View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. News
February 5, 2021updated 30 Sep 2022 10:01am

News UK TV: Murdoch-owned channel will be streamed live and on-demand rather than over airwaves

By Charlotte Tobitt

News UK has revealed it will launch a nightly entertainment show this spring after months of speculation about its plans to expand into TV.

The media company, which owns the Sun and Times newspapers and the Wireless radio network, is hoping to differentiate itself from Andrew Neil’s upcoming GB News channel with the entertainment news launch.

In addition, while GB News will be a traditional linear channel aiming to air 6,500 hours of original programming a year via Freeview, News UK’s channel will be available via streaming services rather than over the airwaves.

Both have been licensed by Ofcom.

News UK’s content will be streamed live and on-demand on multiple major streaming platforms, with possibilities of the likes of Rakuten TV, Now TV and Apple TV although it has not yet revealed which ones.

It will partner with connected TV distributors on programmatic advertising revenues.

[Read more: Sun’s Dan Wootton first major signing for GB News and everything else you need to know]

Content from our partners
Press Gazette publishes ultimate guide to reader conversion and monetisation
Slow online ads cost UK publishers £50m a year: Here's how to fix them
Emotional salaries: How do media jobs stack up?

The first launch, due to start this spring, is a panel show provisionally named News To Me and hosted by ex-Scottish Sun editor and Sun deputy editor Gordon Smart (pictured).

Smart, who left The Sun after 14 years including several years on the Bizarre showbiz column in 2017 and then presented a weeknight evening show on Radio X, said the show would “tackle entertainment news in a fresh and exciting way”.

Sun executive editor Dan Wootton, also a former Bizarre editor, has just left News UK and his slot on its Talkradio station to join GB News as a presenter. The channel has insisted it will be accurate and balanced despite reports it will have a distinctive right-wing stance.

News UK hired former CBS News president and Fox News vice president David Rhodes earlier this year to lead the TV project as its president of UK broadcasting.

Rhodes said: “Audiences are seeking out news programming where they already find entertainment today – live and on demand via digital platforms.

“We are excited that Gordon will help us to start visualising the best of our journalism and more.”

News UK launched Times Radio last year as an audio extension of the Times brand and sees video as the next step. After selling its stake in Sky, News UK parent company News Corp does not currently have a UK TV news outlet.

[Read more: Tom Newton Dunn on Times Radio and how he was never told what to write at The Sun]

It has already dabbled in video by live-streaming from the Talkradio studio and posting specific programmes and clips – a feed that was briefly banned “in error” by Youtube last month – and in the on-demand audio world with podcasting.

The decision to get into streaming rather than linear TV follows years of falling appointment viewing and ad revenues hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ofcom said last year: “The longer-term outlook for TV advertising will also depend on the extent to which viewing to traditional linear TV continues to decline, and whether advertisers consequently re-evaluate the value of TV advertising compared to other online media.”

Smart will be joined on New To Me by senior executive producer Winnie Nelson, who has worked on Good Morning Britain, at CNN and on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Former head of news at ITV’s This Morning and editor of OK! Magazine Charlotte Seligman has been named head of casting, while ex-GMB producer Caitlin Black has been appointed series editor.

On-air Smart will be joined by a line-up of young showbiz journalism talent including former OK! deputy digital content director JJ Anisiobi.

News UK head of programming Sebastian Scott said the show will update viewers on global entertainment news “in a way no other show in the UK currently does”.

“Gordon is well known to readers of The Sun and beyond, and his great energy and storytelling skills will make compelling viewing,” he said.

Picture: News UK

Topics in this article : ,

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network