The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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Archive for the ‘media’ tag

On the Independent’s response to Clarkson, Hammond and May’s move to Amazon Video…

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Oh the Independent, why do you have to be so foolish? The Indy is renowned for being a pretty good newspaper that doesn’t let personal opinions get in the way of a story. Well today after it was announced that Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May would be taking their talents to Amazon Prime on a three-series contract, the aforementioned newspaper decided that the appropriate story to cover such an event was entitled, How to cancel Amazon Prime: after Top Gear hiring, how to leave premium service – the piece was penned (well typed) by their technology reporter Andrew Griffin.

Reading the piece and you get the sense that Mr. Griffin isn’t a fan of the boys and he of course is fully entitled to that opinion, heck many many people share his opinion. I know I think Jeremy is a bit of a douche but I also quite like Top Gear and think the three of them make a very good light entertainment show. I know I’ve written about it before that whilst I was disappointed in the BBC letting Clarkson go, I fully understood it and believed they didn’t really have much of a choice.

I wasn’t shocked that there was a clear market for the trios talents and whilst I am personally disappointed with their move (as I don’t have Amazon Prime) and had hoped they would emerge on netflix (as I have that) I certainly don’t think the lead story on the matter (and indeed several hours on) it would still be in a prime position on the Independent’s home page was about how you can cancel Amazon Prime.

If a newspaper really believes one of the top stories of the day is about how to unsubscribe from a TV streaming service then I think that newspaper needs to take a long hard look at itself in the mirror. The fact there are essentially no positive comments on the piece says a great deal.

Still you wonder why they posted this story, was the writer asked to do it or did he do so on his own volition? Well when the writer has written on the issue before stating, If anyone thinks Jeremy Clarkson is anything but a racist bully then that is a bad opinion and you are probably a bad person. (I know this is a late response but I didn’t realise that people — actual human beings — thought it was ok to punch a man because he didn’t bring you a cooked steak.) I think we ascertain what the writers thinks and he is using his position at a newspaper to write an Anti-Clarkson story. Man isn’t that the dream of all journalists to use their position to push their own personal opinions on the readers?

Look he may not like Clarkson, that is a pretty fair position to be in but honestly is one of the biggest stories in the world today really about how you can cancel from a service? For those who can’t be bothered to read the piece but want to know how to end a subscription to Amazon Prime well I can help, you just click on ‘End Membership’ on the ‘Manage Prime Membership’ screen. I know, shocking eh? It is that level of insight that makes the Independent one of the leading media outlets in this country…

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Written by neilmonnery

July 30th, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Posted in Media

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UEFA stick their middle finger up to UK Football fans as BT wins Champions League rights

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Head of UEFA Michel Platini is no doubt cackling to himself this morning. He is probably the happiest person in the world that UK football fans have been screwed over apart from Jake Humphrey. This morning they announced that after a long and profitable business relationship with Sky Sports and ITV, UEFA have walked away and gone with the biggest bidder, the company who know they’ve paid money that they can’t afford to get the rights to broadcast all Champions League and Europa League matches from August 2015 to May 2018.

BT Sport are paying £299m a year for the right, which is around £100m more than Sky Sports bid and have made the splash that they were determined to make. They’ve made it clear what their strategy is, they want to lose money in the hope that a few years of losses will lead to profit down the line when everyone is getting their broadband via BT.

It is a massive gamble but they have worked out one thing – that live sport is the only television that people will still watch live. Other shows are often recorded and watched at a later date, but sport is still watched live. Coupled with BT’s approach to dominate the broadband market then they see it as a big long-term goal to couple the two. With two million subscribers already it sounds like a strong start for the company, but the truth is the majority of them are not paying for the BT Sport channels, instead they are getting them for free. This is not exactly great.

However this blog is about why it is sticking it to the UK football fan. With now no games live on terrestrial TV (although BT Sport do say they’ll put some games on FTA television) it means that the biggest European club competition now doesn’t have a home on FTA television. With the Europa League also out and the Premier League having never had a home on FTA television then football fans will be forced into paying for a pay TV if they want to watch any club football.

If you want to watch all the games though, you are now firmly pushed into getting not one, but two pay TV subscriptions. Now as it stands I already pay for both Sky Sports and BT Sport because I get my fibre optic broadband through Sky. So my bill just to watch all the sport available is already through the roof. After tax, national insurance, rent and food, my next largest monthly outgoing is on my TV/Broadband packages. I spend more each month on TV than I do on electricity and gas and we all know how much they cost these days!

