Three months post its launch: What GB News means for PRs

The launch of the UK’s latest news channel GB News was hotly anticipated with many of us waiting to see Andrew Neil’s latest broadcast venture take to the airwaves. So three months on, where do we think we are, and has it met, exceeded, or failed to live up to the hype and expectations? And what’s the reaction been like from the PR community?

For many who tuned in (336,000 viewers in fact) to the launch of the channel, the ‘quality', or not as the case may have been early on, of the programming was surprising, whether in terms of the editorial or actual broadcast and sound quality.

Considering the investment could they have expected more? Three months on and the signs are there of change and improvements on both. There has been investment in experienced ex-BBC, Channel 4, and Sky presenters and producers, Simon McCoy, Alastair Stewart, Colin Brazier and Liam Halligan as well as names that can create debate, whether you like the personalities or not. Nigel Farage's new show brought in 14,000 viewers more than the BBC, and 72,500 views more than Sky, at the same time of broadcast and the success appears to have continued, as his show on 5 August raked in 145,100 views, compared to BBC News' 113,100 views and Sky News' 29,100.

What has been the reaction of the PR community? To observe has been interesting, for every client that values the opportunity to be interviewed, there is one who feels GB News may not be ‘appropriate’ at this time.

Always respectful of a client’s prerogative, can we also not challenge the credibility in part of the BBC; fresh from its scandals and cover-ups, as well as its own ‘often alleged political bias’, or ITV; who got rid of Piers very publicly, only for Ofcom to report that his ability to share his view and opinion was not breaking any rules?

If, however, we focus on the end audience and the figures the shows deliver, I’d suggest that GB News has its place in the mix and that we should recognise that a growing proportion of the population is choosing the channel for their TV news content. If we, therefore, are focused on reaching audience groups it would perhaps be prudent to acknowledge GB News in this way.

Written by Howard Kosky, CEO of broadcast PR agency markettiers4dc