After months of preparation, the British TV station GB News started broadcasting on Sunday. The station is considered a conservative-populist response to the public service BBC, which insists on its impartiality. Chief Andrew Neil has announced that GB News will target viewers who feel “left out and not heard”. The journalism veteran, once with the BBC, however, rejects concerns that GB News could become a British counterpart to the US broadcaster Fox News.
Alleged closeness to the people instead of “Westminster politics”
The station has poached several well-known reporters who previously worked for the BBC, Sky News or ITV, and also announced a radio program that is due to start in July. Behind it are investors from the USA such as the media group Discovery.
As first broadcasts stood at GB News at prime time at 9 p.m. (CEST) – at the same time as the BBC’s most important news program – the special program “Welcome to GB News” followed by a talk show. At first there is no 24-hour operation planned, Monday starts at 7:00 a.m. (CEST) with breakfast television. There they discuss the issues that really mattered in the UK, “and not Westminister politics,” announced GB News.
The London borough of Westminster is the seat of the British Parliament and the political center, but is also synonymous with the aloofness of the political class.
BBC under pressure
The BBC has recently come under heavy pressure. Prime Minister and Brexit champion Boris Johnson complained about alleged EU closeness, while the BBC in his conservative ruling party is repeatedly accused of a lack of patriotism. In addition, the public broadcaster is losing its revenue.
The most important source of funding are broadcasting contributions. However, younger people in particular tune into the TV and radio programs of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) much less often. In addition, there is an increasing number of people over 75 who receive a top-up on their pension and therefore do not have to pay any fees. According to the Court of Auditors, the contribution sums fell from 2017/18 to 2019/20 by 310 million to 3.52 billion pounds (3.97 billion euros).