If I didn’t have to pay extra to watch all the sport then I’d easily be able to have a fortnight in a 5* resort every year. The thing is I don’t mind per se paying extra for sport but I don’t like paying extra twice, that galls, it really does. At the moment though BT Sport is I think £9.99 a month, so its basically the cost of a Chinese take-away every month but they’ll have to put up prices to cover the insane cost of this deal surely? So will they double the cost?

At what point do I just say enough is enough? Will Sky scale down their charges when they don’t have Champions League football? So many questions and none of them I expect to be answered positively.

The biggest issue though is BT Sport’s coverage has been shocking so far. Genuinely awful. They have spent so much money and all they’ve got right is Ian Darke is the commentary box. Darke is a fantastic commentator and is without a doubt a first-class lead. Darke, along with Martin Tyler are clearly a notch above anyone else commentating on football in the United Kingdom at the moment. So adding Darke’s voice to the Champions League isn’t a problem. However they’ve partnered Michael Owen will him so far and Owen just isn’t up to it. They have Steve McManaman in the studio twiddling his thumbs whilst Owen is alongside Darke, why? McManaman and Darke built up an excellent pairing at ESPN (USA) and would be a first class pairing for BT Sport.

Next up is the Mark Halsey situation. I like Mark, I like him a lot, but he’s really not comfortable in the gig that he currently has. Having a former referee in the booth isn’t a bad idea. It works well in the USA on the NFL but Halsey has no confidence. BT will surely look at this and maybe having him in the studio for Half-Time and Full-time analysis would work better.

Then we get to Jake Humphrey. A man so self-assured that he makes Russell Brand look like a shy cherry-blossom when he approaches women. Jake has that ‘matey’ approach to TV presenting, which isn’t bad per se, the problem is you get the feeling that it doesn’t work when the experts don’t seem to like him. When David Ginola called him a wanker behind his back after Jake delivered a cheap shot about his trousers then it said everything.

‘This is how we do it on BT Sport’ exclaims Jake at every possible moment, what Jake? You mean you do is a lot worse and in a far more unprofessional manner than Sky, ITV or even the BBC? I know the BBC is often castigated for being a bit matey, but at least you know they all actually get along. ON BT Sport is just seems like Jake is hanging out with the popular kids and wanting to be their mates and they just laugh and snigger behind his back. Jake should watch how well Ed Chamberlain fronts Sky’s Sunday and Monday coverage, he knows Gary and Jamie are the stars of the show and lets them talk and doesn’t jump in with nonsense. It allows the show to flow and Jake needs to learn this.

So basically the fans are getting screwed by having to pay out yet more money to watch European competitions from after next season but they will also be forced to watch inferior coverage of the Champions League. Sky’s coverage is first-rate and BT Sport will get nowhere near that in terms of quality. Only Ian Darke as lead play-by-play will not see a big reduction in quality and unless BT make a radical decision by giving James Richardson the gig as the front man, football fans will be forced to groan through Jake’s candor far more than anyone should have to.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

November 9th, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Posted in Football,Media

Tagged with , ,

Why the media have yet again shown they just don’t get it on Lord Rennard and Nick Clegg

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This blog post with not look at the specific allegations but just at how the media are reacting and what priorities they are showing.

I shall state this at the very beginning. Lord Rennard has serious allegations to face about his behaviour. The Liberal Democrats as an organisation also have serious questions to answer about how they dealt with allegations from the women against Lord Rennard. However as it stands Nick Clegg does not face any serious questions despite the weight of media that states that he does. In fact the Telegraph report today actually backs up Nick Clegg’s claim that, ‘my office only received concerns indirectly and anonymously.’

The Telegraph has published a letter that it sent to Jonathan Oates in April of 2010. At this time Mr Oates replied and told him that Nick Clegg was not aware of any allegations against Lord Rennard on the same day. In fact the reply was quite terse. The Telegraph put forward several allegations that they believed Lord Rennard had acted inappropriately towards several women. These women at the time had not gone on the record. It is not clear if these are the same women who have since gone on the record.

The narrative of this story is not about the actual allegations themselves. The media do not give a crap if women were victims of a sex pest. They couldn’t give a monkey’s and that pisses me off greatly. The only thing the media care about is whether Nick Clegg knew and if he did then why didn’t he do anything about it? That is the only story because it holds political weight.

Well let me tell you this Fleet Street (channel four didn’t seem to focus on this in what was a reasonably fair and clearly well researched story) but fleet street need to understand what is important here. Nick Clegg’s knowledge – or lack of – is not the story – the story is whether several women were victims of inappropriate behaviour at the hands of a Lib Dem peer.

The thing is the media can smell blood. They have a story that can take down Nick Clegg. It has the power to crush him and finish his political career. The only problem is they don’t have the evidence to back up their hypothesis and they are desperate to find the smoking gun. They aren’t desperate to find the truth but the smoking gun. There is a distinct difference.

