Our friend in the North

01 Sep 2014
STV Productions’ programme roster has benefited from a serious commitment to the three Rs, says Alan Clements

I am delighted to be the Executive Producer of the RTS London Conference on 9 September, which my boss, Rob Woodward, is chairing. The stellar line-up of guests is testament to the hard work, and brilliant contacts, of the organising committee and I hope you all come to enjoy their expertise and experience in person.

There are great sessions with international luminaries such as Chase Carey from Fox and JB Perrette from Discovery, and debates on the ownership of IP and the future of the BBC.

Emma Scott’s TV diary

01 Sep 2014
Emma Scott drives the Mini Cooper of TV land out to meet its continental peers as industry consolidation threatens to overshadow her summer holiday

I'm 10 days away from my summer holiday, timed for the traditional silly season. Now whatever happened to that? BSkyB has just announced that it is buying its German and Italian sister companies; Liberty Global has bought a stake in ITV; Channel 5 is now owned by Viacom; and a flurry of other deals is mooted, none bigger than 21st Century Fox's tilt at Time-Warner. Animal spirits are running high in TV land. Bien sûr, Freesat is also reaching out across the continent.

IBC will have to do more for less money

01 Sep 2014
Behind the hype about Ultra-HDTV and the Cloud, the real theme of IBC will be pressure on costs, predicts Adrian Pennington

As the US and European economies begin to stabilise, technology budgets are returning to their pre-crash levels – but media companies’ investment habits have shifted significantly during the downturn.

One casualty has been broadcasters’ regular kit-replacement cycle.

“We see major technology decisions increasingly taken on the basis of return on investment and on a project-by-­project basis,”  says Blackmagic Design’s Channel Sales Director Tim Siddons.

The UK’s next mega-indie?

01 Sep 2014
What would life be like for BBC Productions and its rivals if it was cut loose as a commercial studio? Tara Conlan finds out

Eastender's character
Eastenders is one of the most popular shows on the BBC (credit: BBC)
Why [should the BBC] be radical in an age when attacks from sections of the press are more vicious and more personal than ever before; when the BBC’s commercial competitors are more ruthless than they have ever been; and when some politicians and commentators seem more interested in quick headlines than in trying to understand the real issues?

TV’s musical challenge

28 Aug 2014
Television channels need to develop radically new music programming for the age of audio abundance, says Meg Carter

Even though the internet has transformed and multiplied listeners’ opportunities to consume music, TV broadcasters’ appetite for music-based shows appears to be growing.

Today’s offerings range from the blatant populism of The X Factor, soon to return on ITV, to the BBC’s blanket coverage of Glastonbury, plus plentiful music documentaries and concerts on Sky Arts and BBC Four.

But that, perhaps, is only the tip of the iceberg in a digital era in which Radio 1 no longer regards itself as “just” a radio station.

The clash over the BBC licence fee

01 Sep 2014
A dramatic clash over the future funding of the BBC has redrawn the battlelines for the economists and the diehards over the corporation’s future, reports Maggie Brown

BBC building
(Credit: BBC)
City University in London is the pioneer of media “speed debates”, where big hitters can talk freely in front of a hand-picked band of relevant experts. In July it struck gold, when it hosted “The Future of the Licence Fee”, the first of three half-day seminars being held in the run-up to the general election that will precede the BBC’s Charter review.

Scripps flexes its muscles

01 Sep 2014
Scripps Networks Interactive, owner of half of UKTV, wants to be a bigger player in the UK, says Raymond Snoddy

Scripps
Scripp's Drive-Ins and Dives presenter Guy Fieri (credit: SNI/John Lee)
The senior Scripps Networks Interactive executive does not deny recent reports that the American group, which specialises in lifestyle programming, is prepared to pay £500m for the half of UKTV it does not already own.

ITV becomes dominant force in America

01 Sep 2014
ITV’s aim of reducing its reliance on UK ad revenue has seen it become the largest non-scripted producer in the US. Neil Midgley investigates

The Real Housewives of New Jersey
The Real Housewives of New Jersey is one of the shows made by a company which is now majority-owned by ITV (Credit: Leffield/ITV)
If you came up with a list of programmes made by ITV, you might start with Coronation Street, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and Mr Selfridge. You probably wouldn’t think at first of Duck Dynasty, Cake Boss or The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Happy landing for Jay Hunt

01 Sep 2014
Channel 4’s creative supremo, Jay Hunt, is delivering a pipeline of successful shows, including Gogglebox and The Mill. Andrew Billen finds out how she turned the station around

Jay Hunt
Jay Hunt: creative supremo (Credit: Channel 4)
When I last interviewed Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s Chief Creative Officer, the context was crisis. She recalls the week, in July 2013, when Channel 5’s ratings beat Channel 4’s. It was a crisis only in the eye of certain beholders; it could be seen as a piece of statistical legerdemain from her old employers at 5.

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