The digital challenge for broadcasters

Here in the UK, the BBC is consistently under pressure from the government and a combative press, before they have to do the regular worrying about being a legacy media operator grappling with the future. It’s something you see many public broadcasters face, including those in Europe and things like the ABC in Australia.

The current Conservative government are not really a fan of any popular, free and independent media so generally use their levers to make their lives much tougher. At the moment Channel 4 is likely to go through a bruising privatisation process, and the BBC has had its income free frozen (handy during a period when there’s spiralling inflation) whilst still having a large amount of restrictions placed on it.

The BBC’s short-term task is to find around £285m in savings, some of the results of which it announced last week. As the saying goes “never let a crisis go to waste”. Instead, it’s using the need to make big changes as cover to re-orient the corporation into being ‘digital-first’. It’s actually going to find £500m of savings and then re-direct £300m towards digital things like more iPlayer programming, money into product development and more online news.

It also used the announcement to talk about some to-happen-in-three-years network changes. The headlines are that BBC Four, the CBBC Channel and Radio 4 Extra will move off broadcast platforms and be on-line only.

These are not small endeavours, last month 17m people watched BBC Four, 4m saw CBBC and nearly 2million listen to BBC Radio 4 Extra each week.

BBC Four and 4 Extra are channels mostly made up of archive material, so having that exist on iPlayer and BBC Sounds probably makes sense. CBBC’s audience is digitally native, used to streaming, so moving the content off linear makes sense there too. They all seem sensible decisions.

In reality the channel brands of BBC Four and Radio 4 Extra will decline to very little. There won’t be much cost savings from taking them off-air, as the digital transmission fees will be the same with or without the channels. There will be some savings from losing any people that work on the channel management and scheduling. There’s also unlikely to be any new content dug out. These channels will pretty much disappear, or will just be a homepage on iPlayer and BBC Sounds driven by some judicious tagging by the metadata team.

CBBC is slightly different. As a children’s channel, they make a lot of new content from all genres and are seen as core public service propositions. CBBC’s issue will be the same one that faced BBC Three when it was taken off linear television – they lost huge awareness as its audience didn’t have iPlayer at the centre of their lives. They just missed stuff that they would have liked.

Giving up free-to-air linear TV, no matter what the audience size is, takes away a key promotional channel. BBC Three is the prime example, after being removed, it was added back on five years later! It re-started in Feb 2022 and last month reached 7.7m viewers.

There was no mention in the BBC’s announcements about marketing budgets. Of course, non-programme spend is something a public broadcaster doesn’t want to mention as it seems a waste.

In the modern media world, for all operators, awareness and discovery is the key challenge. Organisations have to use everything at their disposal to activate owned, earned and paid media to generate trial.

Traditional media companies are used to generating awareness because they have free-to-air broadcast megaphones or produce products like newspapers or magazines in a relatively constrained market. In a digital-first world much of this goes away. Consumers will not stumble into the content of your app.

In the streaming landscape Netflix, Disney and Amazon’s Prime Video dominate. Netflix invented the market, spent more money on content than anyone thought sensible and launched in every country in the world. It also had a laissez-fair attitude to password sharing – it needed everyone on its platform. Its 222million subscriptions work out at about 600m users. Its scale allows it to super-charge global content discussion. They can put the right content in front of a lot of people giving it the ability to kick-start word of mouth discussion. “Have you seen Squid Game” is much easier to take from a question to a watch, when you can have it on half a billion people’s TV home screen.

Disney+ has much of this, but it also has brands like Star Wars, Marvel and the core Disney output too. Globally it’s also a successful marketer with broadcast channels, themes parks and stores. It can make a splash when it needs to.

Over at Prime Video it hasn’t quite got the pizzaz or hits of the other two, but it sells its streaming as a benefit to 200m Prime subscribers. It can also put things in front of the 3 billion visits a month the Amazon website gets.