So far they have published a letter from Mr Oates actually stating that Nick Clegg did not know of specific incidents. They claim this proves Nick Clegg was lying when he said he hadn’t heard of any specific complaints regarding Lord Rennard but had heard indirectly and anonymously. Well The Telegraph says that because they sent a letter to someone that wasn’t Clegg with allegations that proves Clegg lied.

Now let us look at this with a clear head. The letter – which can be found on this article gives four encounters where allegations have been made against Lord Rennard. The only problem is they are anonymous and cannot be investigated because quite simply they are anonymous. How are they meant to investigate an incident that happened ‘in 2003 or 2004′ with someone they couldn’t even speak to for example?

You can make allegations against anyone and the moment you do then there will be whispers surrounding that person. No doubt Nick Clegg heard on the grapevine that Lord Rennard had questions to answer but unless someone makes a complaint then how can it be properly investigated?

Now of course the problem is that seemingly people did make complaints and they were not properly investigated and that is where the Liberal Democrats have to look internally at what exactly happened but at this juncture we still have no credible sources that Nick Clegg actively knew of any specific incident involving Lord Rennard and inappropriate behaviour against women. What we have is a letter that states he didn’t know know anything, an anonymous comment in a personal Facebook chat from 2009 of a victim saying she believed Nick Clegg knew and another anonymous official who said the following in 2009 and apparently stands by his comments today:

“I was at an event with Nick Clegg and said, ‘Nick, you need to know that we have print journalists, which I believe were, I think the Telegraph were chasing it, the Mail was chasing it and the News of the World was chasing it.’

“I said, ‘I believe there are three papers that are actively pursuing the Rennard story’ and he knew exactly what I meant, there was no ‘what are you talking about?’

“As the party leader he knew exactly what I meant when I said it to him. He said, ‘Thank you very much, I will go and deal with it.’ And again nothing happened.”

Those quotes are from this story in The Telegraph.

Now I’m trying to see where in these quotes Nick Clegg said that he knew of specific allegations against Lord Rennard. Could it just be more gossip that he had heard? The quotes – as the Italian pizza maker Luigi in The Simpsons would say – they prove nothing.

So far all we have are anonymous people stating that they thought Nick Clegg knew. That is it. However the media – and specifically the right-wing media have decided that anonymous sources – single anonymous sources – without any evidence and just on their beliefs and feelings are actually credible enough to write a story and state it as fact. Some might question the timing – certainly considering they have been sitting on it for years – but I don’t.

What I’d like to see is an investigation to find out what happened between Lord Rennard and these women. That is the most important thing. What I’d like to see is for one of these women to go to the police with complaints to initiate a police investigation. However sadly the media’s fixation with the possibility of taking down a senior politican – certainly one they don’t like – will always overshadow the real issue that potentially there was a sexual predator working from a position of power high within the Liberal Democrats.

That is the biggest story and not whether Nick Clegg knew or not. So I throw down the gauntlet to fleet street (as if they read nor care about me) but if they have any courage of their convictions they’ll get busy getting to the bottom of the allegations and speaking to the women who have made these claims and try and get them to go to the police. That would be progress and that would be a worthwhile use of time.

Remember at the moment they are only allegations as well – people should remember that. I would say the media should remember that but they don’t care and Lord Rennard’s name is only ever said in passing to set up why Nick Clegg is all sorts of evil and a liar. It is a sad state of affairs that these allegations are now just the back story – certainly when the story now front and centre has nothing going for it (as yet) but heck that is how the media works – sexual predators are not the story when you can get a bigger fish to fry who is accused of knowing about allegations and not stopping the predator.

I saw it with the Jerry Sandusky case. The fact he was an evil monster who sexual molested boys for at least over a decade was merely the last line in the story. The fact that Joe Paterno may have known and not found a way to put a stop to it. Now that is a story that kept the American press busy for weeks and months.

The fact that the monster basically got a pass in the media really got to me. In this case the fact that Nick Clegg’s reputation is being tarnished in the media every day with flimsy facts in an attempt to prove their hypothesis whilst the actual alleged monster is merely an afterthought really really hacks me off as well.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

February 25th, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Posted in Media,Politics

Tagged with , ,

Boots Christmas Adverts 2012 – Let’s Feel Good…

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I’ve been thinking for a few days to do a post on Christmas Adverts but I will do a quick one now just for the Boots adverts. They have done one main advert with clips of several stories which is 1m long and then they have done shorter 30s ads delving slightly deeper into all of the stories which I happen to think has been most spiffing. I really enjoyed the housemate finds love one as it reminded me of a situation I was in not that long ago. I also really fancy the ginger girl in it but then can someone point out a ginger girl who I know that I don’t fancy? Answers on a postcard…

So anyway here are all the Boots Christmas adverts for 2012 starting with the main one and then working our way through the other stories. I hope they bring a little smile to your face just like they did to me.

