New Director for BBC Scotland

Steve Carson has been appointed the new director of BBC Scotland, and will replace Donalda MacKinnon when she steps down later this year.

Steve Carson is currently the Head of Multi-Platform Commissioning for BBC Scotland, and is known for both content making and commissioning.

In his new position which he will take up in the Autumn, he will be responsible for leading 1100 staff who produce content across TV, radio, and digital platforms, in both Gaelic and English.

FA Cup Sets Viewing Record

The final of the FA Cup football tournament on August 1st (2020) between Arsenal and Chelsea was the most watched match of the season.

BARB data shows a peak of 8.2 million viewers watch the BBC’s coverage across all platforms, surpassing the 7.3 million for the semi-final match between Chelsea and Manchester United.

The top five most viewed football matches across the 2019-2020 season were all FA Cup games, and all were shown on the BBC.

Additionally, BT Sport also showed the FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea, and as the viewing figures are only for the BBC’s coverage, the actual number of viewers of the match will be even higher.

Major Businesses Donate Advertisment Airtime

On 31st July (2020) Channel 4 showed an exclusive ad break, during Cats Does Countdown on Channel 4, which saw airtime donated to six independent businesses:

  • Devine Flowers in Maidenhead, supported by Lloyds Bank
  • Jokoto Tailoring in Bristol, supported by American Express
  • Kool Kuts in Brixton, supported by Channel 4
  • Larch Green Alpacas, Glasgow, supported by Bought by Many
  • LV Property in Birmingham, supported by Rightmove
  • Seamus O’Donnells in Bristol, supported by Coca-Cola

American Express, Bought by Many, Coca-Cola, Lloyds Bank, and Rightmove each donated 30 seconds of airtime, with the remainder donated by Channel 4. The ad break was also shown on E4, Film4, More4, 4Music and catch-up service All4.

The aim of the ‘The Great High Street Comeback’ campaign was to help support independent businesses impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and show that the high street is open for business again

Further BBC News Job Cuts

The BBC is to make a further 70 job cuts in its news service, increasing to 520 from the 450 job losses announced earlier this year.

The increase in the job losses are a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has increased the financial pressures on the BBC. The jobs cuts include senior management positions.

Most of the BBC News output is being retained, but more content is to be shared amongst programmes both locally and nationally.

However, some high profile shows including the Victoria Derbyshire programme have been axed, although Victoria does remain as a BBC News presenter.

MTV Slims Portfolio, Offshoots to Close

ViacomCBS is slimming down its MTV portfolio, and is to close Club MTV, MTV OMG, and MTV Rocks on the 20th July 2020.

In addition to the main MTV channel, which is now more entertainment focused, five music channels will remain:

  • MTV Music
  • MTV Hits
  • MTV Classic
  • MTV Base
  • MTV Live HD

MTV Base is to gain a new Club music chart show, whilst MTV Music will gain a similar show for rock music.

MTV channels are subscription channels currently available on Sky and Virgin Media.

Pluto TV Joins Virgin Media

Pluto TV has joined Virgin Media, allowing users to access the on demand service through a dedicated app on the V6 box. It has not been confirmed if the service is available on the previous generation Tivo boxes.

Pluto TV is owned by ViacomCBS, and is a series of thematically created streamed TV channels, many created around a particular series. The service can be accessed on a wide variety of platforms.

Full details of the Pluto service can be found on the dedicated page here.

BBC Premier League Record, Success for Hamilton on Disney+

Attracting a peak audience of 5.7 million, the BBC has set the record for the most viewed Premier League game with their broadcast of Southampton vs Manchester City. The previous record was set by the Manchester United and Manchester City derby game in 2012, which was viewed by 4 million.

Although not normally a rights holder for live premier league games, the BBC is showing 4 games live due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Disney’s switch of the release of the musical Hamilton to its Disney Plus platform appears to have been successful, with data from Apptopia showing the app had been downloaded 513,323 times over the July the 4th weekend. The recording of the Broadway musical was scheduled for cinematic release.

Additionally, there have been 71.5 million worldwide downloads of the Disney Plus app since launch. This figure excludes India or Japan, where the service has been integrated into existing apps.

Virgin Media Reveals Leap in TV Viewing

Cable TV operator Virgin Media has revealed how the Covid-19 lockdown has changed viewing habits in the UK.

Amongst the statistics revealed are a 10% increase in customers watching TV, compared to pre-lockdown, with customers watching TV for an average of 41 extra minutes per day.

28th March, a Saturday, was the busiest data for customers tuning into TV channels, with 17% growth, compared to the eight previous Saturdays. For apps, this figure was an even higher 42%.

News, music, and radio channels all saw an increase in demand. Each customer spent an extra 25 minutes watching the news, on average. With schools closed, children’s channels also saw increases in demand.

Cuts to Regional BBC Services

The BBC are cutting some regional TV shows, in order to cut costs. 450 job losses are expect, with the axing of inside out the most prominent move.

Regionally news bulletins on the Breakfast programme (BBC One) will return, although a date for this has not been announced. All 6.30pm news bulletins will have a single presenter going forward. The regional politics programmes will be reinstated, but with a new format to reach a wider audience.

Inside Out, which has 11 regional variations will be replaced with a new investigation programme, from 6 larger regions. The unnamed programme will focus on single investigation per programme, rather than three 10 minute long segments.

Perhaps the biggest changes are at the local radio stations in England, which will retain the standard blocks of 4 hour long programmes introduced initially as a temporary measure back in March. Local programmes will be retained between 6am and 10pm, with a new national late show planned for 10pm to 1am. All shows will have 1 presenter only.

Some of the cuts are necessary due to the delays in reintroducing TV license charges for the over 75s, and the cost of covering the licenses for those on Pension Credit.

Disney to Close Channels

Children’s channels Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD are to close in the UK. Unsurprisingly, this is part of the moving of content to Disney’s subscription streaming service Disney Plus, which will become the exclusive home for all of the content.

The move will take effect on October 1st, and will affect Sky and Virgin Media subscribers who currently subscribe to packages which include the channels.

Disney Plus launched in March this year, and costs £5.99 a month. Sky subscribers can access the service through the app on Sky Q.

The change is specific to the UK, although similar moves may made in other countries. Other Disney owned channels including National Geographic are not affected by the change.