National media operations around the world of course don’t have the scale of these behemoths, but their challenge is to find routes to market to grab the attention of consumers.

In radio, many broadcasters are putting all the effort into their apps – BBC Sounds, Global Player, LiSTNR, iHeartradio and there are loads of others too. My worry is that much of their great content is locked away in these apps. If your app can’t reach ubiquity, is there a natural ceiling to the audience that will bop around in your playground? If all the effort is put into a single digital product to the detriment of other places, are you just transitioning from a broadcaster to a niche-caster?

Of course apps are important. Having a direct route to consumers with great data can be a boon for any business. I just think its dangerous for media companies to put all their eggs in one basket, particularly when the number of apps that become ubiquitous is super-small.

I’d love to see media companies have dual strategies. One for super-serving your consumers (the app) and one for aggressively growing reach and awareness. Something that uses a mix of content, marketing and platforms to reach and satisfy new audiences. I think this needs to be a different product to the app.

I’m not convinced that “look at this great content, it’s only in our app, download it” is the best marketing funnel, particularly for sub-scale operators. Fine if your Netflix, but I’m not sure it still works if your lower down the food chain.

Of course, for many broadcasters this is what they currently have with their free-to-air linear operation. Their broadcast radio or TV stations are used to promote their new digital platforms. The danger, as the BBC has shown, is that they think they’re replacing one for the other. I think the reality is that the job the linear channels are doing – free marketing and more – is what needs to be replaced with a new concept/product, rather than just hoping the audience will find and use a walled-garden app.

AOB

Lots of British Podcast Awards things are currently happening. Our judges are finalising their nominees and winners and we’ll be revealing the nominees at a free event on the 20th June.

We’re also getting ready for the British Podcast Awards Weekend that will include the Awards on Saturday 23rd July, but we’ve also got our new event Grow on Friday 22nd July. Grow is entirely designed to help anyone who creates podcast grow awareness, audience and revenue. We’ve announced the first batch of speakers and tickets are on sale for a super inexpensive £50+VAT.

Another good Media Podcast is currently out there with the Press Gazette editor Charlotte Tobitt, the Smart 7’s Jamie East and BBC disinformation reporter Shayan Sardarizadeh. Listen and Subscribe.

I’ve also just recorded an interview with John Whittingdale MP which we’ll be putting out as a special in the next day or so. So do subscribe!

How will broadcasters stop becoming niche-casters?

RAJAR Q1/2022

For UK readers, the quarterly RAJAR listening data is essential to see how radio stations are doing. Most RAJAR quarters though include some changes to the survey too. This is usually new stations being added, but can also be additional questions as well. In this survey there’s quite a big change – they’re publishing a new platform.

Historically the platforms have been AM/FM, DAB, Digital TV and the Internet. The Internet has got more complicated as it has journeyed from desktop, to mobile and tablet through to smart speakers. So from this survey you can now look at Smart Speakers as a platform alongside AM/FM, DAB, DTV and Internet (Desktop and Mobile).

Wherever you are in the world, it’s a fascinating snapshot of media consumption on a relatively new device.

The results for ‘All Radio’ shows that the platforms each reach the following (this doesn’t add up to 100 as people can use multiple platforms)

AM/FM – 62.6% of listeners

DAB – 66.7% of listeners

DTV – 13.3% of listeners

Desktop and mobile – 30.4% of listeners

Smart speakers – 17.5% of listeners

When you look at the time they give to each platform – the share of listening, it’s this:

AM/FM – 32.1%

DAB – 41.1%

DTV – 4.5%

Desktop and mobile – 12.4%

Smart speakers – 9.9%

It means smart speakers deliver around 100m hours of listening a week.

What’s interesting is looking at the average hours per platforms. DAB’s top of the shop at 12.5 hours a week of consumption, with AM/FM not far behind on 10.4. This all makes sense – they are core radio listening devices, so people give them a lot of time. Listening through your telly on the other hand gives an average hours of 6.8 – again, seemingly making sense as you use that device for lots of other things.

