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tv   The Media Show  BBC News  October 3, 2021 3:30pm-4:01pm BST

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in—person to a packed labour party conference. today, we want to explore keir starmer and his current relationship with the media. does he have the same level of newspaper backing that tony blair, for example, enjoyed? do the newspapers still hold much sway over public opinion anyway? and what about those new outlets that emerged during jeremy corbyn�*s time? with power shifting to the centre of the party, how do they see their roles now? let me introduce you to my guest. jane merrick is policy editor at the i newspaper. before that she was political editor of the independent on sunday. you've been on twitter today with the assessment of keir starmer�*s speech for all your readers. i was tweeting a very long thread it was a very long tweet actually, it was a very long speech actually,
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so i ended up tweeting about 70 tweets. i guess it's a mix. the first take is a few tweets as he's speaking, but i'm actually going to be writing a piece that's halfway part written. about what his policy agenda is and whether that's enough for him to win the next election. obviously there's a long way to go, but are these policies that can win labour the next election? erin bastoni is co—founder of the barnett media a left—wing media company. i've been looking at the website, you've got an op—ed saying that starmer is just as dishonest as borisjohnson. there is another headline — "starmer rigs the rules." is that the kind of dramatic statement, is that the reason your readers go to your site and not the mainstream media? well, i wouldn't say it's dramatic. the first piece is an op—ed. people have opinions.
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the thesis of that op—ed is available for anybody who wants to go and read it. in terms of our coverage no, we do sustained reporting, we have reporters — in terms of the first port of call for the people who consume our content, it won't be an article, generally it will be through our youtube channel. we have a show tonight at 7pm and our youtube channel which will look at the conference, as well as other stories across the day. we have three of those a week. principally our footprint is audiovisual. that doesn't mean it's based within twitter, increasingly it's on youtube and instagram. but we do try to cover multiple spaces, podcast, articles, explainers and longer form video. jack pete is the founder of the london economic, another digital—only outlet. i see you have a piece headlines brits are flogging petrol on facebook for quadruple the pump price. a yougov survey found nearly half of britons hold the media most responsible
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for petrol stations running out of fuel. what do you say to that, what you think? i think there is obviously chaos at the pumps. - we were tipped off about a story about how people are brazenly l attempting to sell 10 litres of petrol for 50 quid. - if you look at the cause of the fuel prices it's i down to a handful of forecourts that ran out of petrol— and it's spiralled i into a huge story. there's no smoke without fire. yes, the media has had a role in perpetuating that, - however what sort of media? social media will have videos of long queues and fights, - whereas in the media i think that a lot of people certainly _ we would be saying make sure that you consume petrol sensibly. and that we think about carers and front line -
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workers as the priority. we also published a story at the same time, - looking back to a select committee report from 2016 where it - puts in quite clear detail how - the government was warned about all of this happening within a month of the brexit referendum. - so, as i say, no smoke without fire. and they knew. lara o'reilly is media editor at insider. before we get into politics, let's start with you. netflix�*s ceo, ted sarandos, a former media show guest has been speaking to the press this week. what was he saying? what's quite interesting is this week netflix has released some data that it doesn't usually put out. what this data shows is to do with its most popular shows. there are two surprising findings from that. i guess the big ones was that its new korean language series called squid game, which is basically a korean
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version of hunger games. not only could be its biggest non— english series of all time but it said it could be its biggest show ever. and it's really interesting — it's an interesting show, a real feast for the eyes. it's got great reviews but it's interesting to see international content having such a big play in the us and in the uk. why do you think he is giving out this data? they have been accused of being quite opaque before. tv executives and other people in the media have often grumbled that netflix doesn't release its viewership numbers, and can basically say whatever it wants about the success of its shows at a time when it's plain to see that traditional tv ratings are failing. also at a time when netflix is spending billions of dollars and out—bidding those tv companies and getting exclusive access to content and so on.
