Journalistic heavyweight Andrew Neil this week “resigned” as chairman and lead presenter of GB News, just 3 months into the broadcaster’s existence.
Neil was very much the face of the station, sparking questions around his future when taking an extended summer break shortly after helping develop, launch and lead programming for the station.
During GB News’ release in June, we discovered early promising viewing audience performance for the channel. In its first few days, as viewers tuned in out of curiosity, average viewing was similar to Sky News, the UK’s other main commercial news broadcaster.
How’s it been going since those ‘heady’, very early days? The answer is, not great.
Average audiences halved from June to July
Average audiences fell off a cliff quickly after the initial interest. Viewing pretty much halved between June’s mid-month launch and the following full month of July. The decline continued through August, albeit at a much slower rate.
Comparatively, GB News is now lagging well behind Sky News – its average viewing is around a quarter of the more established rival. Sky News audience figures have recovered following a slight dip through the early part of summer.
The fall was most likely driven by the mass re-opening of the UK, combined with interest in events and programming around the Euros and Olympics, yet GB News has not seen a similar uptick in August.
Which audiences does GB News attract?
At launch, the initial interest in GB News was more pronounced amongst ABC1s, 55+ and Male sub-demographic audiences.
However, against any segment, viewing between June and August has since been going in the same, broad, downward direction.
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All Response Media viewpoint
GB News is hardly proving the success its founders and owners had hoped. Alongside Neil’s sudden summer hiatus and eventual departure, ongoing technical and presentation blunders have blighted perception of the station.
There was also the early public and advertiser criticism of the station’s stance and viewpoints on a wide variety of topics. The furore may have disappeared from the media headlines, but the positioning continues to be a challenge to attracting broader viewers and subsequent commercial revenue.
For TV advertisers looking for new stations or a very diversified media schedule, GB News continues to offer a measure of variety, coupled with good media value opportunities. But its current size and lack of meaningful growth limits its impact or importance to any TV schedule.
For now, GB News is certainly not going to be a second major news and current affairs option to challenge Sky News.
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