April 2018 Newsletter
Welcome to IBT’s April newsletter with an update on our work and relevant news from the media industry.
View the latest IBT Newsletter in PDF format.
Children’s television – crucial decisions ahead
The future of children’s TV in the UK is under the spotlight and decisions made in the next few months will have a serious impact on what children are able to watch. IBT is actively lobbying Ofcom, the media regulator, and the broadcasters, to increase the quantity of international content that they are showing.
Ofcom is currently reviewing this issue and deciding whether or not to impose quotas on the commercial public service broadcasters, and a new contestable fund is being set up to help fund more UK made content. We believe it’s important that children of all ages have access to content – like the CBeebies show Where in the World and CBBC’s Newsround – that informs them about what is happening in other countries and how children around the world lead their lives. We know several of IBT’s members are actively involved in this area.
To read more about this, see Sophie Chalk’s blog. Sophie is IBT’s advocacy consultant and a former children’s TV producer.
Briefing with The Economist
Last month we heard from Tom Rowley of The Economist. This was our first briefing with The Economist, one of the UK’s most influential weekly magazines, with its extensive international coverage and global readership. Tom talked us through how the magazine works, the sort of stories they would be interested in and the best way to pitch ideas to him and his colleagues. You can read a more detailed note on the briefing here.
Our next briefing will be in May with Huff Post. Further details will be announced shortly.
How charities can rebuild trust
Later this month we’ll be holding a round table for a small group of CEOs from the humanitarian sector together with some key journalists, editors and academic experts to discuss rebuilding trust. This will include a wider discussion about how to increase public support for UK aid and for the agencies that deliver it. We’ll be exploring concrete steps that charities working in aid and development can take to regain public confidence, and how IBT can contribute to that goal. The round table will be hosted by ITN and chaired by Penny Marshall, Social Editor at ITV News.
Last week’s Sport Relief on BBC1 was marked by one significant change. For the first time, there were no films with celebrities on location; instead films focused on people in developing countries telling their own stories. Topics covered including malaria, children sleeping on the streets and women giving birth in unsafe conditions. Countries featured included Kenya, Uganda and Sierra Leone. The films were introduced by celebrities including Rio Ferdinand and David Tennant who also provided the voice over.
Although the BBC1 show raised only £38m compared with £55m two years ago, this fall can be accounted for by the lack of DFID match funding which previously contributed £20m. Comic Relief has committed itself to dropping celebrities from location shoots, following criticism by Labour MP David Lammy and others for its out of date and offensive approach.
BBC Annual Plan
The BBC has published its annual plan for 2017-18, which outlines its priorities and details some of the programmes that will be broadcast. Key priorities include:
- Tackling fake news with a focus on promoting media literacy in schools
- Responding to changes in consumption habits in the face of the growth of Netflix and other new content providers and reinventing the BBC for a new generation
- An enhanced iPlayer with increased personalization
- Taking the UK to the world with the World Service undergoing its biggest expansion since the 1940s
- Experimentation in children’s content to try to arrest the decline in usage by children of the BBC’s services
Digital skills report
This year’s Charity Digital Skills Report has just been published. Written by Zoe Amar and David Evans, it highlights some key challenges for the sector:
- Almost half of charities don’t have a digital strategy
- Funding is the biggest obstacle to developing digital
- Most charities are not aligning their digital and corporate strategies
- A lack of leadership in digital is seen as a frequent problem
Most charities recognize that improving their digital skills will help them to deliver their corporate strategy more effectively, create better services and reach more beneficiaries.Read the Charity Digital Skills Report
Labour Party policy on aid
The Labour Party has published its new policy on UK aid. Entitled, A World for the Many, Not the Few, it advocates an explicitly feminist international development policy, with a new focus on tackling inequality as well as poverty and a commitment to prioritise working with grassroots organisations.
The Charity Business
Matthew Taylor of the RSA has been presenting The Charity Business, a series of programmes on Radio 4, that have examined some of the challenges facing the charity sector and asking whether it works as effectively as it could. He’s looked in particular at the impact of its work and whether impact is always at the heart of a charity’s activities. The series focused mainly on charities working in the UK. It’s still available and can be downloaded from the BBC iPlayer.
The Media Masters series of podcasts recently featured Sarah Sands, the relatively new Editor of Radio 4’s Today programme. She talked about her plans for the show, and said she wanted to see more diversity, arts, women and to hear more from BBC correspondents around the world. Today, she said, should be ‘a great window on the world.’Download and listen to the interview with Sarah Sands