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Piers Morgan moves to Youtube in major strategy shift for TalkTV

Piers Morgan moves to Youtube as part of strategy shift for News UK.

By Dominic Ponsford

TalkTV’s star presenter Piers Morgan is ending his nightly show on the channel but continuing to produce less regular content on Youtube as part of a major strategic shift for the channel.

Morgan joined News UK on a three-year deal in April 2022 which Press Gazette understands was worth £50m.

It included Morgan’s nightly hour-long TV show Uncensored, which also aired in the US and Australia, a weekly column in The Sun, documentaries and a book deal.

The show was initially broadcast out of a purpose-built studio in West London but since December 2022 it has been filmed at News UK’s London Bridge HQ as a cost-cutting move.

Morgan said: “It’s clear there’s a huge global demand for the content we’re making, but the commitment to a daily show at a fixed schedule, with all the editing and time sensitivities that involves, has been an increasingly unnecessary straitjacket.

“People are watching the content on Youtube rather than conventional television and I have no problem with that. You can’t defy audiences or tell them how they should be consuming.

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“I could happily interview Elon Musk for three or four hours tomorrow and the audience would lap it up. But the nightly restriction of having to go into a studio at 8pm when sometimes there is nothing happening and literally fill time? Nobody wants that. The question becomes, why do it?”

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Last night was the final episode of Piers Morgan Uncensored on TalkTV. Mike Graham is taking Morgan’s slot from Monday.

Executive vice president of broadcasting for News UK Scott Taunton told The Times (a fellow News UK title) this was part of a wider shift away from linear TV.

He said: “More and more, audiences are consuming video news and opinion online through their phones and this evolution is set to continue. It’s also where the advertising revenues are. Creating professional quality, TV-like video that does well digitally — via streaming services and social media — will be the focus of future investment for all our brands, including Talk.”

Rival publisher Mail Online has been ramping up its presence on Youtube in recent months with the launch of a weekly talk show hosted by Andrew Pierce and Sarah Vine.

The publisher has 3.2 million subscribers on Youtube and regularly gets more than 500,000 views for its weekly show Palace Confidential.

While TV viewing figures for TalkTV have been lower than its rivals on Freeview, Morgan has 2.3 million subscribers for his show on Youtube.

His biggest interviews have received millions of views on the platform. The livestream of his nightly show tends to attract around 50,000 views.

Meanwhile, TalkTV’s main Youtube channel has 768,000 subscribers.

According to an estimate by TV ratings body BARB, TalkTV had a monthly reach of 2.3 million in December. This compares to 4 million for GB News, 8.9 million for Sky News and 11 million for BBC News.

TalkTV had a total identified monthly share (including streaming services) of 0.08%, followed by GB News on 0.35%, Sky News on 0.49% and BBC News on 0.68%.

The shift towards online video by publishers is a result of declining website advertising revenue and rapid growth in advertising revenues on social media and video.

Google reported ad revenue on its Youtube platform up 16% year on year in the fourth quarter to $9.2bn.

Youtube is believed to retain 45% of revenue from ads sold on its platform with 55% kept by video creators.

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