With smart speakers the question is always how much of a radio device is it? You do after all share it with music streaming services and other skills. Well, it turns out it’s pretty powerful with an average hours of 11.5 per listener. It goes to show that the 8 million smart speaker radio users give it a lot of radio attention.

Of course smart speaker share varies station to station. It accounts for 12% of Radio 1’s listening, just 4.5% of Heart’s and a whopping 26.6% of Boom Radio’s. If you work for a radio station you should look at the average hours for each of your platforms – it might make you think about the value of promoting one platform over another. In theory if you drive more reach to the platforms with higher average hours, you may help drive your total hours faster.

The Young and the Restless

There will be some sad faces at Radio 1 as their 15+ reach slips from 8.1m to 7.6m, its lowest ever figures. However the slight silver-lining is which ages are disappearing. Of course firstly this is a quarter on quarter change, so you need to take it all with a slight pinch of salt, but…

15-19s – down 2.9%

20-24s – down 0.3%

25-34s – down 8.2%

35-44s – down 7.6%

45-54s – down 4.5%

55s-64s – down 19.7%

65+ – down 0.8% (the oldies left are clinging on!)

Does this actually show that it’s doing its job of catering for the young with programming particularly for them, and thus causing the older ones to become a little disgruntled and disappear off? If this does point to the programming be more right for the 15-24s – the next challenge becomes dragging more of them in.

I broke out the 15-19s, as the availability of this group is a core issue facing the industry. Since the pandemic, and RAJAR’s methodology change, 15-19s have seen a sharp drop. Before there were around 3million of them listening and now there’s 2million. A behaviour change or a quirk in the new way the numbers are collected? It is having a real world impact though, particularly for youth stations, who’ve lost a quarter or more of the broader 15-24 demo reach.

For stations like Capital it seems to have resulted in a programming switch with the addition of more older songs. Just having a scan through Radiomonitor – 24k Magic from Bruno Mars is their 46th most popular tune with 9 plays, and old tunes like Macklemore’s Can’t Hold Us and DNCE’s Cake by the Ocean are getting daily spins. A combination of a poor pop flow at the moment and, I would imagine, a desire to make up for the loss of 15-19s necessitates the station going older (as those 15-19s can’t seem to be dragged in).

The 15-19 problem isn’t just in the UK. I spoke to bosses from overseas youth stations who are finding it too difficult to program the music for this audience as the groups that like hip hop vs pop vs rock all heavily dislike the others, making it hard to create an appealing mix for this audience as there aren’t enough people to coalesce around any mic of music. For some they’re creating separate streams online and altering, like Capital, their main youth stations to be more older-focused.

Also, talking to an international radio researcher at Radiodays Europe, he agreed with me that the TikTokification of songs is also causing problems. Many tunes are churning in and out of TikTok faster than they can be researched and added for a radio station – making CHR sometimes seem out of line with the current zeitgeist. In addition, the trending TikTok tunes for 15-19s lack the familiarity for 20 to 24s and older.

The result is that its easier to abandon programming for the 15-19s and just concentrate on the easier to handle 20 pluses. I’m not sure though this is a great look for radio and its future.

Other things happening

Probably a sigh of relief at Times Radio towers as their reach rebounds to 703k (Q3: 637k, Q4: 502k). Sister station Talk Radio (now part of the hybrid Talk TV) jumps to 650k from 542k – its best ever figure. The question for them is whether the TV-powered changes help it build or actually interfere with the steady growth it has been making.

Capital Dance has been building a success story of its own with reach in Q3: 287k, Q4: 592k and now growing to 800k. Meanwhile sister station Capital Xtra Reloaded, a Kisstory spoiler, has had a troubled time. Its last reach figure was 277k. This has no doubt contributed to rumours its losing its national DAB slot. Typical as always then, that this quarter its jumped to 400k! What will replace it? Smooth Country is a station that’s not on national DAB yet, but then maybe another Heart spin-off could make an appearance too?