Main Ad.

Getting mum back out on to the dating scene.

Perfume for mum.

Girls go travelling.

First Shave (short)

The awesome one – housemate finds love.

Behind the scenes.

Well I know they made me smile and for a brief moment become less of a grinch. Don’t worry I’ll be back to my grinchy ways soon enough.

PS: If any advertising executives are reading I am available to star in TV adverts alongside women of the ginger haired persuasion. I probably wouldn’t haggle too much over fees just FYI…

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November 27th, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Posted in Random Stuff

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Phillip Schofield and his Producer are lucky to still be in a job today after his stunt on ‘This Morning’

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We’ve all seen the news. We’ve all seen the clip and we all saw Phillip Schofield decide that the internet was a legitimate source for ITV1’s This Morning and a legitimate enough source for him to decide to potentially throw away his career. How insane?

Look Phillip Schofield is about as inoffensive as you can get. Reminds me a bit of Will McAvoy from The Newsroom before his meltdown at Northwestern. Someone who doesn’t rock the boat who people trust. However that all changed today when he decided to show the Prime Minister a list of names that he had found on the internet that are linked to a paedophile ring within government over the past three decades. Firstly just doing this is dumb and secondly he flashed it to the camera so that everyone could actually read the names. Yes the names are out there but it should also be pointed out that these names (bar one) have not faced any accusation from an accuser. They are just people saying they are ‘in the know’ and anyone can be ‘in the know’ on the internet.

I’m old school and don’t like witch hunts. If any of these people are accused of a crime then the police will investigate and they will be tried within the legal system. That is the way we work. We don’t try people in the court of public opinion as the court of public opinion would prefer to kill an innocent man on the off chance that they might have touched kids. Yes I’m more than happy to write that sentence. A large proportion of this country would happily take an anonymous accusation as fact and act as such.

This is why we have a legal system. We don’t have act without evidence. At this moment in time only one man has been accused of any crime and all the other names that Phillip Schofield showed on national television are not accused of any crime but now people think they are paedophiles. Mud sticks folks and you can’t take back what you do or say. These people are now smeared and that will never leave them and people will always think worse of them even if it comes out that the internet rumours were completely made up.

Lets look at what actually happened though as this wasn’t done on the spur of the moment. His producer will have known what he was planning to do and had clearly ok’ed it instead of telling Schofield that if he dared he’d be fired the moment the show went off air. It was a planned attempt to corner the Prime Minister and a planned attempt to take the moral high ground as being the man who had the balls to get the names out there and see how the PM reacted. He (and his producer) knew that would play out well amongst the public and would give the show a huge boost as it would make head line news.

The only drawback though is of course this behaviour is kinda not on. Malicious gossip is what they call it. Accusing people of crimes with no evidence in an attempt to smear them. He has of course since apologised – not for doing it but for doing it in such a way that the viewers could see the names. So he has no problem confronting the PM on gossip but he is apologetic that everyone else saw the name. No doubt he’ll be more apologetic if any of those people named decide to sue the network and/or him personally. I have always found being sorry is not an adequate defence in either a criminal or in this case a civil court.

I hate to call for someone to be fired for a mistake but as this excellent piece in The Telegraph says – it is a very legitimate argument to make. Schofield and his producer and seriously erred and a simple apology really isn’t good enough. ‘We’re sorry we have defamed several people. We have no evidence to back up the internets claims that they are linked to a paedophile ring but we decided to run it anyway on national TV because we thought (as this current juncture) baseless rumours were in the public interest.’

It doesn’t really fly does it> I suspect he’ll keep his job but he’ll get a serious bollocking and never do something so stupid again but if they want to fire him for that one mistake then I couldn’t argue too much with it. It was such an egregious error that it would be justified.

We shall see how it plays out…

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Written by neilmonnery

November 8th, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Posted in Media,News

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NBC stun pundits as they blow rivals out of the water with English Premier League bid

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The English Premier League has long been the number one football league in the world according to TV figures but the move from NBC to buy the rights in the American market has stunned pretty much everyone who keeps a keen eye on these things.

When FOX and ESPN signed the last contract for the rights it was for $23million per year but the new NBC deal is for more than triple that and includes the shocking news that every single game will be broadcast. Yes every single game will be broadcast via one of NBC’s platforms (180 games solely online with 200 on TV). Up to 20 games will be broadcast over terrestrial TV live on NBC and these are expected to be the biggest games of the season. NBC Sports Network will be the primary home for the league but they are planning on having a regular set up for time slots so fans know where they’ll find games.

