Murdoch’s TalkTV Axes TV Channel Weeks After Piers Morgan Exit

Murdoch’s TalkTV Axes TV Channel Weeks After Piers Morgan Exit

The UK talk show channel, which positions itself as a “broad church” of news, opinions and entertainment, has struggled to compete with right-wing outlet GB News, and will now only stream online.

Rupert Murdoch’s gamble on launching a Fox News-style TV channel in the UK has failed less than two years after it launched.

Only weeks after its best known presenter Piers Morgan pulled the plug on his daily evening TV show, moving it to online platforms, TalkTV has followed suit and will only stream across platforms including YouTube, Amazon Fire, Samsung, LG and others.

TalkTV’s demise in linear broadcast will be viewed by right-wing rival GB News as a victory even though both upstarts have struggled to attract significant audiences in the UK’s cluttered TV market and GB News remains unprofitable.

In December 2023, TalkTV reached around 2 million viewers compared with GBNews’ 2.9 million. Sky News, which was part of the Murdoch empire until it was acquired by Comcast in 2018, has more than four-times the reach.

The decision by TalkTV’s top rating host Morgan to leave his daily TV show and focus on his YouTube channel will have likely played a part in the decision.

Morgan’s controversial interview with Cristiano Ronaldo, which led to the footballer’s departure from Manchester United, was a ratings highlight for the TV channel.

TalkTV president of broadcast Scott Staunton said the decision to move online reflects shifts in how audiences are consuming news, with a preference towards streaming instead of linear TV.

“A large proportion of our live viewing is already through streaming on televisions and we intend to continue to grow this,” Staunton said.

“Clips will continue to be shared through social media. There is no doubt over Talk’s future as an audio and video channel, it just won’t be distributed on linear. Radio on DAB continues unchanged too.”

Talk TV has 812,000 subscribers on YouTube, and its clips are widely shared on social media. It also broadcasts and streams on radio.

Launching a new broadcast TV channel in 2022 was viewed by industry experts as a bold move  and it remains to be seen how much longer GB News, which made a £42m loss in FY 23, will last.

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