June 2018 Newsletter
Welcome to IBT’s June newsletter with an update on our work and relevant news from the media industry.
View the latest IBT Newsletter in PDF format.
This month’s briefing with BBC World News
Later this month we will be hearing from Liz Corbin, Head of News at BBC World News, the BBC’s international news and current affairs television channel. Liz heads a newsroom of more than 100 journalists and the channel has the largest audience of any BBC channel, with a weekly reach of more than 100 million. Its output includes the impressive Our World, its weekly current affairs strand.
BBC World News has its own dedicated correspondents, such as Tulip Mazumdar who covers global health issues. It’s a great place for IBT members to reach global audiences. Liz will talk us through the best way to pitch ideas to her and her colleagues. She will be with us from 10-11.30am on Wednesday June 27th. You can book your place now via the IBT website.
Parliamentary event – the future of children’s television
We held our parliamentary event last month, looking at the future of children’s television. Speakers included Cheryl Taylor, Head of Content at BBC Children’s; Nicky Cox, Editor in Chief of First News and Unicef UK adviser; Professor Jeanette Steemers from King’s College, London and Simon Terrington, Content Policy Director at Ofcom. Sophie Chalk, IBT’s advocacy adviser, chaired the event. It was clear from all the speakers that there is an important opportunity to strengthen the international content shown by UK broadcasters, not just the BBC.
We are now waiting for Ofcom to decide whether or not to take a tougher approach with broadcasters. If you’d like to read more about the event, you can find a note on the members’ page of the IBT website. We have also uploaded Simon’s slides which look in detail at the TV viewing habits of children in the UK.
Last month’s briefing with HuffPost UK
Last month we heard from Charlie Lindlar, blogs editor at HuffPost UK. The London team has expanded significantly in recent years and HuffPost UK is successfully growing its audience. Charlie talked us through how the team works, its relationship with HuffPost in the US, how the different country sites commission content and he confirmed that blogs are still an important part of the UK site, unlike the US where they have been dropped. You can read a note of what was said on the members’ page of the IBT website. We also interviewed Charlie after the event.
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All change at Channel 4
Channel 4’s new leadership team of Alex Mahon (CEO) and Ian Katz (Director of Programmes) have announced their new strategy for the channel. There will be a renewed focus on innovation and risk taking, with a number of new presenters and shows in the pipeline. According to Katz, Channel 4 needs to be ‘diverse, disruptive and different’ and it needs to do a better job of reflecting the lives of people across the UK, and appealing to young audiences.
Channel 4 is a commercial broadcaster so it will continue to develop big audience shows like Bake Off, Gogglebox and First Dates but it’s likely that there will be more topical current affairs. It’s not yet clear what the implications are for international content. Channel 4 News and Unreported World will continue but we hope there will also be innovation in this area. We are due to meet Ian in the coming weeks. Read Alex and Ian’s speeches here.
For those attending this year’s documentary festival, look out for the session entitled SOS Planet Earth – Ways for Docs to Save the World. This will take place at 12 noon on Tuesday June 12th and will look at how TV can be more effective in raising awareness of environmental issues.
The speakers include Tom McDonald, the BBC’s Head of Commissioning for Natural History, who commissioned Blue Planet 2; Liz Bonnin who presented Wild Alaska Live and IBT Director, Mark Galloway. If you have any views on how TV could improve in this area, please get in touch with Mark.
Changing TV viewing habits
BARB has published its annual Viewing Report which explores how people in the UK are watching television. It makes for interesting reading and highlights the growth of subscription TV (Netflix and Amazon); pre-transmission viewing and the popularity of BBC3 content on the iPlayer. Almost half of the shows to feature in the iPlayer top 50 are BBC3 commissions – these include the channel’s current affairs output presented by Stacey Dooley and Reggie Yates. You can read the full report here.
Reimagining the humanitarian system
The Humanitarian Policy Group at ODI has published a fascinating think piece on the future of the humanitarian system. Entitled Constructive deconstruction – imagining alternative humanitarian action (PDF), the report critiques the present system for giving recipients little say; not aligning aid with what people need; and for promoting competition amongst INGOs that restrict the opportunities for collective action.
The working paper makes suggestions for change that include nudging INGOs towards enabling more local responses; incentivizing organisations to be smaller, differentiated by expertise and operating collaboratively; investing in local organisations and communities – and eliminating the term ‘beneficiary.’