The EPL was first broadcast on terrestrial TV live last season when FOX used the Chelsea v Manchester United game as a lead-in to their Superbowl coverage and it performed way above expectations. Football in the States is slowly becoming more of a TV sport and last season’s final days slate of games saw FOX (and ESPN) show all ten games on Survival Sunday live over their collection of channels for a 72% increase on the previous season. Clearly eyeballs are being drawn to the EPL and the fact it now makes the home pages of SI, FOX and ESPN shows that the league (along with the Champions League and El Clasico) make enough waves to get written about amongst the big four sports.

What this means for UK viewers is not a lot apart from the fact Ian Darke now doesn’t have an EPL contract for next season. The Pompey fan and voice of the sport in the States is contracted through 2014 to ESPN in the States and will head up their coverage of the 2014 World Cup. He’s also slated to work on US Men’s National Team games as they attempt to quality for Brazil 2014. Now does ESPN allow him to go to NBC for EPL coverage? They might but another possibility is ESPN allowing Darke to be the voice of the new BT Sport channel which signed the rights to 38 live games from next season here in the UK.

After snapping up Jake Humphrey last month, the next thing BT Sport had to do was decide on who’ll be the voice of the channel. The obvious choice was always going to be Jon Champion but if Ian Darke is available then does he have interest? Would moving to BT Sport also end his boxing association with Sky Sports that has continued despite his ESPN football duties in the States. Does Darke return to the Sky Sports stable? Many questions but the possibility has arisen that Ian Darke could return to the UK screens for EPL coverage and would certainly be our gain. I’ll certainly be keeping a keen on on the developments on this front…

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Written by neilmonnery

October 29th, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Posted in Football,Media

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The day the BBC approached me for a new TV show asking if I wanted to get ‘more manly’

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I could be a TV star. I’m terribly excited. When you get an e-mail entitled ‘BBC America’ it will grab my attention. When the e-mail is about being part of a new TV show then you think ‘yeah I could do that’ but then some details become clear and the TV show opportunity that has excitedly presented itself is a chance to be more manly. Yes folks I’ve been offered the chance to try-out for a new TV show called ‘Man Camp’ which is designed to make single guys like me who can’t get a girlfriend well you know…be manly and get a girlfriend. Rock on.

The thing is though is I have zero interest in taking part in a TV show like this. I don’t want to be more macho. I fixed my boiler once and that is enough for me. Just because I don’t go to bars and try to pick-up women it doesn’t mean that I want to be able to do that. Lord no I’d hate to be that type of guy. They are the types of guys I don’t look at with envy I look at with pity that whilst they are busy at bars having a good time playing the dating game I am at home in my underwear watching Match of the Day eating takeaway food. I know which situation I’d prefer to be in and it doesn’t involve booze and chat-up lines.

Here is the e-mail I received just now:

Dear Neil,

I hope that you’re well and don’t mind my getting in touch after reading the interesting blog on your website. I work for a TV casting company and I’m looking to cast people for a new TV series for BBC America and wanted to get in touch to see if it is something that may be of interest to you.

It’s a series called ‘Man Camp’ and we’re looking for a group of Brits who feel that in some way they would like to become more traditionally ‘macho’ and boost their confidence, whilst taking part in a fun, light-hearted TV competition to win a significant prize.

The group of men who wish to become more ‘manly’ in the traditional sense will be sent to America in the new year to take part in a range of American ‘macho’ activities such as hunting/DIY etc. to compete to learn new skills and prove that modern men can still be macho.

The show is meant to be good fun but we also want people who genuinely think they could have something to gain from taking part as well, and I know that your comments about lacking confidence in social situations is something that strikes home with a lot of people.

I don’t know if this is something that would appeal to you but if it would I’ve attached some more information for you to have a look and would be happy to talk about this further.

Either way thanks ever so much for you time.

Kind regards,

[redacted]

This is the attachment text he sent through:

Do you need to Man up?

Or do you know someone who just isn’t masculine enough?

We’re looking for men who are desperate to be more manly, to be a part of a new American TV series. You’ll be flown to America to be taught to be more macho by the nation that brought us Cowboys, Pick-up trucks and the Harley-Davidson.

Do you know someone, or are you…..

• Far too metrosexual for your own good
• Too old to be living at home…and still being looked after by your mum
• A computer geek with not enough friends or chat up skills
• Camp, but not gay
• Too in touch with your feminine side
• Unable to be one of the boys, talk about sport, or hang out with the lads

If this is you, or someone you know, we can help. This show will transform men who desperately feel that they are missing something that makes other men manly.