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another big gripe for tv execs is when they've done their outside research into netflix shows in the past, the shows that it says are most successful, it usually bases on a metric, which is essentially the number of households that watched at least two minutes of a show within the first month of its release. what they say about that is that's all well and good, but what happens if you've got a very strong first episode and everybody hates it later? where is everybody watches our appointment to view for strictly or whatever. this time it's released data on a different metric, which is the number that actually watched, i'm sorry, the total hours that were viewed within the 28 days. it gives you much more of a picture as to the series
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netflix views have actually binged and loved. ok, that's the streaming giant that's been shaking things up. jack, you've been on the media show before back in 2017 at that point you had the most shared piece of any news outlet during the 2017 election. for listeners who don't know, what is the london economic? the london economic was born seven years ago, largely out _ of the financial crash, and it was a paper- that was trying to explain i to regular people what just happened, really, and why- they were suffering the effects of a great market explosion without the jargon and _ the complicated bids. we've effectively grown . into what i would describe as a metropolitan publication. with a metropolitan mind—set. we espouse progressive and liberal and inclusivej
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viewpoints, but we also - promote entrepreneurialism. we understand the need for market resolutions and how businesses - can provide solutions| as well as politicians. you say you're metropolitan, does that mean that you're not interested in appealing to readers who are from the traditional red wall areas, that's not of interest to you? i wouldn't say that viewers per se, we wouldn't draw. a line under any sort- of audience anywhere, really. we are a newspaper. but we are here to serve quite a clearly defined demographicj and so i guess in some regards that may be true. yeah _ 0k. you do also have a deliberately tabloid—y feel. i was very tempted in the office earlier to open the story "watch
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naked man stroll down london street before his semi—clothed pal knocked a cyclist off bike." fantastic. but that's clickbait, isn't it? is that how you make money? no, not at all. to touch on the tabloid nature of the newspaper, i agree, . i think that tabloid has become sort of like polluted by the red tops. - what we were doing right _ at the start was trying to make more complicated matters such as politics and economics accessible. _ obviously, like any - newspaper, we are notjust a politics newspaper, we have food and sport and lifestyle pages. - we obviously try to cater to a broad audience. - but i think using the tabloid format to communicate - with people is not a bad thing. what is your business model? how do you make money?
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we make money through l advertising and that comes through a various range of forms. effectively, we've - been self—sustainable fora numberof years and have been lucky enough to build a team on the back of the _ stuff we are putting out, i which is becoming popular. remind us how novara media covers its costs. in ideological terms, you do practice what you preach, don't you? well, i hope so. yeah. we have 18 staff on paye - and we also have freelancers, pay our freelancers more than we pay our stuff - because they don't have pensions and holidays. that sounds quite hard in a temporary environment. how do you do that? we have no advertising is set for youtube. we have advertising revenue coming in.
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from youtube, considerable feeds over the years, revenues that can generate. the overwhelming majority of our income, 85% is from supporters who are quite happy to make a regular payment, to support our work. and that's not that unique when you think about for instance the guardian, which is free to read but they say, would you like to support ourjournalism because we produce something quite distinct from the mail or the express. there is a significantly large audience that is willing to pay for it. they're willing to also pay for the idea that other people can read this content without there being a payoff. without there being a paywall. we operate something quite similar. yes, it's worked and my message to people who are sceptical about that, or want to enter the media, is there is a huge appetite for new ways of doing things, different kind of content, for what you might see in media. you can find your audience, this great essay by kevin kelly, about 20 years ago. many of the lessons in that essay,
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highly recommended, are still pertinent. we found our audience, is growing and we are growing and were very happy to be able to do that while being core with our values. i have to ask, like the london economic did very well under thejeremy corbyn bounce so what has happened to your traffic since then? last year was the best year for us by far. 0ur youtube audience doubled, i think you can put that down to many people getting content online. obviously they were stuck indoors because of lockdown. for me i don't thinkjeremy corbyn is why we have grown. look at the sun newspaper for instance after murdoch comes into the british market in the late '60s, early '70s, he identified baby boomers and has really been a content journey with those people his entire career in the uk.