Something else that’s made an appearance is GB News Radio. A simulcast of the TV channel. It’s picked up a respectable first book of 239k, bearing in mind talkRADIO first started with 224k.

6Music however added a whole GB News to its figures, well, 244k, taking the station to its highest ever reach of 2.8m listeners.

With my Fun Kids hat on, we had a good book in London where we participate in RAJAR and are bigger, 10+, than the aforementioned GB News and Capital Dance, as well as the BBC Asian Network, talkSPORT2, Scala, Boom Radio and about 20 other stations. Well done team!

Other RAJAR reading: Do check out Adam Bowie’s blog who’ll have a comprehensive round-up, as will Radio Today.

AOB

Speaking of Radiodays Europe earlier in the post, that reminds me you can listen to a special episode of The Media Podcast we recorded at RDE. I catch-up with the Head of Radio 2, Helen Thomas, presenter Stephanie Hirst, Radiotopia’s Julie Shapiro plus Paul Robinson and James Cridland. Lots of good radio chat. Listen and subscribe.

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Smart speakers recorded, plus the troublesome 15 to 19s

More Confidence About Platforms

Hello from Malmö, which is hosting this year’s Radiodays Europe conference. There’s around 1,200 people here discussing radio, audio and podcasts.

I hosted a session with Linda Palmgren, the Bauer Media Sweden CEO, Sibyl Veil, the CEO of Radio France and Cathinka Rondan, the Head of Radio at NRK. Each gave a short view on the sector and what their own companies have been doing – and then we all sat down for a chat. It was quite a big room, thanks to Ann Charles for the pictorial representation…

The main thing that I noticed from the session, and from many of the others I saw, was that there was much more confidence in radio groups’ digital strategies. Particularly around distribution and third party platforms.

Five years ago the talk was far more about maximising distribution in places like Apple Podcasts and Spotify – going to where the listeners are. Now it’s far more nuanced than that. All the speakers in my session talked up the importance of their own platforms for data, increasing loyalty but also (for public broadcasters) the importance of getting attribution from the audience for the broadcaster’s work. Cathinka from NRK talked about many people not realising the material they’re consuming on Spotify is coming from NRK.

I think it also suggested far more confidence in their own app performance and being able to build real value for their audiences.

It wasn’t particularly about ignoring third party spaces, just being more strategic about how they’re used in a distribution/marketing mix.

Talking to other broadcasters on the sidelines I could clearly feel that their experience around digital audio, the data they’ve collected and also the research that they’ve conducted means their much more comfortable in their plans with far less second-guessing than I’ve previously seen.

It also suggests a movement away from some of the wild west attitudes to podcasting and digital audio. For many established broadcasters there’s definitely a more measured, considered approach. It will be interesting to see if this translates into more success.

Apple Podcast Subscriptions

The previous day I was on a panel discussing the future of podcasting. We talked about subscription opportunities for publishers and I said that I thought it was all a real mess. Apple’s options have the potential to be pretty good, but there’s limited merchandising meaning it’s difficult to explain and make your deals look attractive plus the content management with them is a chunk of extra work for podcasters (as you have to publish your podcast normally and then add extra audio and metadata on Apple’s own platform).

Particularly though, with different options for Apple, Spotify and other third parties, it makes it incredibly difficult to explain to listeners how to use it. With every platform being pretty different, the payment issues and the work arounds some require, means that for many publishers it’s all too much hassle than it’s worth.

In the podcast sessions most of the publishers that discussed taking part in Apple’s subscription system said they did it because it gave their shows more promotion rather than any real focus on generating paying subscribers.

However, perhaps that will start to change as Apple announced yesterday that they will be working with some podcast content management systems (Acast, Omny, Buzzsprout etc) to build in the ability for them to control the audio for publishers subscriptions feeds. This is eminently sensible. These enterprise solutions were always the best place to build the piping to enable easy deployment of the different audio/release times etc that the subscription products were built on.

