Talk TV: Rupert Murdoch network to be taken off air and moved online

  • By Steven McIntosh
  • Entertainment reporter

Image caption,

Talk TV’s move online follows that of its star presenter, Piers Morgan

Rupert Murdoch’s Talk TV network is to cease broadcasting as a traditional television channel in the summer and move solely online.

The network launched in 2022 but has struggled to attract viewers on its linear platform.

In contrast, many videos clipped up from its shows perform well on YouTube.

Scott Taunton, Talk TV’s president of broadcasting, said in a briefing to staff: “Two years ago, we would not have been brave enough to launch a channel without a linear presence.

“But audiences of all ages have moved fast and smartphones are now the primary device where news is consumed. We need to adapt to this as a priority.”

He added: “We are therefore intending that Talk comes off linear television from early summer and our focus will be on streaming.”

Image caption,

Other presenters on the network include Vanessa Feltz, who hosts a daily early evening show

Taunton said clips would continue to be shared through social media, while the company hoped to grow the number of viewers who watched the service via live streaming on televisions.

He said there was “no doubt” over the channel’s future, adding: “It just won’t be distributed on linear.”

Piers Morgan Uncensored currently has 2.4 million YouTube subscribers, while the channel as a whole has 812,000.

TalkTV, a venture from News UK, the publisher of The Times and The Sun, launched in 2022.

Last month, Morgan said his show was leaving television to focus on the Uncensored YouTube channel, saying that daily, fixed TV schedules have been “an increasingly unnecessary straitjacket”.

Announcing the news, Taunton reassured employees it was “business as usual” despite the changes but did add that there would be a “restructure.”

Over the next few months, the company plans to create a new division, called News Studios, to produce bite-size content for brands such as talkSPORT, the Sun, the Times, the Sunday Times and Virgin Radio.

“Because we are proposing to create News Studios and change Talk’s priorities, we are proposing that there is a restructure so that we can focus our resources and talent on the output we will be creating.”

In the briefing, Taunton also acknowledged: “Linear channel slots cost us millions a year and the advertising revenues are never going to materially exceed the cost of being in these distribution slots.”

Murdoch had hoped the network would shake up the broadcasting establishment by offering an opinion-led alternative to the BBC.

Its launch followed that of GB News a year earlier.

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