New Directions, New Challenges
Edited By Stephen Cushion and Richard Sambrook
Chapter 7: The View from the UK: The BBC – “Channel Wars, Streaming Wars”
← 82 | 83 →CHAPTER SEVEN
The View from the UK: The BBC—“Channel Wars, Streaming Wars”
PETER HORROCKS, FORMER DIRECTOR BBC WORLD SERVICE GROUP
I remember the good old days of the TV news channel wars in the UK. It felt like we were battling for victory one remote handset at a time. How the BBC won that war holds some clues for the digital battles now being waged for the aftermath of 24-hour TV news.
Back in 2005, I was tasked by BBC bosses with ensuring that BBC News 24 (now the BBC News channel) overtake Sky News in the UK. The first battleground was not in viewers’ homes, but in the newsrooms of London and the political offices of Westminster and Whitehall.
Firstly, I persuaded Kevin Bakhurst, foremost producer and editor of BBC TV news bulletins at that time, to apply for, and then become the controller of News 24. (The fact that the respected Kevin Bakhurst might demean himself by getting involved in “rolling news” in itself sent waves through the BBC newsroom and its correspondents around the world). Kevin and I then embarked on a comprehensive plan—of PR. We toured the news desks of London, pointing out exclusive stories and interviews that the BBC was beginning to break as fast as Sky News.
Journalists and politicians had used Sky News as their default, always-on news source ever since it had launched in...
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