Channel 4 offends again.

Penny Woolcock’s Channel 4 documentary about illegal dog fighting has generated more than 2,000 complaints. Going To The Dogs aired last Thursday night to 470,000 (2.5%) viewers and followed Dylan Duffus as he explored the underground culture of the controversial blood sport in Birmingham.Duffus, who appeared in Woolcock’s award-winning C4 gang culture film One Mile Away, interviewed dog-owners who take part in the sport. Their identities were concealed by balaclavas and voice-masking technology.C4 has so far received 1,600 complaints about the documentary, 600 of which were lodged before transmission. Ofcom has heard from a further 615 disgruntled viewers, although the media regulator is yet to decide if it is to launch a formal investigation.A campaign was launched pre-transmission in a bid to get C4 to drop the documentary. A petition on recorded more than 20,000 signatures after being launched by Adrian Newsome from Macclesfield.As usual Channel 4 were unrepentant.A C4 spokeswoman said: “C4 are proud of this authored film which sheds light on an underground activity believed to be on the increase.“The film raises important issues about animal welfare and blood sports in general and highlights man’s conflicted relationship with dogs and other animals. The audience was made aware of the content in advance of TX.”


The ‘real’  reason for lack of diversity in TV

BroadcastlogoThere was a nice opinion piece in trade publication Broadcast last week, proposing as what it saw as the real reasons for a lack of diversity in TV. “This is not an issue of race” argued the piece. “The industry is lacking white working class people for the exact same reason that it lacks ethnic minorities. Most of these people come from underprivileged back- grounds. “But how can indies honestly be surprised by the lack of diversity when the only people who can afford to start in TV on the pitiful wages we pay them are those surviving on a loan from the bank of Mummy and Daddy?” it continued. “TV should be a meritocracy in which the people with the best ideas and who work the hardest get to make it. But it’s a plutocracy. With a wealthy enough background, you can slum it for a year or two as a severely underpaid runner or researcher without having to worry whether you’ll have enough money at the end of the month to eat. When ‘Sebastian’ and I are up for the same production assistant job, I have to turn it down because I’m one of those fussy people who likes to earn enough money to eat. Sebastian is more than happy to work for sweatshop wages because his current account at the bank of Mummy and Daddy comes with an unlimited overdraft. Meanwhile, I get to attend another seminar where a producer takes to the stage to tell me that the industry has to change, but when asked what can be done, they just shrug their shoulders. It’s all very simple: if you want more people from diverse back- grounds to work in the industry, regardless of their race or colour, then you need to pay them a living wage.”


Good news for one 1xtra presenter.

Sarah-Jane Crawford,Last week we brought you the sad news that three  presenters from BBC radio station 1Xtra are being let go as part of the corporation’s continuing drive to save money.  But this week, there is good news for one of the stations other presenters, Sarah-Jane Crawford, as it  has confirmed she will take over as new of host of The Xtra Factor. The DJ says she is “thrilled” to land the X Factor spin-off show job following Caroline Flack’s departure after three years. Sarah-Jane wrote on Twitter “Morning! Really thrilled to say that I’ll be the new host of #XtraFactor this year!!!! Thanks to the X team for seeing something in me!” The 29-year-old also tipped her hat to her predecessor, tweeting she has “massive respect” for Caroline. She added: “Massive respect goes out to @carolineflack1 who’s an amazing broadcaster and delivered 3 years of a brilliant series #girlpower xxx” Sarah-Jane is said to have blown away show boss Simon Cowell in her audition and he thinks she will be brilliant.




Britain’s Got Talent app boosts engagementx-factor-judges

In other TV Talent Show news, we heard last week that Simon Cowell will return to judging duties on the new series of X-Factor, alongside Cheryl Cole and Mel B.  But it seems that the best way to increase viewing figures is just to increase viewer interaction. A series of polls, quizzes and voting opportunities helped Britain’s Got Talent to record an 80% active engagement rate with its app for Saturday’s final. The app, developed by Tellybug, was downloaded 1.5m times across the series – up 40% from the 1.1m downloads recorded last year. During the final episode of the Syco Entertainment and Thames co-production, 236,000 of the 297,000 users (80%) who had the app open engaged with the content featured, reflecting a trend from throughout the series. The success has been attributed to more editorially-focused features, including in-app predictions, polling and voting, as well as the virtual buzzer, which allows viewers to register their feelings about contestants. “The app is built around the live experience – it has become a fundamental part of the experience of watching the show,” said Kat Hebden, head of FremantleMedia UK Interactive. “The huge increase in levels of engagement demonstrates that digital activity around primetime entertainment programming is becoming more important than ever to audiences.”



TalkTalk launches a new suite of African TV channels.

Talktalk_logoHome phone, broadband and TV provider Talk Talk is bringing hit shows from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Uganda to its one million TV customers. The channels in the new ‘African TV Boost’ are: EbonyLife TV, Soundcity, Channels, Silverbird, Nollywood, Citizen, Metro TV and Bukedde and offers viewers a variety of Nollywood movies, 24-hour news, music, fashion, talk shows and lifestyle programmes for £10 a month on a monthly basis with no ongoing commitment. Commenting on the launch, Tristia Harrison, MD for consumer at TalkTalk said: “YouView from TalkTalk is going from strength to strength every day and this new Boost is a great addition. We’re pleased to be extending our partnership with Thema to be able to offer TalkTalk homes a wealth of fantastic family entertainment from across the world”. TalkTalk will work in partnership with Thema to provide the service. François Thiellet, CEO of Thema, said: “We are very glad to make our channels available in a country where international communities thrive. And there is no better partner than TalkTalk to reach our audience.” The Boost builds on the success of TalkTalk TV’s existing world TV packages, which offers viewers popular Bollywood, Arabic, Afrikaans and Japanese channels.


That’s all for this week, but if you just can’t hang on for another seven days to get your next fix of TV industry news, check our facebook page for daily updates.

Lee Pinkerton