Filming will be in America in the New Year AND there will be a significant prize for the biggest transformation.

To apply please fill out this form and return it with a photo, your CV and if possible a 60second video clip (you can use your phone) of you telling us why you are right for this show, to [redacted]

If you want to e-mail the guy then I’ll pass on his details if you contact me.

Do I need to man up? Well it depends on what you mean by man up. Some may say yes but who wants to be overly macho anyway? I live on my own and look after myself easily enough. I’m certainly not metrosexual. I have friends (but few chat up skills) and I’m really not camp. I am in touch with my feminine side but there is nothing wrong with that but I love my sport but hate going out on the lash.

So all in all I really don’t fit in with this show and I’ll respond telling him that I am not really what he is looking for. However I absolutely loved getting the e-mail out of the blue and thought it was hilarious. These TV people are trawling the interwebs trying to find people for all these types of shows. It shows in this day and age we could all have our fifteen minutes but I’m waiting for a better opportunity.

Seriously imagine me trying to be manly and/or more macho. Oh the hilarity. Actually I think the real losers here will be the public not getting to be me try and shoot a gun or whatever. Watching me try to chat up a woman. Oh boy that would be cringeworthingly awesome TV. It is so bad in my mind’s eye that I even made up a word for it but people of the world I will not be appearing on ‘Man Camp’ for the BBC any time soon…

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

September 24th, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Posted in Media,Personal

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Jake Humphrey quits BBC Sports programmes to be the face of BT Sport

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There had been some speculation around the interwebs for a while as to who would BT bring in to be the face of their new sport channel ever since they grabbed live EPL games from the start of next season. The general thought was that Gary Lineker was the man for the job as his contract was up with the BBC and his contract is rather large so the Beeb would probably want it off their books but BT have gone in another direction and caught most of us off guard with today’s announcement.

BT today announced that Jake Humphrey had signed on to be the face of their new channel. The 33 year-old had won universal praise for his anchoring of Formula 1 when it returned to the BBC after an absence of 13 years and has quickly risen the pole at the corporation as one of their biggest stars. He came all the way through the BBC from CBBC to be in position to be courted by a rival network and no doubt offered an extremely tasty contract.

Humphrey wrote terrific insightful blogs for BBC Sport and without a doubt one of the most interesting was his one showing an unedited version of his open talkback system showing what he hears in his ears because a broadcast. I can’t embed the video as it’s a BBC Sport one but it is extremely interesting and a good lesson for all those who think presenting a live television show is easy. I’ve not presented live television outside a studio at university but open talkback is really disconcerting and takes ages to get used to but you do.

As for what the BBC will do their F1 coverage whilst not in shambles has some real issues now. They decided to get out of their contract with Bernie Ecclestone which led to Martin Brundle, Ted Kravitz and Natalie Pinkham jumping ship to Sky’s coverage of the sport. Now Jake has left and David Coulthard is out of contract and is widely believed to be of interest to Sky for next season. Does Eddie Jordan really want to carry on doing it without his buddies? Lee McKensie will surely step up to present the coverage and there is no dramatic drop-off there but this is a blow to the BBC of that there is little doubt.

As for BT they get one of the rising talents of live sports presenting in the country. Live top-level football will now be presented by Adrian Chiles, Ed Chamberlain, David Jones and Jake Humphrey across the channels (not including Gary Lineker as it isn’t confirmed he’ll still be around in 2014 at the Beeb) whereas in the recent past it had been Gary Lineker, Des Lynam, Steve Rider and Richard Keys. All of whom had long broadcasting careers behind them (although Gary and Richard’s careers were mostly just in the jobs that they became known for).

This shows both a change in philosophy for broadcasters as they have moved away from the same faces who were mostly of the older generation. Sky’s decision to replace Richard Keys with the two-headed presentation team of David Jones (Saturday’s and midweeks) and Ed Chamberlain (Sunday’s and Monday’s) showed they wanted to keep it in house. The BBC now only have live football at the tournaments and don’t have Lineker signed up as yet although it now seems likely they’ll keep him as going into the 2014 World Cup with Colin Murray as the face of the tournament is rather scary. ESPN had Ray Stubbs who was solid enough but he’ll continue with darts and other presenting duties you’d suspect with them.

This leaves the BT Sport venture as the new challenger to the dominant Sky. BT’s huge victory was getting a share of first pick games over the course of the next football contract. They paid top dollar for them and know it’ll not be easy to make it pay but they are already getting other sports rights to compliment their EPL coverage as last week they got domestic Rugby Union rights. I have no idea if BT will be successful but it’s certainly an interesting opportunity and now is the time to jump ship as London 2012 is over and Jake got to be one of the faces of the BBC’s coverage of that spectacular summer.

