRadio’s well practiced video operation alongside some impressive prime time talent gives TalkTV a great chance of success. Its challenge though will be to remain noisy and get people to sample its operation.

Over at Leicester Square, LBC’s taken a different route. Oddly in amongst the BBC speech networks, Talk Radio and GB News, it’s ended up pretty middle-market and Daily Mail. Not a bad place to be, the Daily Mail is the biggest paper after all, but its recent BBC hires has definitely made this, the most up-market incarnation of LBC for a long while.

On the video-front, after being leap-frogged in the video stakes, Global now has a great TV-like operation at LBC – but seemingly no desire for that to be a competing TV channel – or even just a round-the-clock YouTube stream. Perhaps with the expansion of TalkRadio on TalkTV that will prompt them to change it up?

I guess we’ll see. Or just hear.


On the Media Podcast this week I had a great chat with Lord Ed Vaizey (extended chat for the Patreon-ers) about Ofcom, regulation and being a Conservative. Also joining me to talk over all the media news were Ann Charles and Maggie Brown. Listen and follow, to get all the future eps.

You can also hear me in a not entirely fulfilling three and a half minutes at the end of the Today Programme. I’m not really sure what the subject was, and I was in it! But I think it was something along the lines of whether we’ve reached peak podcast.

Are multi-platform brands the future?