TalkTV's big online change has gone as well as you’d expect

TalkTV's big online change has gone as well as you’d expect

Related video: Moment TalkTV brings wrong guest onto political programme


Rupert Murdoch’s TalkTV (or, as it’s now known, simply Talk) has now made the move online it announced last month, sparked by Piers Morgan’s decision to leave the network and present Uncensored on his own YouTube channel – and it’s already suffered some disastrous results.

In a briefing to staff back in March, TalkTV’s president of broadcasting Scott Taunton said: “Two years ago, we would not have been brave enough to launch a channel without a linear presence, but audiences of all ages have moved fast and smartphones are now the primary device where news is consumed. We need to adapt to this as a priority.

“We are therefore intending that Talk comes off linear television from early summer and our focus will be on streaming.”

That switch to streaming took place on Monday, but such a transition hasn’t gone smoothly, with James Max’s Early Breakfast programme on Monday being hit with technical issues which saw audio cut out, title sequences glitch and a list of Zoom meetings – one of which is given the bizarre name of ‘Saggers – Mac 2’ – appear on screen.

Others have shared screenshots of shockingly low viewing figures on YouTube which, at the time of writing, stands at some 670 viewers for Julia Hartley-Brewer’s flagship programme:

TalkTV’s troubles are part of a much bigger problem facing right wing broadcasters, as rival channel GB News has several Ofcom breaches to its name and its latest accounts up to May 2023 showed an operating loss of £42.4 million – according to Press Gazette.

It’s meant GB News had to carry out its first major round of redundancy cuts earlier this month.

Meanwhile former BBC presenter Andrew Neil, who helped set up GB News back in June 2021 before leaving after just eight days, told members of a Lords committee: “I’m quite surprised GB News has survived as long as it is, and I’m even more surprised it saw off TalkTV.

“I actually thought TalkTV might do real damage to GB News, because it did have better production values and it wasn’t so conspiracy theory. It did lean to the right, but it had a variety of opinions and they weren’t all to the right.

“To my surprise, GB News has found a niche for itself, but it’s not a very big niche, and it’s not a niche that can ever be profitable.”

He added he finds it “very hard to see” how the channel “can ever be profitable or even break even”.

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