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i think for us in novara media we look at millenniums and look at gen 2 and say we know where you feel the media is falling short, we want to craft stories and offer insight where you like to see them. and we are going to go on a journey with you. we have an audience right now in their 30s and 20s but we want to grow. when they're in their 40s, 50s making decisions, having influence it going through novara media just like people in the sunday times. yes, these sites are doing pretty good traffic and still having a healthy following. how have papers like yours changed in response as a reaction? i think it's really interesting that there are websites like novara, which did really well under jeremy corbyn and they were quite disruptive in an interesting way. i think no matter what their politics is there are a mix makes a really good point about generational readership,
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followership and people going online. our newspaper is read by a broad scope of ages. we have young readers, student readers, older readers, they can get the newspaper for 65p or go online. what mlegacy media, newspapers have done is really improve our online offering. maybe not so much in direct response, butjust an awareness of where this media is going. so we have an app, we have a much fuller online offering i think than we did five or ten years ago. i think that shows on the website today. let's go back to the political events of this week. keir starmer has been in brighton for the party conference. how well do you think starmer and his team handle the media? i would have said before today there have been teething problems. i think they have, on the eve
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of the conference we would've expected a big interview say with the guardian. he did something with the sunday mirror but i think the guardian, there wasn't really a major piece there. i think he struggled because of the pandemic and because ofjust where we are with the labour party. i think he has struggled to have a proper hearing from the press. and i think that part of that is because he hasn't been able to break through due to covid, but also because he hasn't really, as he said today, got his house in order. i think today that's been a slight game changer in terms of how the media regard him. i'lljust read out a tweet the political editor of the sun who said, "long road to go, but at least the opposition are finally having a crack at credibility." that's a really interesting response from them. so i think, as harry says, a long way to go but i think he delivered a speech
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today that shows that he is serious about winning the general election. we will develop that a little bit more. do you agree with jane? i think he's been in post now for about 18 months. i think the majority of that has been a shambles. you look at the local elections, hartlepool. in a way, covid should been a gift for him. strange to say we've gone through this appalling period. but he had a real opportunity, he was given time, most leaders of opposition in the job which i think the people in the media don't really say. it is incredibly difficultjob, he had time to get his policy messages right and i think we need to understand, strong communication, whether it's brexit, starmer now, tends to be because of policy. and i think politics and policy are separate — if he could get the comms right, i think it's set you up for a hiding to nothing. in terms of labours comms strategy now, their approach which was adopted 20 years ago, and i think it would be
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foolish to say that it can't work. i think that would be foolish. however, i think the world has considerably changed last 20 years. what is the policy offer from starmer, we don't know. i think the conclusion i had leaving conference last night was people were having this debate, one way or the other £15 for minimum wage, for the care workers, that was the original point. in—fighting in the labour party. and i look at my phone and am getting videos of people having scraps on petrol forecourts. it does feel to me that this conversation of electability and presenting himself to the country is kind of disassociated from the reality. i agree, i thought it was an adequate speech, it wasn't a bad speech. if it was a bad speech i think he was in trouble. but i don't see them mastering the media in a way that will be necessary for labour. we know labour in this country has structural faults because of media ownership which favours the tories. it will take something really
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special from keir starmer to do what majority to and right now surrounded by the people he is, i don't see it, i don't see it. importantly i don't see it at all with new media at all, not one bit. let's talk about how that much change. let's talk about how that might change. do you think he needs a political big hitter from the press to work with him? blair had campbell — what you think? yeah, that's an - interesting question. he's got matthew doyle, who when i started - in the lobby 20 years ago, - matthew was running the rebuttal unit in the labour press office. he's got real experience. he worked for tony blair. after tony blair left power. and i think that's allowed some jeremy corbyn supporters - to say it's a tony blair tribute act. | but matthew doyle is a professional, he understands communication. -
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i think aaron's right, . he could've done much more with the pandemic i and getting things in order. but i don't think you really need a kind of lobby name _ or a big tv name any more. i don't think it matters as much as getting the message right i and getting that through. i i think it is about credibility. and i think he's made a big step today in making that credibility. so names banded around like kevin maguire, you don't think that's necessary? idon't think it's necessary because i think that where tony blair- was when he took alastair campbell on, from the daily mirror— in the early days, i think it was sort of a different sense... tony blair was seen - as the next prime minister. there was a real flocking to him. i think the jury is stilll out with keir starmer. i think there's such a long way to go. l i think we may see keir starmer needing to fight two elections . if his party will allow him that. because borisjohnson-
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is still pretty popular as we've been discussing, despite the terrible pandemic, . despite the fuel crisis. i i don't think he can attract big. names at the moment but i don't think he necessarily needs to. i think he needs to get his own position and his own policies . and his own team right to then be able to say, "right, _ we can win the election." that takes me to your relationship and your colleagues' relationship with jeremy corbyn. did you in any way help shape policies do you think or test media lines? no, and this is something that has been thrown at us repeatedly. you were outriders with corbyn or whatever. the reality was corbyn and his people were so over stretched with the challenges they faced internally and externally they didn't even have the time to do that kind of stuff. the kind of intricate rebuttal, building relationships with people who'd be useful, they didn't do it. they should've done it.
