Media in the Press 8.4.11

Post-graduate Edinburgh Napier University Journalism student, Alessandro Brunelli, casts his eyes over today’s media stories…

Under the headline, 'BBC chief defends corporation's commitment to Scots production', The Herald (page 9) reports the BBC's chief operating officer, Caroline Thomson, responding to concerns that Scots TV productions would be jeopardised were BBC Two to become UK-only. As reported on allmediascotland yesterday, the BBC is considering making BBC Two UK-only, but that no decision is expected until later this year.

Thomson is quoted saying that there are significant disadvantages to the plan but that making BBC Two a network-only channel would save on distribution (satellite) costs.

She also added that the Corporation is considering ways to make more efficient use of its programmes, and that BBC Scotland is still committed to a target to increase its network output by nine per cent by 2016.

Thomson is then quoted, saying: “We are ahead of our target for what is made in the nations. I'm expecting that process not only to continue but grow stronger.”

Any official proposal to change the current BBC Two schedule won't be submitted to the governing body, the BBC Trust, before the summer.

A freeze in the price of the TV licence fee is forcing budget cuts at the BBC, but some of yesterday's presentation by Thomson was about changing the way the Corporation operates, internally, including slimming the number of organisational layers.

In The Scotsman (page 25) Stephen McGinty also quotes Thomson saying that cost-saving measures could result in more BBC Scotland programmes running nationwide. 

The Scottish Daily Mail (page 13), meanwhile, reports that the cost of paying royalties for repeat drama could cost more than making new content. According to the article, royalty fees paid to actors following repeats could be higher than the budget of daytime programmes.

A BBC insider is quoted, saying: “it is not as simple as a repeat being very low-cost in every instance, and so this idea will not necessarily deliver huge savings across the board.”

On the same page, under the headline, 'X Factor hit by £16,000-a-week betting scandal', it's being reported that, according to an investigation by the Gambling Commission, around 100 workers at Virgin Media have used access to data about ITV programme, The X Factor, to make weekly bets of £16,000.

A spokesperson for broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom, is quoted, stating that viewers “did not suffer any financial harm, nor were the outcome of any shows or votes affected”.

Other media stories:

* The Government is understood to be looking for a 'Twitter Tsar' to expand its presence in the social networks. It is believed the successful candidate will earn £142,00 a year, only £500 less than the Prime Minister. The vacancy is said to have been posted online on the civil service website – the Scottish Daily Mail, page 33.

* TV presenter, Mariella Frostrup, of Sky's The Book Show, in an interview to Easy Living magazine, addresses ageism in television. She is quoted saying that “women over 50 have disappeared from TV screens, movies, media” – the Scottish Daily Express, page 25.