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

Arrest from Illegal Streaming Investigation

An investigation into illegal streaming of premium content in the north west of England has led to an arrest.

Greater Manchester Police arrested a person in the Leigh area of Wigan, seizing electronic devices including satellite boxes and viewing cards.

The person has since been released under investigation, and enquiries are ongoing.

Sky Retains Most Customers

Sky’s owner Comcast has revealed that it has retained 99% of its customers, and 95% of Sky Sports customers, despite the impact of Covid-19.

The Q2 results also reveal that Comcast’s European revenue through its Sky division has dropped by 15.5%. This is partly as a result of allowing customers to pause sports subscriptions whilst live sport was suspended.

Comast’s Sky business comprises its broadcasting business, TV packages, and broadband and mobile services.

Sky Arts to Go Free-to-Air

Sky Arts, an arts and culture channel from broadcaster Sky is to become free-to-air in September.

Not only will the channel become available to more satellite viewers, but the channel will also join the Freeview terrestrial platform, as confirmed by the Ofcom license published this morning (28th July 2020).

The Freeview multiplex is yet to be confirmed, but previous speculation has suggested Sky Arts may replace Challenge on Freeview, which is also owned by Sky.

The move follows the launch of several new Sky branded channels in recent months, as well as the re-branding of Pick to Sky Pick. Challenge is yet to re-brand.

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.

Upcoming Sky Q Updates

Sky have unveiled a series of upcoming updates to the Sky Q platform, the flagship receiver which allows access to online and catch up content alongside the usual range of channels.

Among the improvements are:

  • Revised user interfaces, replacing the static user bar with a collapse-able one
  • Improvements to voice control, allowing the user to search by genre.
  • Additional HDR (high-dynamic range) content, including from Disney Plus.

The first update is expected in the next few weeks.

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.