tv The Media Show BBC News April 30, 2022 4:30pm-5:01pm BST
the ministry of defence says russia has been forced to merge and redeploy some of its forces in ukraine, because of failed advances in the north—east of the country. the government is taking urgent action to limit the amount of some hormone replacement therapy products women can access, to improve general supply. now on bbc news, the media show. hello and welcome to the media show. today we are going to look at three grand plans, the first comes from elon musk. twitter has become kind of de facto town square so it's just really important that people have both their reality and
the perception that they are able to speak freely within the bounds of the law. since elon musk said that, he's had a multi—billion dollar offer for twitter accepted. we will unpack what that means. the next plan we are going to look at is one that's come to a shuddering halt. this was just a few weeks ago. cnn is an icon of the cable and satellite age. but now cable is competing with streaming and there isn't a streaming subscription service for tv news in the united states. so if you were creating a news product from scratch in 2022, how would you build it? that's one of the questions, one of the starting points for cnn plus. it's the biggest bet any company has made in the news streaming world. cnn spent millions of dollars on its new streaming service, cnn plus. but within weeks it had been canned. and as that was stopping, well, rupert murdoch was starting something. he's launched talk tv in the uk with a familiarface at the centre of it.
welcome to viewers around the world, on piers morgan and i'm uncensored. as nelson mandela might have said, it's been a long walk to freedom of speech. and i'm back with a nightly form of fabulous guests and yes, some fun. talk tv, twitter, cnn plus, in a broad way these are all parts of the same challenge as we try and work out how we are going to consume news and discuss the news in the future. where will we be doing that, which companies will we be paying for their services? let's begin with vivian schiller, executive director at aspen digital. vivian, you've held senior positions at cnn and twitter so you are a perfect person to start with. were you surprised by those two stories? one of them i saw coming a mile away and the other one took me completely off guard, is the summary. the mile away is cnn plus, it was always a dubious proposition.
well, notjust to me, many felt that way, that you can take a product that people watch for free that it is had declining viewership and get them to pay monthly to get more of the thing that they could get for free. it's not surprising to me that it failed although, i was a little startled by how quickly the new ownership of cnn, which was recently purchased along with the rest of time warner media from — warner media by discovery. i've got to tell you, musk, i didn't see it coming. even when he made the announcement that he was going to buy twitter i actually didn't believe the day would come when the board would actually say yes, we are selling twitter to you. but that day came on monday and working to talk about that decision in detail. vivian, thanks for being with us. chris williams is also on the media show. chris, you're the business editor
of the daily telegraph. and i wonder when you were watching what piers morgan and talk tv were doing this week as they launched, whether you felt you were watching the future. in some ways, but in some ways it's a hark back to what rupert murdoch's done in america and it's kinda back to the future. there're still big questions about the economics of tv news, whether they make it work, taking two approaches. one is to use assets they've already got in radio, in newspaper to make cheaper content. and then monetise new investments like piers morgan's around the world. it's a new model, wait and see i think is the current position. all right. we are going to talk about talk tv in detail and talk about twitter in detail in a few minutes. let's start though with cnn plus, we could reasonably call it one of the most spectacular media failures in recent years. it was a $300 million experiment. it was over within weeks. claire atkinson is chief media correspondent at insider. claire, help us understand why cnn thought this was a good idea and why
it came off the rail so quickly. it's really easy to answer that question, there were two management teams who wanted different things. warner media had wanted to launch the streaming service, they had conceptualised the idea, they brought in all this talent from other networks, spend millions of dollars bringing these people in, all the while you had the management at discovery say, not being able to say rather, that they didn't want this service they didn't see it as viable, they didn't think it would be profitable and they wanted to wrap news into a larger bundle with news, sports, movies and entertainment and it wasn't their vision at all. help us understand. what was this product when it existed? i'm sitting in the us, and open up my phone
