Sunday 14 August 2022

“The BBC News Channel could be gone by April”

You may not know this, so here are a few tweets from BBC News Channel presenter Martine Croxall's Twitter feed today concerning the future of the BBC News Channel. 

She's not happy:

  • I think The Papers will be a casualty of what the managers are planning with one single channel.
  • I make my feelings known loud and clear. We are told that the audience has not made a fuss about what's planned...
  • I do not believe the true extent of the damage to the News Channel has been made plain.
  • It’s being closed. There will a new world-facing commercial one instead. The UK will get simulcast programmes you can see/hear elsewhere already. A strand of breaking news for the UK on merit that a standby team gets on air from a rudimentary studio.
  • The replacement channel will be commercial and aimed at an overseas audience. The UK licence fee payer will not recognise it.
  • There will be lots of ad breaks to fill for UK viewers.
  • The focus is to be “digital first” but that requires content. UK content comes largely from the BBC News Channel. Anyone who understands BBC News should know that.
  • These decisions are being made internally at the BBC. I am speaking the truth but I’m sticking my neck out. It’s the equivalent of threatening to jump off a cliff. Who loses?
  • Be prepared to be told that the UK will still get rolling News. What you won’t be told is that the target audience is overseas.
  • I was told on Thursday that the audience has not objected.
  • But people won't complain if they haven't been properly informed of what's in the offing.
  • You are not powerless. Object to the BBC DG and chairman. To Ofcom. To the DCMS select committee. Make noise about what you value. Our bosses say audiences don’t care. The BBC News Channel as we know it will be gone by April if we cannot shape the plans.
  • Without the BBC News Channel the range of UK stories and voices will wither. We give time and space to issues and to the Nations and Regions squeezed of other national programming.
  • The claim is that the plans were announced in May. But there’s to be no audience survey.
  • The news channel news was announced on May 26 but the true scale of the change was not made clear.
  • Yes and the front half hours will be aimed at a global audience. You’d get those recorded progs on weekdays too.
  • The BBC News Channel feeds many other BBC News services. It does so on a modest budget and very little internal recognition.
  • Managers claim it has been publicised.
  • The standard reply is there will be a channel. It won’t say it’s designed for commercial overseas viewers.
  • That’s about the size of it. The rest of the time you will get output aimed at a foreign audience. And any UK breaking news will have to be put on air from a standing start by a small team.
  • The management line is there will still be a rolling news channel for the UK but the small print shows it will be commercial and aimed at a foreign audience. Little room for adequate UK news coverage.
  • The BBC4 change is years away. The BBC News Channel could be gone by April.
  • So short-sighted.

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