More importantly though, it means that potentially these systems can send the premium audio to other subscription platforms too, like Spotify etc. This will greatly enhance the likelihood of publishers launching a subscription offer – as the CMS will end up reducing the complexity and friction.

There are still lots of issues around subscription – particularly the communication to listeners – but at least this is one development that’s good for publishers.

AOB

It’s been really great talking to lots of people here at Radiodays who are Media Podcast listeners. As some of you know, I’m pretty busy with the day jobs, but I really like doing the podcast and the newsletter, so having people say they read it or listen, does massively help me keep motivated to do them each week. Me and producer Phoebe are here recording some bits and pieces for next week’s show too.

Speaking of which, the latest episode of the Media Podcast has a good focus on streaming services, particularly Disney+, Netflix and C4’s YouTube deal. I talked with Heat Magazine’s Boyd Hilton and media consultant and writer Kate Bulkley all about it. I also caught up with Arlie Adlington to discuss the Multitrack initiative. Listen and subscribe here.

The big discussions at Radiodays Europe

Selling Audio and Radio

I was asked to speak at the inaugural event for the new Radiocentre Ireland last week. The organisation has been set-up to “promote strong, successful and brilliant commercial radio”.

Whilst independent radio has a well-established trade body in the IBI, Radiocentre Ireland brings together all the broadcasters that have advertising – so, yes, the traditional commercial sector, but also RTE, the public broadcaster – which takes advertising too.

Having a singular body promoting the benefit of advertising with its members is a good idea. Each group has its own unique properties it takes to market, but a good united body can sell the benefits of the medium.

It’s an interesting time for a new body to be set-up. Firstly it gets to sell the benefits of audio advertising across its members many properties. Yes, they are over-the-air broadcasters, but there’s also a digital audio offer and a mix of new media and experiential opportunities too.

But there’s also work to be done to sell the scale of commercial radio’s activities and the value of the market. Interestingly, up until now, no one knew how much revenue Irish radio took. If you’re an advertiser or an agency, are you spending more or less than your competitors? What would be the impact, positive or negative, of changing that? Without a shared understanding it’s hard to build. The first data should be released soon, and the expectation is that it’s going to be quite a bit higher than the market currently believes – which should help drive confidence in radio and digital audio. I was asked to do a turn about audio developments around the world, which ended up trying to reflect different organisations’ thinking and delivery. Most nbusinesses activity result from some form of market gap + internal skill + execution. There is rarely one size that fills all – even for companies that exist in different markets.Of course there are some over-arching themes, particularly that commercial broadcasters with strong sales relationships and large audiences can be well- placed to create significant digital audio businesses. Now, heritage businesses can sometimes be too late to the game, or have to spend to catch up, but their underlying activities put them in a good position. In the UK, Global’s DAX has become a key digital audio sales point and in the US both iHeart and SiriusXM (particularly through acquisition) have created strong integrated digital audio businesses. Whilst they may sometimes lack the sexiness of their Spotify-style competitors, they are good at creating new audio operations.

Ireland’s radio market has developed from one focused on strongly regulated local radio stations to something that added two national stations and a round of regional licences. Whilst there’s always been some corporate ownership, that has come more to the fore in the last few years with Newscorp owning seven stations across Dublin, Cork, Limerick and other areas and Bauer Media Audio Ireland now owning national stations Today FM and Newstalk alongside Dublin’s 98FM and two regional Spin stations. There also continues to be a range of local stations (some with common shareholders) and the public broadcaster RTE.

Bauer Ireland have developed an interesting digital offer, with a strong multi-platform sports product in OTB Sport, a digital ad-network AudioXI and a growing podcast operation with app Go Loud alongside a growing podcast network. Newscorp are using their radio stations to promote Irish-streams of Premier league matches with a version of talkSPORT as well as a Sun-branded true crime podcast. Local stations continue to own their areas, a strategy UK commercial radio has moved away from.