or my tv, what do i get? you would get a couple of different things. it was billed as a little bit more lifestyle. it wasn't necessarily the breaking news that you would see on cnn, although they did have an element of that when there was big a news story about a guy in brooklyn who let off a smoke bomb and shot at people in the subway, cnn plus covered that. they were also doing panel shows. it was a little bit more lifestyle, news documentaries and so the feeling was that it wasn't you know, if you wanted news and you cut the cord and you didn't want to pay for cable any more that this wasn't really an alternative because there really wasn't that much news on it. and help me be as clear as we can be with the terminology here. we hear analysts talking about linear tv versus streaming products. just unpack those phrases for us a little bit, please. right. so linear tv just means traditional television. the terrestrial tv, broadcast networks like abc, nbc, cbs, these are all services you get free
to earth, they don't cost you money. cable costs you money but it comes to a fiber—optic cable into the back of your tv, where streaming is something you can get anywhere, you don't have to have a cable package. lots of folks historically who lived in new york say couldn't get free to air tv and they paid the cable company to get it. so this is something that is revolutionary, streaming, the whole idea is you can cut the cord, you don't have to pay for television any more and you could buy it a la cart. and you could buy it a la cartw. so you could buy, say, cnn say for 599 a month. cnn say for 5.99 a month. let's also bring in lauren hirsch who is a reporter at the new york ties for a long, can you help me with one question? why is it that news broadcasters are so preoccupied with streaming, why did cnn decide this was worth investing hundreds of dollars in? so for the past couple of years we've seen media companies funnel money into streaming thinking that's
the future of content. we've seen subscriptions drop in traditional tv so therefore they are looking where streaming is effectively replace that. but the problem is, there is now so much competition and we don't know what people will pay for, they don't know how much, how many streaming services people will pay for. so it's really been for the past year throwing spaghetti against the wall in terms of content streaming. and now i think everyone is realising there's a lot of spaghetti on the wall and not a whole lot is sticking, to be honest. plenty of spaghetti on the floor by the sounds of it as well. vivian, let me bring you in here. there is one potentially frightening scenario here for news broadcasters which is the audiences are departing the linear tv networks but they may simply not want a new streaming products. a new streaming product. well, that's possible. there are so many paid subscription opportunities now and i think we are now learning,
it still early days, learning the limits of how many netflix, hulus, apple pluses, etc people are going to sign onto. and when you look at news, the new york times has done well with their subscription service. in fact it's interesting that cnn plus has pointed to their bosses in making the case said, we think we are more of a new york times model, which i think was a little misguided, but 0k. but it is concerning and it may be that we find the limits beyond which news platforms are just not going to grow when it comes to television. the new head of the company has said that he's not worried about the profitability of cnn, he wants to do good journalism, we'll see if that sticks. and i wondered perhaps, faye, you could help me with this,
to what degree, one of you has already referenced netflix, to what degree that netflix story just before the cnn announcements was relevant, it announced it lost 200,000 global subscribers and perhaps the figure that caught everyone�*s attention. it expects to lose 2 million more subscribers in the next three months. claire, was that relevant to cnn canning cnn plus? i mean, i think it is. and the bigger picture in that the owners of cnn have to show wall street that they are investing in a profitable business. and what we've seen so far is the likes of netflix and disney plus have been throwing literally billions of dollars content producers in the hopes that people will subscribe. all of a sudden as a pivot wall street is saying, hang on a minute, we want to see profit from this business. the expectation that this was a limitless, 2 billion people potentially would tune into streaming or pay for streaming, that's now being questioned. and that affects cnn's owners. and chris from the telegraph, i'm listening to all of the others talk about cnn plus, of course a product
aimed at the us market. i'm wondering if you think a streaming product could work in the uk. some of the challenges to cnn i plus face to the us would be even more steep in the uk. partly because the bbc is very high quality news and current _ |affairs product and available free| at the point of delivery in the uk. for anyone to try to sell a new subscription has. to be distinct and worth paying for in the uk _ i can't see that ever- being tried in the uk, really. perhaps it could be wrapped up in a broader subscription offer where you pay one company to give you notjust sports, everything else. |that's one of the ironies here, you have this sort of fracturing of the cable package. hundreds of channels and now you're seeing it be re—bundled _ by a handful of small or very large groups. you've got disney, netflix—