In jumping ship he is giving up World Cup presenting duties (as well as possibly fronting the coverage) but that major football tournaments happen once every two years and in this gig he’ll get a live football match most weeks throughout the football season. I’ll probably get BT’s new sport channel when it comes out because I like to watch all the games. Thanks to the EU for making sure I have to pay even more money than I should for this privilege but that is a rant for another day.

This is a good move for Jake I think and a blow to the BBC. It should be pointed out that Jake is set to become a father next spring so leaving the F1 travelling circus and staying in the UK must be a very attractive proposition. The BBC haven’t got anyone what you’d call ready to step up to his all-around role in the sports department. Colin Murray is not a live sport presenter and as it stands he’ll have a significant role to play in Brazil in 2014 and that does worry me. F1 will survive and do fine if DC and EJ stay to backup Lee McKensie but if they leave too then BBC’s award winning coverage will have none of that on air talent either still with the corporation or in the same role and that is quite a dramatic fall from grace in under two years.

Time as they say will tell…

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September 18th, 2012 at 10:59 am

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This ‘No More Page 3′ petition is highly unlikely to do anything but the sentiment is fab

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In the past few days some momentum (well I say some momentum – a few people have blogged on it but actually at the point of writing only 8,772 have signed the petition despite featuring in national newspapers) but lets ignore that and pretend the momentum is gathering.

I have strong feelings on Page 3. I don’t like it but I don’t feel that it should be banned. This petition though isn’t about banning it. It is about getting the editor of The Sun to decide that it is time to move on and ditch this aspect of his newspaper. Sounds good in practice but one of the posts talking about it entitled ‘For what it’s worth‘ sums up exactly why the petition has very little chance of succeeding:

The campaign isn’t trying to censor The Sun, either; no one is seeking to “ban” Page 3, but merely wishes to implore Dominic Mohan, the editor of the paper, to do away with it. It is not good enough to merely cease to buy the paper, or skip the page; firstly, because many of the supporters of the campaign probably do not read the paper in the first place, but also because ignoring a problem does not fix it.

So as the author says herself the petition isn’t exactly aimed at the people who buy the newspaper so why would the editor of a national newspaper give a damn what people who don’t buy his newspaper think? I mean seriously? If I was the editor of a newspaper and was told that a lot of people who didn’t buy the newspaper anyway were pissed off with a part of my publication then would I give a damn? Of course I wouldn’t and more importantly nor would anyone else.

The problem with this petition (and all of the Page debates) is that The Sun will not stop until they are either banned from doing it or it is not worth it financially. That is it. That is the list. Now I have no doubt that News International do extensive research on this issue and I fully expect they know that if they ditched it but it wasn’t banned then one of their tabloid rivals would straight away go with it and pick-up a significant percentage of their circulation.

If they knew (or believed) that by ditching the Page 3 girl they would increase their circulation as all the people who don’t buy The Sun would suddenly buy it then they would. However they know that the people who don’t buy the newspaper don’t do so primarily because of the tits on show. They lost half a million off their circulation in the past year but that wasn’t because of tits it was because of phone hacking. They’ll also very closely monitor the circulation figures after the Hillsborough report finding what it did. So the newspaper may well see a drop in sales again over the next few months.

Page 3 to The Sun is nothing to do with their thoughts of sexual objectification. It is all about money (like most businesses) and financially it obviously is worth it to them otherwise they wouldn’t do it. The people who don’t like it don’t buy it anyway so why would they care what these people think? Isn’t that a very bizarre way to run a business? Would you run a business where the people who make you money like what you do but those who don’t make you money are complaining and you listen to the latter and not the former?

Look if you want to sign the petition then go for it and good luck to you. I would like to see it succeed as I don’t like Page 3. The link is here but in the real world the likelihood of this petition making waves in the boardroom of News International or even at the editorial level at The Sun is extremely extremely low. You can debate whether that is right or wrong until your heart is content but that is a fact.

The Sun is not going to change its philosophy on Page 3 out of the goodness of their heart. They just won’t. Even if they hit the million signatures that they are aiming for, if they see no drop in their circulation figures then they won’t do anything.

Sometimes we see the world from our own point of view and not from the point of view of others. Page 3 sells newspapers. I don’t like it. You probably don’t like it but it is a fact and until it doesn’t then why would they stop? The Sun as we all know isn’t the bastion of moral fortitude and it doesn’t pretend to be. It is a newspaper that serves as the news of the lowest common denominator. I don’t think that is an unfair statement and the people that buy it are not those who care about tits on Page 3.

