Ian Burrell: Horse whisperers and videotape - the News of the World's new TV campaign
On the Radar
Thursday 30 September 2010
With the phone-hacking scandal set to be revived through the upcoming investigation by the House of Commons Standards and Privileges Committee, the News of the World yesterday went on the counterattack with a TV campaign highlighting its track record in scoops. The campaign features the bizarre storyline of a stricken horse being revived by the whispered news that Sarah Ferguson has been exposed in the Screws, and is also timed to coincide with the introduction next month of a paywall on the newspaper's website.
The attraction of the website, as the paper's editor Colin Myler points out, is its "focus on exclusive video and pictures". He's talking about clips such as undercover shots highlighting alleged spot-fixing by Pakistani cricketers, or footage of boxer Ricky Hatton on the end of a line of cocaine. But don't expect any "making of" clips – especially of stories provided by the paper's favourite private investigator Glenn Mulcaire (jailed for phone hacking).
Until now, website traffic has been driven by the print edition and by TV news channels using film under News of the World branding. But I'm told television news chiefs have become concerned at the scale of use of footage from newspaper publishers, and the prominence of the logos on the clips. Some videos are regarded as tantamount to advertisements. The introduction of the News of the World pay wall is likely to make the TV news bosses, who have already held talks, even more uncomfortable. News International might need to fork out for some more of its own ads.
* It seemed like a good idea at the time, the live set for ITV's Daybreak, with spectacular views across the Thames to St Paul's and beyond. When the show launched on 6 September, sunrise was at a sprightly 6.21am, shortly after Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley come on air at 6am. The idea must have been that the audience could start their morning by watching the sun rising over London. But day by day a longer shadow is being cast over the replacement to GMTV. No matter how Adrian and Christine try to lighten the mood, they are immersed in unrelenting gloom. By Boxing Day, when sunrise kicks in around 20 minutes before the programme ends at 8.30am, even the sight of Sir Christopher Wren's cupola may not disavow the impression that the viewer is waking up somewhere in Finland.
* Lily Allen broke a finger. At least she did once, in the distant past, after squabbling with her sister. The distressing history of Lily's damaged digit made page six of The Sun on Saturday. Indeed, Britain's biggest selling daily the newspaper considered the revelation so remarkable that it ran the story all over again on page 16, just for those who missed it the first time.
* The Suchets are starting to rival the Dimblebys and the Snows in the media dynasty stakes. Aside from Poirot actor David, there is the charming newsreader John, who in January becomes the morning show host on Classic FM, and the third brother, Peter, is well-known in advertising. Next up is Peter's son Richard, a broadcast journalist who recently covered the papal tour of Britain for Sky News and has been hosting Sky News Radio bulletins for Magic FM. And John's youngest boy Rory has just been hired as a presenter by Russia Today news channel.
* Adland is agog over the latest agency reputation survey compiled by Marketing Week's digital offshoot, Pitch. The star performers are: Saatchi & Saatchi; M&C Saatchi; and Team Saatchi (a subsidiary of Saatchi & Saatchi).
This is all very nice on the 40th anniversary of brothers Maurice and Charles setting up on their own, but it does rather smack of asking for a surname – any surname – associated with advertising. With that in mind I am thinking of setting up my own agency, once I've found the partners with the appropriate initials. Get ready for SAATCH&I.
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