A new bulletin
You may have read that BBC One has commissioned a short news summary at eight PM every evening. It follows a successful pilot that recently ran in the West Midlands for a five week period (I wrote about that here).
We experimented with a number of formats (there'll be a further announcement shortly about which format was picked):
i) 60 seconds of national news presented by Natasha Kaplinsky.
ii) A 90 second mix of national and regional news - presented by Natasha and with a sequence coming from the West Midlands.
iii) A 60 second summary - presented from the West Midlands.
You can watch an example of one of the bulletins by clicking here.
Viewers who saw the summaries will have noticed that although they clearly came from the BBC News stable, there were some significant differences. They were written in a more "chatty" style, there was a higher instance of domestic news, and entertainment news was regularly included.
So why were we doing this - and why the difference in style?
Audience research revealed that although very strong, BBC News was losing viewers among the young and what the Americans call "blue collar" workers. We decided to find out why this was happening - and what we could do to stop it. We discovered these groups wanted us to be more informal and to include subjects that weren't in more traditional news output. They told us they were interested in the news - but didn't always feel they need to sit through a half-hour programme.
The BBC believes it is important to meet their needs - they are licence payers too.
There will be those who claim we are dumbing down - nothing could be further from the truth. BBC One will continue to carry the One, Six and Ten O'Clock News - all of which will remain unchanged.
Audiences are fracturing and changing as never before - the BBC wants to make sure it meets its public service responsibilities to everyone.