Your Noon Briefing: Kenneth Roy, audience for TV debate, etc

THE editor of one of Scotland’s most influential websites has announced he is to retire.

Kenneth Roy, whose website boasts some very well-known columnists, says he plans to step down from the post as of January 7 next year.

He writes: “On 7 January 2015, exactly 20 years on [from launching Scottish Review], I will relinquish the editorship, hang my last prejudice out to dry, and give up journalism.”

Applications for the editor’s post require to be submitted by the 29th of this month.

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SAYS the broadcaster, STV, some 1.7 million people tuned into its TV debate on Tuesday evening, between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling – representing both sides of the Scottish independence argument.

A report on the STV website (here) reads: “At its peak, an audience of 920,000 tuned in, with an average of 767,000 across the programme.

“There were over 500,000 online streams of the debate and a TV reach of 1.2 million. The unprecedented demand led to some technical problems for the STV Player stream.”

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AMONG the findings in a report published today by the broadcasting and communications watchdog, Ofcom, people in Scotland are taking up smartphones at a faster rate than any other UK nation

Says Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2014, take-up has risen by 17 percentage points in a year to 62 per cent in 2014, in line with the UK average of 61 per cent.

The report also reveals the increasing popularity of the tablet computer in Scotland. By the beginning of 2014, 42 per cent of households owned a tablet, such as an iPad or Kindle Fire, an 18 percentage point annual increase.

Broadband take-up rose by six percentage points in a year to 76 per cent in 2014, just below the UK average of 77 per cent.

The take-up of broadband in Glasgow has also increased year on year. The percentage of Glaswegians living in households with broadband (excluding mobile devices) is 63 per cent and 66 per cent if mobile devices are included. This compares to 50 per cent and 54 per cent respectively in Ofcom’s 2013 Communications Market Report.

Eight in 10 homes in Scotland now have internet access. Access increased by five percentage points year-on-year to come into line with the UK average (81 per cent).

The use of mobiles to access the internet increased by 12 percentage points – the biggest increase of the UK nations, bringing Scotland to 56 per cent (UK at 57 per cent).

Internet users in Scotland claimed to spend 16 hours 30 minutes on the internet per week, slightly less than the UK average of 16 hours 54 minutes.

In 2013, 80 per cent of respondents in Scotland cited television as their main source of national news.

BBC and STV spend on first-run originated content for viewers in Scotland has “remained stable” at around £52 million per year over the last four years.

Scottish network TV productions accounted for 5.9 per cent of spending on original network programming in 2013, up from 4.4 per cent in the previous year.

Network production hours in Scotland increased from 1.8 per cent of all originated network production hours in 2008 to 8.4 per cent in 2013.

More than four in ten households in Scotland now have a DAB digital radio set. There has been an increase of 14 percentage points since 2013, with 43 per cent of households now owning a DAB radio.

Read more here. And here, in today’s The Media in Figures feature.

Also, The Herald – here – devotes a large chunk of its page three today to the report’s findings.

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BEGINS Gareth Mackie, in The Scotsman (here): “Media company Johnston Press has unveiled a rise in underlying profits following its recent £365 million refinancing.

“The group, which publishes The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News, also said a strong rise in digital advertising sales has helped to slow the decline in its total revenues.”

It follows the publication yesterday of the publisher’s half-year financial results.

Adds The Herald (here): “Publishing group, Johnston Press, is nearing an online ‘tipping point’ where the decline in print revenues will be more than offset by soaring digital sales, its chief executive has said.”

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REPORTED the Daily Record, on its website yesterday (here): “David Cameron’s former director of communications has been accused of committing perjury in the trial of former MSP Tommy Sheridan.

“Andy Coulson, a former editor of the News of the World, did not appear in person for the hearing at the High Court in Glasgow today.

“It is alleged that Coulson, 46, made false claims on December 9 and 10, 2010 while under oath as a witness at the trial of Mr Sheridan and his wife, Gail.”

And, among several other reports in today’s media, The Scotsman begins (here): “A former editor of the News of the World has been accused of three counts of perjury in the trial of former MSP Tommy Sheridan.

“Andy Coulson, who went on to serve as Prime Minister David Cameron’s director of communications after his editorship of the defunct tabloid, did not appear in person for a preliminary hearing at the High Court in Glasgow yesterday.”

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THE Guardian’s media pundit, Roy Greenslade, posts a dire warning on the need to verify stories before they are published.

He is writing about recent reporting of Rangers Football Club, concluding (here): “The reporting of the Rangers’ saga over the past five years has been a classic example of reporters being no more than stenographers for PRs offering them stories they didn’t care to verify.”

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