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Welcome to Lexington’s weekly round-up of media news and the latest moves in journalism.

MEDIA NEWS

Showdown

The first Wednesday night episode of ITV’s Peston has beaten BBC’s Newsnight in the battle for viewers. Peston was moved from Sunday morning to Wednesday night after the midweek repeat regularly drew in double the amount of viewers. Peston now airs from 10.45pm to 11.45pm, while Newsnight runs between 10.30pm to 11.10pm meaning there is a 25 minute overlap and both shows featured interviews with Shadow Minister Barry Gardiner at the same time.

Streaming wars

US tech giant Apple has committed to spending $1 billion per year on TV and film content as it plans to enter the streaming market in competition with Netflix and Amazon Prime. For once, Apple appears to be the underdog, dwarfed by Netflix’s $8 billion annual budget and Amazon Prime’s $5 billion.

Stuck to screens

A recent study by UKActive of 2,076 British adults has revealed that Britons spend an average of 12 hours per week watching on-demand TV, eight times longer than they spend exercising. This totals up to 26 days per year spent watching Netflix, BBC iPlayer or Amazon Prime. The average adult also spends 17 hours per week on a smartphone or tablet and 12 hours on social media.

Press attack

Věra Jourová, the EU’s justice commissioner, spoke out against the British media in a speech on Tuesday at the Fundamental Rights Forum in Vienna. Specifically, she criticised a Daily Mail spread that referred to ‘enemies of the people’ and a headline from The Sun that called European leaders ‘EU Dirty Rats’ after the recent leader’s summit in Salzburg. She said that whilst it is the media’s job to hold power to account, there is also a responsibility to avoid inciting hate. She noted that because the traditional media is ‘under enormous pressure from the digital world’, staff cuts had led to ‘less fact-checking [and] less quality reporting’. The Sun hit back accusing her of attacking press freedom, saying: ‘Hands up if you know who Vera Jourova is. No, us neither.’

Sky’s the limit

Comcast has outbid Fox by $3 billion to takeover Sky at a total cost of $39 billion. The bidding war began in February when Rupert Murdoch, who already owns Fox and 38 per cent of Sky, attempted to acquire the full company. The successful takeover now makes Comcast the biggest pay TV provider in the world, with 52 million customers.

Regulation, regulation, regulation (continued)

In the latest instalment of the campaign for greater internet regulation the trade body for British newspapers has called on the government to force social media sites and tech firms to pay an annual levy to fund journalism. The News Media Association asked that companies such as Facebook share revenue with newspapers when their stories appear in newsfeeds and that the Government introduces a tax credit system (similar to current arrangements in the British film industry) so that newspapers could claim rebates for investments in areas such as investigative journalism. Aside from income, the News Media Association is concerned by the algorithms used to decide which content is seen on social media feeds by users as it can dramatically impact the amount of traffic a brand receives on its website.

CONVERSATION OF THE WEEK

MEDIA MOVES

Julian Assange stepped down as editor of WikiLeaks after losing access to the internet in the Ecuadorian embassy. He is replaced by Kristinn Hrafnsson, an Icelandic investigative journalist.

Natassia Astrasheuskaya is joining the Financial Times to cover oil, gas and metals from Moscow.

Michael Blair has been appointed senior business editor at Sky News.

Marc Ashdown will be Brexit Reporter for BBC London News, having moved from his role as education correspondent.

Manon Mollard is now editor of The Architectural Review.

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