July 2014 Newsletter

Ritchie Cogan
Ritchie Cogan 2nd July 2014

Welcome to IBT’s July newsletter with a brief update on our work and relevant news from the media industry.   (Print this Newsletter)



Our annual general meeting will take place later this week – at 5pm on Thursday July 3rd at the IBT offices in Southwark. This event is open to all members. It will finish at 6.30pm and will be followed by drinks, so that we can say goodbye to our longstanding Chair, John Whitaker, who is stepping down. Our new Chair will be Marie Staunton, the former Chief Executive of Plan International UK.


IBT training events

We held two training events this month, one on Twitter, the other an introduction to stills photography. We’ll be organising more training events in the Autumn. There will be a special session on Twitter for CEOs, which will look at how a CEO’s Twitter presence can help to increase the influence of his/her organization. Please let me know if you are interested in attending so that we can choose the best date for this. We’ll also be organizing a one day video shooting/sound recording session – we’re still planning this, so if you’d like to attend please get in touch so that we can make sure the training we provide matches the needs of IBT members.


Record audience for BBC global news 

New figures released by the BBC show that their global audience has increased to a record 265 million people a week. These figures for 2013-14 represent an increase of 9 million on the previous year. The main reason for the increase is the growing audience for the BBC’s tv and online services. Radio audiences are in decline, although radio remains the biggest platform overall.  Key increases are in Russia (biggest growth for a single market) and India (where the BBC has launched a tv service for Hindi speaking audiences). BBC World News TV, the BBC’s global tv news channel, has also shown an increase – it now reaches a weekly audience of 76 million.


24 hour rolling news is here to stay

Sky News boss John Ryley has claimed that the future of 24 hour rolling news is secure as long as broadcasters keep innovating to keep pace with viewer demand. Speaking to the RSA, Ryley said that whilst the public appetite for consuming news from a range of providers has grown, this has not adversely affected rolling TV news. However, it has forced Sky to widen its offering to include news on tablets, games consoles and connected TVs, each providing consumers with content in a variety of formats. Ryley also admitted that Sky was paying close attention to new news providers such as Buzzfeed and Vice who are devising new ways of engaging audiences.


Traditional news outlets face growing challenge from online providers

A more detailed analysis of the impact of the digital revolution on traditional news providers can be found in the recently published annual digital news report from The Reuters Institute. The report surveyed 18,000 people in 10 countries and found that some news organisations are being outpaced by the speed of change whilst others are showing signs of rising to the challenge. Established news organisations in some countries, notably the US and Japan, are finding it hard to transform print success to the web. By contrast, in the UK, Denmark, Finland and Germany, traditional news brands have managed to maintain market share at the same time as driving editorial and business innovation. The report highlights the success of the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed in Europe, the US and Brazil. Google New remains a leading player in Italy, France and Germany; while Yahoo! is the top news site in Japan.


 Ofcom announces details of its public service broadcasting review

Ofcom, the media regulator, has announced the terms of reference for its review of public service broadcasting. The review will evaluate how effectively the public service broadcasters are delivering the purposes and characteristics of PSB, particularly in the light of changes in the way TV content is distributed and consumed. They are particularly concerned by the impact of new TV content providers such as Netflix. The review will look in detail at the role of Channel 4 and its sustainability. It will also consider the contribution of the commercial broadcasters including Sky. The review will not look in any detail at the BBC as this will be covered when the Charter renewal debate takes place next year. IBT will be submitting evidence to the review later this year.


What do the media really think about NGOs?

It’s clear that the aid industry and development NGOs are the subject of increasing media scrutiny and criticism. In the wake of a number of newspaper articles, programmes on BBC radio and TV, and on Channel 4, IBT has started work on a briefing paper to examine this in more detail. We want to achieve a better understanding of what motivates media criticism, by talking on and off the record to a range of journalists and broadcasters. Helen Magee who wrote our report on media coverage of the famine in the Horn of Africa, has begun work on this and the comments she has received so far have been revealing. One BBC correspondent told her ‘if anything, I don’t think there is enough criticism. We swallow what NGOs do far too easily.’ Another correspondent told Helen that ‘a bit more humility would not go amiss.’ If there are any particular journalists you think we should interview, please let me know. The briefing paper will be available to all IBT members in the Autumn.


Celebs work on TV

Despite the debate about the merits of using celebrities on TV to engage audiences with development messages, such programmes continue to deliver big audiences. David Beckham into the Unknown, shown last month on the BBC in the run up to the World Cup, was the top rated BBC1 show for its slot in the last 12 months, with 4.6 million viewers.


Best wishes



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