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This week at Bradley O’Mahoney


OUR FOCUS: Social Media – the ultimate remote control?

There’s a popular phrase that goes, ‘give the people what they want’. This week Channel 4 took a step closer to doing just that, announcing plans for an innovative new catch-up TV channel.

Channel ‘4Seven’ which is set to launch this summer, will be the first UK terrestrial channel where content will be directly influenced by what Channel 4 chief executive, David Abraham, calls ‘buzz’. In other words, if it’s popular on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, expect to see it on the schedule.

Speaking about the new channel, how shows will be decided and what the concept is behind it, Mr Abraham said: “Viewers are increasingly saying they sometimes just miss the best stuff.

“4Seven will schedule the main channel content that is creating noise – amongst social media, bloggers, commentators and of course via contact our viewers have directly with us – and incorporate this buzz into the look and feel of the channel.

The launch of 4Seven also supports our strategy of embracing the opportunities of connectivity, by exploring ways to deepen engagement with our viewers and expand the choices we can offer them.”

This new approach to programme scheduling should score a bulls eye with the broadcaster’s current core audience of 16-34 year olds. If the new channel proves popular other broadcasters could be quick to follow suit. What do you think?

We can certainly see the benefits in terms of audience feedback and how it could inform future new show commissions. We also see the opportunities for fresh new talent to come up with quirky, online petitioning campaigns to get their show ‘shown’ again and bring themselves to the attention of big station bosses.

Can social media control the airwaves and what will the masses decide to view? New Girl and Big Bang Theory on repeat anyone?!

Headline of the week:

Prepare the ray guns… “Alien invaders threaten Antarctic fringes” (BBC News, 06 March 2012)

FINALLY: Sky sets out its local offering

Last week we attended the ‘A Future for Regional Media?’ conference at the University of Sunderland which boasted a great line-up of speakers, including Simon Bucks, the Deputy Editor of Sky News.

Simon was there to showcase some examples of the news being broadcast by Sky Tyne and Wear. The local news feed, which is available exclusively online and consists almost solely of video material.

Currently in a trial period in the region, bosses chose the North East to test drive the new format because of the legendary Geordie and Mackem passion for sport and strong sense of regional identity.

With content being generated by up to 14 different local reporters and a big emphasis on sport, could this local, online approach to news be just the boost the battered BSkyB reputation needs?


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