It’s a well-accepted truth that a media mogul with a good fortune must be missing a TV station. Or in the case of Rupert Murdoch, another television network.
However, his time will be in the UK where he will add a new tier to his belt next week with the launch of TalkTV, a new free-to-air news and news channel which will be available to both Irish and UK viewers from April 25th.
It doesn’t really matter whether we want a new TV station or not: we’ll get one anyway.
It’s tempting to suggest that the launch of TalkTV is one last expensive, sentimental and swaggering farewell for 91-year-old Murdoch in a market he has always held dear.
It’s also tempting to suggest that in a media market increasingly commercialized by content streamers and platforms like Google, Facebook, TikTok, Amazon and Apple, there’s a heap of cash being poured into a television network that will have limited mass appeal, likes appear foolish.
For a media mogul who already runs a hugely successful, profitable but divisive network on Fox News — as well as a sprawling radio and newspaper business — sentimentality and stupidity are not traits typically associated with Murdoch.
Ultimately, the success or failure of TalkTV will be determined by a number of factors, including advertising revenue and the number of viewers who actually tune in.
For the past few months, the commercial teams behind the new channel have been courting advertisers and their agencies, urging them that the new channel will not be anything like the divisive Fox News in the US. They’ve also stressed that if he wanted to start Fox News UK – like he did in Australia – he would have done it a long time ago.
Much of the attention has been focused on the channel’s primetime flagship show, which will be hosted by Piers Morgan, the show business equivalent of Marmite. With the ability to polarize opinions, argue with his own shadow, and ridicule anyone who disagrees with him, he can equally command respect, forensically dissect an interviewee, and add a dash of humor and mischief to the proceedings.
From his well-documented spats and fights with the likes of Jeremy Clarkson and Alan Sugar to when he left Good morning Britain in March 2021, after saying he doesn’t believe Meghan Markle’s claims that she felt suicidal at times, Morgan has always courted controversy.
But a media personality doesn’t make a television network, and the production crews have equally emphasized that it’s not just about screaming white men, some of whom cut their journalistic teeth on Fleet Street.
Some of the other presenters recruited are former Sky News presenter Adam Boulton; former evening standard Editor Emily Sheffield; celebrity Sharon Osbourne and political editor Kate McCann.
Meanwhile, politicians and commentators Anas Sarwar, Bim Ofalami, Tan Dhesi and Miatta Fahnbulleh will also be regular panellists.
But the question still has to be asked whether or not the UK public has an appetite for another breaking news channel?
When Andrew Neil founded the GB News channel in 2021, he did so in the belief that viewers wanted an alternative to the existing broadcast hegemony. He also reckoned that the news and current affairs market was poised for a newfound jingoistic take on world affairs post-Brexit.
That didn’t work out so well. After initially losing a group of advertisers who were uncomfortable with the tone of the content and the direction the channel was taking, Neil hastily retired to his home in the south of France after only completing eight of the boy’s flagship shows Senders had moderated.
Now, 12 months later, GB News has around 2.3 million monthly viewers, according to the latest research from TV audience measurement company Barb. For comparison, BBC News had around 16.02 million monthly viewers at the end of January 2022, while arch-rival Sky News had around 11.07 million.
Perhaps Murdoch should have stuck with Sky News after all.
Breaking Autism Barriers
Marketing group Core has launched a new campaign to promote autism charity AsIAm.
The campaign highlights the barriers that autistic people face in education, work and society, and seeks to better understand the condition, which affects one in 65 people here.
AsIAm is chaired by ex-Core CEO Alan Cox and the campaign has the backing of a range of media outlets including Mediahuis Ireland, publisher of the Sunday Independent.
A loophole in Rathmines
Rathmines-based creative agency TBWA\Dublin have launched a new in-house production company called Bolt.
The new production unit, led by Yvonne Caplice, joins a 13-strong network of other Bolt studios in locations including Hong Kong, Sydney and Amsterdam and more.
The new studio offers clients a range of production services from film and photography to digital content and post-production solutions.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/murdochs-new-talktv-caper-will-need-to-be-a-lot-more-than-just-talk-41557953.html Murdoch’s new TalkTV caper has to be a lot more than just talk