Archive for the ‘media’ Category

Ashes to regain crown-jewel status?

Our first post from Senior Associate Director, Peter Roberts (who will soon be posting from his own account):


In 1998, England’s home Test cricket matches, including the Ashes, were controversially axed from the list of so-called, “crown jewel” events; that is those events that are deemed far too precious not to televise on free-to-air. Other jewels include the Olympics and football’s World Cup.

The Ashes have since, largely, been the preserve of digital television, bar the 2005 series, which was shown to great public approval – undoubtedly, a sure testament of free TV’s ability to bring the nation together.

A review of the listed events has been ongoing with the recommendations set to be announced tomorrow – Friday. England’s homes Ashes Test are set to return to free-to-air, much to the vexation, no doubt, of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

However, here lies the nub; the current contract to show England’s home test matches runs until 2013. Consequently, England’s first Ashes series to be shown on free-to-air won’t be until 2017.

Now, that may be a long time in cricket, but it’s an awfully long time in television terms. With analogue switch off expected to have been completed in the UK by 2012, the fractured broadcasting landscape will be an altogether different place compared to the relatively stable picture in 2005, which begs one to ask how much coming together will accompany the Ashes return.  – Peter

Had a call from Watchdog?

The BBC’s Watchdog has welcomed back presenter Anne Robinson, prompting this story in PR Week. A question we often get at Hill & Knowlton is: “We got a call from Watchdog. What should we do?” Obviously that depends on what you did in the first place, but here’s a tip from Senior Associate Director, Peter Roberts: “However trying the situation, Watchdog offers businesses the opportunity to demonstrate their sincerity and ability to listen.”

It’s important to remember that the role of consumer advocates, and programmes like Watchdog, is to look at a story or issue from the consumer’s perspective. That’s a deliberate apostrophe because we’re talking about one consumer, up against the world. It’s no surprise then that many stories do come off with an anti-corporation slant.

However, it’s also important to remember that “the media” doesn’t exist for its own amusement. It’s a conduit of information between a subject (in this case the corporation or the consumer’s experience) and an audience (lots of other consumers).

So it makes sense that if consumers didn’t have complaints, there’d be little cause for these shows to exist. Of course we all have things we’re not happy about so following the argument to that conclusion is extreme – the point is this: if you get a call from Watchdog then dealing with the response is one thing. But spare a thought for why they’re calling you in the first place. Maybe there’s something that really does need fixing.