and warner discovery who owns cnn and kind of people who want to send you two sell - you a phone or... but seeing a kind of re—coalescing of the package that was cable, - that's kind of what's happening to cnn plus _ . it'sjust that cnn is going into. the warner discovery big package. ross, ijust want to say that this is a global business. news is global by its very nature. and these streamers, they may begin in the states but ultimately their goal is to be a power around the globe and have viewers everywhere. nbc news has certainly attempted to chase cnn and that and be a rival to the bbc in the hopes that that brand can have resonance and folks all around the world would seek content that they are producing. in order to make it cost—effective. same with netflix, same with disney plus, the march is on now to see how
many global subscribers you can own. this is notjust a country by country game. and of course, we can't talk about global media or global news without considering what rupert murdoch thinks about that. he's been a major player for decades. and this week he made another play with piers morgan at the centre of it, talk tv was launched on monday. piers morgan's show airs at 8pm. in the next hour president donald] trump blows the roof off the biggest issues in the world today and indeed he blows my head off too. you think i'm a fool? i do now, yeah. nothing is off—limits. trump tells us what he told putin about invading ukraine. i threatened him like he has never been threatened before. - and the big question, whether he will run again for president in 2024. people will be happy, - you might even be happy. well chris from the telegraph, you were watching, did you enjoy it? you know, it was not bad, it was very slickly made,
it was all this american style of production. not my cup of tea but i enjoyed it, thought it was very interesting. i and piers morgan has been very keen to share the ratings on both evening so far. how do you assess how talk tv has performed in its first 48 hours? his first show came in at 317,000 viewers which is quite _ possibly the best in that slot. he'll be pleased with that. there's something i like 100,000 viewers lost in the second day so that _ gives you a sense of how it's - going to be a long road in building an audience particularly- when the channel is somewhere down in the 2005. lyou're not to get any casual people | bumping into your stuff which is why i you're seeing a very aggressive . billboard campaign around the show which they spent a lot of money on.
it's going to be a long road. tv news in the uk is in structural decline, i think in 2013 80% - of people watching tv news are down 60% and that's with the pump - as a result of covid. a lot of the success will be judged on how it does online and you got| piers morgan as a guy who sort of traffics in controversy. - and that helps him to cut - through the noise online and he'll be trying to drum up as much controversy as he can. - and some of those controversies just don't play out on tv, of course they're pushing out social media clips that there are also plugged into the sun newspaper and the new york post. so vivian, as we consider whether news broadcasters need to find a route a way from linear, do you think this hybrid model that rupert murdoch and piers morgan have come up with could offer a blueprint for others? actually, yes, i think in fact, i wish on behalf of cnn plus they had maybe notjumped in with both feet for this nine figure investment into a full—blown channel but rather experimented a bit with these kinds of streaming shows. i'm not a big fan of piers morgan but i do think in terms of the business strategy,
it makes a lot of sense and sort of reflects the idea of, let's test and learn along the way what business model works. and one part of the business strategy is to build a tv network and a product around one individual. to what degree do you think that points the direction of travel that increasingly individuals may be as important or even more important than brands? yes, i think we are seeing that. there's all these newsletters, the journalists themselves are becoming conduits of the news, they are stars, piers morgan's very well known in the states. he used to host a show on cnn. he's actually going to be broadcasting on fox nation which is fox news's streaming offering. they actually told me they don't consider fox nation a news streamer, it's a lifestyle network. so i think that's
kind of interesting. this weekend there is the white house correspondents' dinner in washington where news and the future of news will be discussed by the great and the good. there'll be politicians and joe biden there kind of sitting with news organisations, this is a topic that will be talked about and perhaps donald trump comes back and perhaps those news audiences come back too. i'm interested that fox nation does not consider itself a news streamer, that you emphasise lifestyle. piers morgan is placing a huge amount of emphasis on culture wars. lauren from the new york times, do you think this makes sense in business terms and consumer terms? because the glory days of us cable news was very much based on covering politics. yes. i think that unfortunately, i culture wars has taken over the media as a way that politics -