If we want to change the perceptions of women and get Page 3 consigned to the history books then this isn’t the way forward. Attitudes need to change within the people that buy the newspaper and not the other way around. A newspaper is not going to take the lead when money is at stake. So it needs other avenues to succeed. What they are I don’t know but I sure as hell know that this won’t change a thing.

Sexism is still prevalent in our society and whilst it is slowly changing (it is slowly changing) there are still many problems. Would killing Page 3 make any difference? Maybe but killing Page 3 is unlikely when there is a willing audience both to buy it and star in it. Change has to happen from the bottom up and a media outlet with shareholders to answer to will not lead the way unless they believe it is financially worthwhile. Like it or not that is the bottom line and that is where the buck will stop.

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September 15th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

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Prince Harry did nothing wrong whereas The Sun did everything wrong.

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Unsurprisingly I was truly disgusted at The Sun for their decision to publish the Prince Harry photos. Not a few hours earlier had I been praising the UK media for their handling of the situation and not showing photos of him naked. It was a clear invasion of privacy and even though it was out there the UK media had no need to go down the same path. Then of course a certain newspaper broke ranks and decided that they had to do so because it was in the public interest. Public interest trumps privacy but was this really in the public interest?

The newspaper say that they published the photos so that everyone could be informed about them and then we can have a proper debate about them. Well they are the words that came out of their mouth but all I heard was, ‘we knew people would buy our newspaper if we had a naked photo of Prince Harry on the front so we decided we didn’t give a shit and just wanted to enhance our circulation figures.’

Some believe that even in private Prince Harry has to do things in a certain way. Look at Paul Walter from his post on the subject:

Of course we have a right to see publicly available evidence of his behaviour. Of course he has to uphold certain standards even in private. And, of course we should be able judge for ourselves as to whether that behaviour is compatible with his position as 3rd in line to be head of state and as a commissioned officer in the British Army.

Someone who is the third in line to the throne, holding an officer’s rank in the army, should not strip naked with random girls.

As far as I’m aware no-one was stopping anyone viewing these photos online. Everyone has to uphold certain standards even in private but these are mostly ‘don’t break the law’ as who cares what people do in private as long as it isn’t against the law. You know what? Playing strip billiards is as far as I’m aware not against the law either in the UK or in Nevada. So a guy gets naked in his own hotel room. Who gives a crap. Just because he is third in line to the throne does that mean he can’t play strip billiards? Is it ok if I played strip billiards? Does anyone want to play strip billiards with me? I don’t have a billiards table though so does anyone want to play strip putting the dishes in the dishwasher with me? Sounds like a fun game, no?

I couldn’t disagree with Paul more about that final sentence. Who cares if a guy strips naked with some random girls. I mean seriously. If David Cameron wants to get down and give Tory HQ a pole dance behind closed doors I wouldn’t give a stuff (although I would be bizarrely interested to see how it went down) but I’d have no rights to view any evidence.

That is where the difference is. The public interest is very different to ‘would interest the public.’ Most things that go on in private would interest the public. However privacy is something we all deserve as long as we aren’t breaking the law of the land. A Tory MP Damian Collins tweeted, ‘Harry is a senior royal so there’s clear public interest in the Vegas pics. If this had been another public figure there would be no debate.‘. He gets the public interest and would interest the public thing muddled up. If Mr Collins MP partied at a private party at his home then would he think the photos would be in the public interest if any of them turned out to show him in a less than stellar fashion?

Talk of MPs we move on to another Tory MP – well is she an MP? She quit but she won’t leave and we are talking Louise Mensch. She told the Today programme that she chilled that the Palace had asked the media not to publish the photo and that she hoped the press would stand up for their rights. Basically she’s down with invasion of privacy. It is all good as long as she gets a good look at Harry’s todger.

Teachers and parents used to always say things like ‘just because Tom is doing such and such doesn’t mean that you should’ and this is the point here. Just because the American media and other worldwide publications think that they can make a bit of money by invading someone’s privacy it doesn’t mean that you should. The Sun broke ranks and showed that they were happy to get in the gutter as long as they had plenty of company they could use to justify their decision to jump right in.

They have showed their true colours but deep down we all knew what they were like. Prince Harry has done nothing either illegal or immoral and yet he is being dragged through the mud. The Sun have tried to legitimise their decision but deep down it was all about money and exposure (excuse the pun) and heck it sold them a few more newspapers than usual and got them high on all the news bulletins for 24 hours. I hope that it was worth it as selling your soul and decency to me is a rather heavy price to pay…

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August 26th, 2012 at 6:55 am

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