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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Michael Grade: Still working his Repertoire

Now, he is asking for public funds for ITN News:
He warned MPs on Tuesday that the switch from analogue to digital televison will leave a £100m "funding gap" in regional news and "public funding might be worth seriously considering".
I’m still willing to put it down to Post-Traumatic BBC Stress Disorder and Grade has not yet fully adjusted to being back in the commercial world. I think he should just go cold turkey and throw the begging bowl away.

Mind you, there should be no such excuses for the ex-Soap Marketeer, Andy Duncan of Channel 4 to the same group of MPs:
"Whilst Channel 4 News is a flagship public service programme on the Channel, it is expensive to make and has limited potential for revenue raising. "As such it is unlikely to survive in its present form - a one hour peak time programme, containing 40 per cent international news - in a purely commercial environment."
What a surprise! – It is unprofitable to have the sanctimonious Jon Snow lecture the Great British Public every evening in prime time. To be honest, I'd prefer Big Brother to Jon Snow depressing me.

I am starting to hear quite a few conspiracy theories about all this spin building up to the Digital Switch Over and spectrum auctions. I personally think it just a negotiating stance – bid ridiculously high and you’ll settle for less. This was exactly the Grade strategy the BBC followed in the License Fee Renewal – even to this day the BBC are claiming poverty, whilst my personal conspiracy is that champagne corks are still to this day popping behind the walled garden of White City.

The other telly news of the day was the on-going participation TV saga and the stunning earth shattering front page news from The Sun that some nobody was incorrectly voted out of an Australian Jungle.

Michael Grade was very quick to deny this and said this incorrect story was spun from a disgruntled ex-employee from the ITV outsourcing partner, Eckoh. Unbelievably, Grade added he was going to sue the WhistleBlower. It is tough to be a WhistleBlower these days. The front of Grade is amazing – he should be focused on discovering what went wrong on the ITV side, how to fix it and if necessary getting rid of any bad apples.

Even better was his answer to MPs about the “trick” question on the controversial ITV Play saying that viewers should develop a sense of humour.

For what it is worth, the game asked viewers to add Two Pounds, 25p, £1.47, 16p and fifty pence. No-one won the £30,000 prize. ITV revealed the answer to be 506p, but gave no explanation. ITV later released a highly complicated solution which couldn’t even be solved by an Oxford Professor of Mathematics.

Personally, I think the solution to all this participationTV rubbish is for ITV to build websites around the programmes and allow people to vote from them for “free” – one vote per id. ITV could give the websites sticky social engineering functionality with exclusive content and support them with advertising revenues. Of course, it’ll never happen…