are being covered now and we i think see that in the us, it's i actually fairly consistent with the trajectory we have seen. vivian, just before we can talk about twitter, presumably all of the strands of our discussion point towards a fact about news and how we consume it is in for a tumultuous few years. yes. i mean, it's impossible to even address that, respond to what you just said without talking about twitter. i think in many ways twitter is sort of the hub for the many spokes about news, what news takes hold, who pays attention to what and what storylines dominate. let's talk about twitter. of course this jaw—dropping announcement came on monday, it's a major news source, as vivian explains, elon musk has had an offer of $41; billion excepted for the whole thing. lauren hirsch from the new york times, you've been reporting on this in detail. while it would have been
jaw—dropping however long it took but to happen so quickly really took us all by surprise. how did that happen? it was incredible. i was at a show texting . with a source just to touch base and my source goes, a deal could happen - maybe monday, maybe not. i was like, "what are you talking about?". j ididn't i didn't know a deal could happen, let i didn't know a deal could happen, tet atone _ ididn't know a deal could happen, tet atone by— i didn't know a deal could happen, let alone by tomorrow. _ it happened at an - exceptionally fast speed. to take a step back, - elon musk put the offer out there without any financing. there was a lot of scepticism - that it was real, it was legitimate and he lined up on wednesday, displayed on thursday and all l of a sudden it became very real. and the board was faced - with the decision of looking at its prospect of standing alone and what its long—term - business trajectory was. and there was this sense that frankly, it was limited. - there's a lot of challenge right now with social media companies, - the advertising business is under pressure. -
they came to the conclusion that perhaps elon musk- was not a desirable buyerj but he was the only buyer and the price he was offering posed a better solution from a number- of business perspectives. once they arrived to that - conclusion and understanding they raced to get a deal done. they were up into the night _ on monday and signed the documents shortly before it was announced monday afternoon. _ and the deal has been done and the board has accepted the offer. but none of this magics away the tensions between whether twitter is a platform and whether it's a publisher. help us understand how that particular attention placed directly into this emphasis from elon musk on freedom of speech and how he feels like twitter should be doing better on that front. so he even has gone back and forth on the past couple days, _ when he was trying to launch the bid he talked about how passionately i he felt about freedom of speech,
european regulators came out i yesterday and reminded elon musk and says if he poses _ twitter he will have to abide by european law, - as of next year it requires social media companies to crack down on misinformation. i musk indicated yesterday- in a follow—up tweet that he kind of knew that twitter would have to abide by the laws. _ i think elon musk started this with a lot of ideals, - |a lot of grand ideas and i thinkj the reality is that governments in europe and potentially, - eventually us begin to regulate these media platforms| differently, ultimately, it will have to abide by that. so those are the details of how elon musk has ended up in the situation. vivian, let's bring you in. there will be people listening thinking, ok, looks like he's going to be in charge. how's my experience of twitter going to change? for example he talked about sharing the algorithm so we all understand why twitter is showing a certain tweets more than others. in a practical sense, if me, you or anyone else opens up twitter
what do you think the big shift would be? we don't really know. he's made very limited comments so far about what he plans to do about content moderation, content moderation is the practice of a platform deciding what to leave up, what to take down, what to amplify, what to suppress. but based on his limited remarks and based on some of his tweets in the last few days, just as personal behaviour twitter, i think it seems like he is maybe going to open up, make it more open, eliminate some of the decisions that previous twitter management has made which would give rise to a lot of ugliness on twitter. bullying, hate speech, all of those things. i'm very, very concerned. and can i ask you vivian about your time inside twitter?
elon musk has talked about it as being the world's town square with all the responsibilities that come with that. could you feel that responsibility when you were sitting around the top table of twitter thinking, "my goodness, we're part of this thing now where it almost goes beyond the company, where it's all almost a public platform that everybody uses." absolutely. i know i've been gone from twitter for a little while now but i know, i have a lot of friends in there and i think that that kind of faith and the passion about the role that twitter plays is still very much alive in the company. it is tiny compared to facebook and youtube and some of the other platforms but it punches above its weight tremendously in terms of the kind of influence it has. it affects news coverage, it is amplified by all of us journalists on twitter all the time. we amplify them in our stories. world leaders are on there. it has tremendous influence. so it has influence, it matters a great deal for people use it regularly. but lauren, i must ask on behalf of probably the majority of people listening to this programme, because the majority of people do not use twitter. why does this story matter to them?