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you had brexit, two elections, the brexit after 2017. do we feed into policy? i think some of the stuff that came in 2017 and 2019 certainly fed into some of that. but i don't think it was ever really in a cogent way. one think about keir starmer and i agree, if his party gives him two bites of the cherry, he'll need them, because the big difference between starmer and blair is when they brought in alastair in the mid—90s and the mirror image within the last week they had john prescott. they got the trade unions on their side. and people forget that blair took people on a journey, it was a popularjourney with mass consent. i think starmer overstepped the mark last week in his initial proposal, which collapsed. and i think he needs to learn a lesson from that. you can't bully people in a way that
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wasn't even being done by tony blair at his peak. there was a little bit of hubris. i think starmer and his team may beg to differ with you. we won't get into politics too much. jack, tell me, in terms of corbyn and his team did you have contact with them, were you allied with them? no, not at all. as a newspaper, i think we were born out of a lot of the same _ things ideologically. but we were never purposely, in fact we were never alignedl with the labour party then, - we're not aligned with them now. we're just as likely- to talk to rory stewart as we are to talk to - any of corbyn's shadow cabinet and indeed any of sir keir's cabinet. i so the short answer is probably no, no. i jane, we do assume that the papers
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on the left, the mirror and the guardian, say, will always support the labour leader and the papers on the right — the daily mail and the telegraph etc will support the conservative leader. but it's not always that simple? no, obviously in the late '90s, murdoch supported blair famously a very close relationship there. i think that's slightly different now. i don't think a labour leader needs the murdoch press now. i don't think it's that crucial. it's obviously important but it's not that crucial. the guardian i think didn't explicitly back the labour party the last election, election before. it's more complicated. i think that's the difference, because of social media you don't just need newspaper backings and i think it's much more open. what about on the conservative side? will every paper support every tory leader? i think they will.
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i think when it comes down to it. i had to raise a smile a couple weeks ago when borisjohnson brought forward his social care plan and there was a huge thundering comment piece in the telegraph saying that they couldn't possibly see how this could ever pass and it was sort of the end of conservatism. and interestingly enough, it was a good debate there that boris johnson started about whether he could get tax rises passed his party. when it comes to it, four weeks until election he is going to get the backing of the daily mail, he will get the backing of the daily telegraph i think that's... going back to the question at the top of the programme, how much sway do you think the press hold over public opinion anyway? i think we still do. but not to the extent where in '97 and 2001 it really didn't and 2001 it really did matter sort of getting the sun's support did... i wouldn't say swung the election because i think
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the sun always saw the way the wind was blowing. i think it's more diffuse now because of social media. it's evenly spread i think. that's all we have time for today. thanks to all my guests. jane merrick, policy editor at the i newspaper. the media show will be back next week at the same time. for now, thanks forjoining us. a mixture of sunshine and showers today. blustery wind, particularly across the far north of scotland. longer spells of rain. most showers into the western side of the uk, plenty of sunshine, at least earlier on today across eastern parts of england. more cloud and a few showers
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working their way into these areas. overnight, we are keeping showers going across a large part of the country, it may get wetter across southern parts of england and wales and with those gusty winds it should be quite a bit milder. clearer skies further notrh. away from the showers in the north of scotland, temperatures down to four or five. monday is going to be another day of sunshine and showers, again, the best of the sunshine likely to be across eastern parts of the uk. most showers further west, not as windy on monday, temperatures likely to be similar to those today except in wales and the south—west of england. cloud increasing here in the afternoon and by the evening it will be much wetter. we have got this next weather system arriving, an area of low pressure set to deepen as it moves into the uk, the wind is going to strengthen and around the low, we have the area wrapped around it, that could push into scotland, affecting england and wales
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although more southern parts of england and wales could turn brighter and showery and across northern ireland it will be a mixture of sunshine and showers. strong wind likely tuesday, around coastal areas and that will make it feel cold coupled with the rain. large parts of the country looking at maximum temperatures of 13 on tuesday. once the area of low pressure arrives, it will continue into the evening and push away slowly towards continental europe on wednesday. still looking like quite a windy start across eastern parts of england with cloud left over and a few showers, that will move through, wind starts to drop and sunshine coming through in many areas before the cloud increases in northern ireland, the next weather system looming large by the end of the day. with sunshine around and the wind dropping, it gets warmer, temperatures back up to 14—17. further into the week, high pressure towards the south—east, some rain across northern and western parts of the uk, coupled with a south—westerly wind,
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temperatures should be on the rise.
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this is bbc news. the headlines at apm: borisjohnson declines to rule out further tax rises, but insists britain won't rely on immigration to boost the numbers of truck drivers to deal with the fuel crisis. the way forward for our country is not tojust pull the big lever marked "uncontrolled immigration", and allow in huge numbers of people. police scotland introduces new verification checks for lone one in five petrol forecourt is still dry in london and the south—east, but the petrol retailers association says the crisis is virtually at an end in scotland, the north and the midlands. police scotland introduces new verification checks for lone
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officers in the wake of the kidnap, rape and murder of sarah everard.


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