RTE, like many public broadcasters around the world, grapples with government funding unpredictability, a raft of new competition and a need to change and adapt faster than it is used to. For RTE which has commercial funding as part of the mix, it struggles with developing its offer whilst balancing its public position and commitments.

Having skipped DAB, which in many markets provides the learning slope to develop digital businesses and thinking, the challenge for Irish broadcasters is to scale up their digital ambitions (and reach) whilst growing their commercial radio business and fighting off new media competitors.

If they are successful with doing that, Radiocentre gives them a great platform to tell advertisers of their successes and the benefit of working with commercial radio broadcasters.

Irish Podcast Awards

One thing Irish audio creators, from commercial radio and further afield can do is shout about the great audio that they’re making. The inaugural Irish Podcast Awards allows them to do just that. It’s currently open for entries with a range of categories around content, sales and marketing.

AOB

On The Media Podcast this week, I caught up with Scott Bryan and Trevor Dann to talk about the latest on Channel 4, the ARIAS winners and the changes at the top at ITN and BBC Radio. Listen and subscribe.

Ireland’s new Radiocentre

TalkTV’s First Week

I’m intrigued by the Talk TV launch. News UK have taken the output of their digital radio station – Talk Radio – and used that for the basis of a new TV channel. The TV investment comes in prime time where they, currently, have three shows – a news programme with Tom Newton-Dunn at 7pm, a Sharon Osborne-led panel show at 9pm and their big signing Piers Morgan at 8pm.

As part of the launch the Talk Radio output has had a bit of a tidy up, with a re-jig of the presenters and a refreshed look.

For Piers Morgan, his TV show is also syndicated to Sky News Australia and Fox News’ streaming service – Fox Nation – as well as now appearing on what was Talk Radio.

I say what was, as the branding of the radio station is still a little confused. It seems to be referenced on-air by the presenters as “Talk TV from the Talk Radio studios”, in the jingles as Talk Radio, but also lots of Talk TV references too. As part of the re-launch the radio station has lost its website and had its social media rolled into Talk TV’s too.

For the radio station there’s a core gamble – will giving up the control to be subsumed into a new TV brand generate more awareness and audience than going alone? Or will the TV elements turn off the radio listeners?

I think all the constituent parts of Talk TV are pretty good. The radio has been visualised for a couple of years now, so they’re pretty well-practiced. The combination of Zoom’d in guests plus regular phone-in callers means the output is pretty content-rich. The new TV shows – Tom Newton-Dunn’s The News Desk, Piers Morgan Uncensored and The Talk with Sharon Osborne are well produced, easily outshining what something like GB News is doing.

The challenge for the TV channel is defining what it’s there to do, and who it’s for. The News Desk is solid and it has a good story count. Tom Newton-Dunn, without much hosting experience, comes across assured with gravitas, and as he gets more comfortable will likely relax into it and ‘own’ the programme more.

It does though lean into its own journalism (or that of its sister newspapers and radio stations) and that does question whether you’re watching the ‘real’ news or not. On the first day, a version of The Sun’s “Prince Andrew Lunged at Me” interview played out – something no other outlet chose to report on.

The Talk, notionally a Sharon Osborne fronted show is a little odd. Sharon seems to have a carer each night who does most of the difficult TV bits and is then dragged into the discussion at junctions. The rest of the panel rotates.

Sharon didn’t quite make a week as she had to return to LA to look after Ozzy who’d contracted COVID. When Vanessa Feltz covered it had far more zing.

In the US Fox News has The Five, a very successful panel programme – a big part the appeal comes from fixed characters who appear most nights. With rotating hosts its hard to care what their opinions are as you may never see them again.