i worked for the new york times and what the new york times i legacy goes, almost a trickle down to the rest of the country- with local news paper put| on the cover of their page would reflect what - the new york times do. that's kind of what i twitter has become. twitter has become i the a1 for the nation. so even if an individual is not on twitter reading tweets - they are absorbing news in some capacity and that news _ and what journalists think - is important and what journalists are seeing, that issue affects twitter. - so it all trickles down even if you are not i directly on the platform. when you say ai, you mean the front page of the new york times? i apologise. the front page of the i new york times, yes. and as we close this edition, i am interested to hear the three of you respond to vivian's point, which is really all of our discussions about how we all consume news,
where we all find information, where we discussed the world we live in all in some ways connects to twitter and connects to social media. chris from the telegraph, would you agree with that, that every consideration of say tv news is really in that context? yes, i think you've got a series on legacy media who are terrified of losing their audience and believe they have to be on social media in some respects. they are right but at the same time personally i think twitter has been pretty disastrous for political and journalistic culture and it can do better. why, chris? i think thatjournalists embarrass themselves on there. it's journalists talking to other journalists with an audience of people who have got an unhealthy relationship with the news and everyone would be better off off it. and i include myself in that. time to deactivate your account, chris? i actually have done that. and hopefully i won't bring it back. and vivian, on that final point, do you think that twitter risks distorting both how we see the world
as consumers but also how the news industry makes decisions? yes. although if it becomes too distorted then the news industry is going to abandon twitter as basically the equivalent of the new york times front page. he may end up destroying that golden goose that he thinks he's going to be monetising. we will see. we will have to see if the process goes through, the board is accepted the offer but of course now both sides do their due diligence and in a few months if that all goes to plan, elon musk will be fully in charge of twitter. well, that is where we will have to leave it. to all of my guests, many thanks. claire atkinson, vivian schiller, chris williams and lauren hirsch. the media show will be back at the usual time next week. for now, thanks for watching. bye— bye.
hello, there. for most parts of the country it has been a dry april overall, but for some, the final day of the month has brought quite a change in fortunes. this was the scene for a weather watcher in the western isles, cloud and outbreaks of rain. contrast that with this picture from hampshire with blue skies overhead, albeit with a bit of high cloud turning the sunshine quite hazy, but you can see that for much of the day, england and wales has seen spells of sunshine. up towards the north—west though, cloud, outbreaks of rain, heavy rain at that, the wettest weather we have had for quite some time. this is how it will look for the start of the evening, some of the late brightness down towards the south—east, 17 degrees there for london, but cloud and outbreaks of rain further north and west and that will push south—eastwards as we head through the night. the rain will tend to weaken as it goes, not much rain going into eastern england, western parts of england and wales will see some heavier bursts. there will be some mist and murk, hill fog and a much milder night than last night, 7 to 10 degrees.
now, a bit of a reversal of fortunes tomorrow, because this frontal system will bring cloud and some rain across england and wales, with something drier and slightly brighter developing for scotland and northern ireland. i think there will still be quite a lot of cloud here at times, but it will certainly be a drier day. some limited spells of sunshine, equallyjust one or two showers. for england and wales, cloud and outbreaks of mostly light and patchy rain sinking slowly and erratically southwards. some heavier bursts out towards the west. but under the cloud and the rain, just 11 degrees there for plymouth, 13 in cardiff, but further north, that is where we will have the highest of the temperatures, 17 in the brighter spells in glasgow. but into monday, as a northerly wind develops, temperatures are set to drop again across parts of scotland. there will be a lot of cloud around on bank holiday monday, breaking to reveal some spells of sunshine. equally there will be some spots of rain, the odd shower here and there. but temperatures north to south, 11 to 18 degrees. as we get deeper into the week, mixed weather prospects really. high pressure will try to assert control.
this is bbc news. the headlines at 5... in an exclusive interview with the bbc, neil parish says he is resigning as an mp, after admitting he watched pornography in the house of commons. in the end, i could see that the fury and damage that the furore and damage i was causing my family and my constituency in association was not worth carrying on. i'll bring you all the latest updates and reactions on that story. we'll have more of that interview and all the latest updates and reaction. also in the programme... the uk ministry of defence says russia has been forced to merge and redeploy some of its forces, after failing to make advances in the north—east of ukraine. the government is taking urgent action to limit the amount of some hormone replacement therapy products women can access,