Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Plea to Terrestrial Broadcasters

Thursday's second debate was always going to have a much smaller audience than the first, but what a shame it is that neither the BBC, nor ITV, nor Channel 4 will be showing it live on a terrestrial channel. It is only being shown live on Sky News and the BBC News Channel, almost guaranteeing that it will have an audience of maybe 1 or 2 million at the most. BBC2 is showing it "as live" at 11.30pm, but will be preceding it with analysis on Newsnight no doubt.

So come on, rescheduling a couple of programmes can't be that difficult. I am sure the second debate would get a higher audience than Watchdog will!

Sunder Katwala agrees.


Malcolm Redfellow said...

For heaven's sake, it's also on BBC Radio 4.

Use your imagination, Iain: the pictures are better that way.

MikeyP said...

It will be on Freeview as well as cable and satellite, but after the first drag, I cannot imagine that many will watch it whatever channel it is on!

Steve Piercy said...

Both Sky News and BBC News ARE available terrestrially - they are DTV Channels available on Freeview. Digital terrestrial is still terrestrial - and in big swathes of the country who have already switched off analogue TV signals, it's all that's available terrestrially.

A freeview box can be bought for less than 20 quid and in switchover areas, a new antenna is less likely to be rneeded.

BBC News is also available on Freesat, and Sky News is available on Sky for basic package subscribers.

Sky alone have almost 10 million subscribers, and Virgin deliver a fair few. Add the Freesat and Freeview/BT Vision/TopupTV customers and there aren't THAT many customers who can't see it live.

Those who can't, can listen to it on the radio, or view BBC News Channel online for free.

Raymond said...

Sky News is available on a terrestial channel - its called Freeview. Also the BBC News Channel is available on Freeview. I believe more people now watch digital TV on Freeview than on Sky and so although the maximum reach will clearly be significantly less than last week's estimated 9.9m I would expect the live audience to be well in excess of the 1-2m you forecast, Ian. The debate is also being broadcast live on radio 4.

Ray said...

If the BBC are going to show a filmed version after the event can we guarantee it will be untouched ? I wouldn't trust the BBC with a can of worms, I have seen their reporting of events before.

MisterE said...

Would Sky allow a simultaneous broadcast on another channel?

They've been hyping this debate up for months... although, it does seem much longer than that.

Justin Credible said...

I'm guessing that both Raymond and Steve Piercy have excellent reception witht heir freeview box, and therefore can't see what the problem is. However the number of areas that can't get a decent signal (I live in the middle of Cheltenham and can't get so many of the digital channels)are numerous.

Spaully said...

Presumably they tried for it - the BBC would no doubt prefer to show it live. Surely the issue is the contract drawn up with Sky - they want their own debate.

Hawkeye said...

Given the reaction to the first debate, I would expect the audience to be up on the second debate.

I'll be watching on Freeview or listening on R4 depending on where I am on Thursday night.

el-sid said...

>Both Sky News and BBC News ARE available terrestrially

Not in much of southern England they're not, including large parts of Iain's home county. No Freeview, no cable, not even the full spread of terrestrial analogue channels for that matter.

And the fact that the political geeks can track it down somehow isn't the point - it should be easy for as many casual viewers as possible to find.

In particular this one which is so critical for the LibDems, this is the debate where Clegg makes a tit of himself over Europe and the nuclear deterrent and it would be quite nice for the entire population to watch him do it.

Obvious solution would be to carry it on Channel 4, who pretend to be serious about politics and have a public service remit. Perhaps with a half-hour delay or something.

tory boys never grow up said...

Perhaps the plea should be to Murdoch who I suspect will not be keen to give up the live rights.

Of course all OUR national political and sporting events should be available to all of us in the Big Society. Perhaps you can get Dave to suggest it to his new best friend Rupert that we would like our property back!

Howard said...

Sky are also showing it on Sky 3, which is available to everyone with Freeview (as is Sky News) - but higher up on the listings - hopefully this will help more people find it!

Jem said...

Sky News gets low viewing figures but its a myth that its because viewers don't have access to it.

At end of 2009, just over 91% of households in the UK have digital TV or access to Sky News which is on all platforms. (according to Ofcom)
(although it wasn't on Virgin for a while)

The debate is also, as other commenters have said live on #radio4 and the BBC News Channel and online.

Iain is right that it will get lower viewing figures but thats because viewers tend not to sample channels, other than their favourites, or those in the prime positions on the EPG.

Stephen said...

It's supposed to be a Sky exclusive.

The main reason the powers that be were forced into having all these counter-productive debates was to suck up to Rupert Murdoch and pretend that his sensationalist and low rent "news" station is an equivalent news player to the BBC or ITN.

I hope few people do watch. It should have been two debates, ITV & BBC- Cameron V Brown. Why they all didn't have the balls to lock out these bit-part players
I have no idea and the price of this stupidity is obvious already.

I can't stand the way this man's interests seem to come before anything else in this country.

Richardr said...

Sky have made it available live to other channels - hence the BBC showing it on their news channel. They could have shown it on another channel had they wanted to.

I've a feeling Five may well have shown it had the Liverpool match not been on at the same time.

Jimmy said...

Of course the irony of Lightweight's fightback being derailed because of Murdoch's media agenda would be just perfect.

BlarTheBlogger said...

What a shame you couldn't be arsed crediting Neil Moss for the original and far better argued version of this opinion that he wrote on the Marketing Week website several hours earlier: http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/opinion/protecting-the-political-crown-jewels/3012445.article

After all, the website you probably lifted the idea from (http://www.nextleft.org/2010/04/let-everybody-see-debate-live-bbc-or-c4.html) not only did credit Mr Moss but went on to make some interesting expansions of its own. All you did was pass it off as your own. Still, wouldn't want to admit to nicking ideas from a 'loony-leftie' website would we? Much easier just to rewrite somebody else's opinion and pretend we have thoughts of our own. Good work fella.

Iain Dale said...

I couldn't be arsed because I have never heard of Neil Moss nor read Marketing Week.

What an idiot you make of yourself.

John said...


As a Tory you must realise that it is not in Sky's interest to show their debate live on other platforms.

If it convinces a few thousand to subscribe to Sky, that is a job well done as far as Sky are concerned.

Adam Boulton (and other staff) would have been paid anyway. So, for minimal cost, they may get more subscribers.

Sometimes, I think you are really a Lib-Dem at heart.

Right Hon. said...

Watch out for some dirty tricks from Murdoch's Sky presentation. A slightly raised podium for Dave and sickly green lighting for Nick.
Some negative subliminal images for Clegg: Adolf Hitler, Robert Mugabe and the Pope, and some positive subliminal images for Cameron: Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Richard Dawkins.
Gordon Brown will just be handicapped with subliminal images of Gordon Brown.

The Rt Hon. Grim Reaper said...

A bit of a fail on some people's part here. You don't have to subscribe to Sky in order to get Sky News. It's freely available for anyone who has satellite, cable and Freeview.

Although I must admit I think Channel 4 should have received the second debate personally.