In their prime slot is Piers Morgan. I think the clever thing about Piers is that with his editorial background, he’s pretty good at finding the right angles for stories, deciding when to go with the majority, or against it. He’s a controversialist, a personality and generates a response (good or bad) from the audience. A Marmite character like Piers has much more chance of ratings success than a vanilla one.

However, his success on GMB was also down to having a foil in the form of his co-host Susanna Reid. GMB, like radio, has learned that on breakfast shows having a cast of characters who different audience members can back, can be very useful, and keeps a whole family tuned in. Marmite personalities on their own can draw people in, but they’re easy to switch off too.

Watching his first week, I think there’s elements of gold, but what’s interesting is when he gets into specific subjects. The rallying against the woke brigade etc just gets a little repetitive.

What I was surprised by, again, was some of the story choices. We had about three mins on Disney’s (minor) campaigning against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida including a follow-up 5mins on it with US right-wing commentator Megyn Kelly. This is a very culture-wars topic, relatively complex to understand if you’re new to it, and something that hasn’t really cut across to the UK.

Similarly there was a chunk of Piers’ Trump interview about Hunter Biden’s laptop. Now as a tactic for engaging with the orange-one I can see why you would bring it up, but it was referenced again a few times in the week.

Perhaps it’s there to appeal to the US audience, but it shows up part of the tension of that show in having to appeal to multiple territories. When interviewed, Piers said that many stories, because of Twitter, are much more internationalised and therefore relevant to everyone. I’m not so sure.

The first week of ratings I don’t think would have surprised anyone. A strong-ish start, driven by Piers and then a drop over the week. The true thing is understanding where the base for the TV channel is, and that might take a few weeks.

As is the case now, digital numbers are squawked about:

Already as a radio-TV hybrid, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with News UK thinking about all the different touch points for their material. Indeed, the idea of ‘Talk’ being a content creation engine (as well as cross-promoter) is a sensible one. What it lacks at the moment is a real digital operation to support the material that it’s generating.

There’s some social clips, and YouTube catch-up, but if the desire is for the brand to be owning part of the zeitgeist, it needs to have a better way of flagging up what its doing. A content website would be a good start.

There’s a good three-part investigation into Tucker Carlson, and what has led to his success in the NY Times. Much of it is pretty depressing, but there is a good insight into how Fox News thinks about its brand and content. It has a very analytics-driven approach, looking at the minute-by-minute ratings and what resonates and particularly uses its own news-making content as features on other shows. In fact they have a whole department – Fox News Flash – that turns these stories into articles and social. Alongside this post-game content, there’s a planning producer looking over show content to help better create storylines across their main shows. You don’t have to agree with what they do, to understand the benefits of some of their structure and strategy.

One of the main challenges that radio, and TV channels like this face, is that the focus is on making the output and ensuring there is some – 24 hours a day! The hamster wheel means that the right amount of effort isn’t put into making the content travel or to turn occasional viewers into fans of the whole station.

As Talk TV settles down to what will initially be low ratings, the question will be whether it can rise to the challenge of both making and marketing its content and creating a coherent brand across the schedule. Can it create passionate viewers/listeners and extract maximum benefit from the efforts it’s putting in?

Useless Digital Operators, Part 3

News from Bloomberg’s Ashley Carman as Facebook’s pulling its podcast integration. It didn’t manage a year.

It’s something I’d written about last year where I finished by saying:

Like anything, success is in the execution. I’m yet to be persuaded Facebook will get the execution right. I guess we’ll see.

I think it’s a shame that they couldn’t get it together. Facebook would have been a great place to reach non-podcast listeners, particularly older ones.

AOB

A really good episode of The Media Podcast this week. I catch-up with The Guardian’s media editor Jim Waterson and City University emeritus professor Lis Howell to talk about the misogyny in the Westwood and Angela Rayner stories. Great insights from both, including Jim’s time in the parliamentary lobby. I also talk to journalist James Ball about Elon Musk’s Twitter take-over and free-speech. Have a listen.

The road to building a compelling brand