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Welcome to Lexington’s weekly round-up of media news and the latest moves in journalism. To subscribe please email communications@lexcomm.co.uk. 

Media News

Viewing changes

Half of all UK homes now subscribe to TV streaming services, but traditional viewing still accounts for the majority of television viewing time – around 69% (or three hours and 12 minutes per day), according to Ofcom’s second annual Media Nations report. Daily viewing of traditional TV has gone down by 50 minutes since 2010. In contrast, average daily viewing of streaming services rose by seven minutes last year to 26 minutes, while viewing on YouTube rose by six minutes to 34 minutes. For the first time, young people now spend more than an hour on YouTube every day (64 minutes, up from 59 minutes). Two in five UK adults (42%) now consider online video services to be their main way of watching TV and 38% of the public could envisage not watching broadcast television at all in five years’ time.

Crackdown

With the number of people using YouTubeInstagram and Facebook to watch videos and news, it is unsurprising that the Government has launched its first crackdown on social media. Under the plans, broadcasting watchdog Ofcom will have the power to fine video-sharing and live-streaming platforms up to 5% of their revenue. The Telegraph, which ran the story on its front page this morning, said the regulator will be able to ‘penalise firms that fail to establish robust age verification checks and parental controls that ensure young children are not exposed to video content that “impairs their physical, mental or moral development”’.

On the up

Guardian News & Media has recorded an operational profit of £800,000 for the first time in several years. Its parent company, Guardian Media Group, broke even in the last financial year, with revenues of £224.5 million. The upturn has been attributed to ‘growth in digital revenue and increased contributions from readers’, while print advertising provides just 8% of total income in comparison with several other British papers. Guardian Media Group also made the decision to switch the paper to tabloid format last year and close its own printing sites to reduce long term costs.

Separately, The Times and Sunday Times announced that they have passed the 300,000 mark for paid digital-only subscribers, marking a 19% year-on-year increase. The publications also have around 5 million ‘registered access’ users, who can read two free articles per week in exchange for registering their email addresses, according to Press Gazette.

Subs

Speaking of paid content, US sports website The Athletic has launched in the UK – causing quite a stir. The publication has poached several leading sports writers from across the UK including the Guardian’schief football writer Daniel Taylor and the BBC’s top football correspondent David Ornstein. Taylor leaves the Guardian after 20 years and the paper is rumoured to also be losing other journalists including Amy Lawrence, Dominic Fifield and Stuart James. The TimesDaily Mail and the Independent have also suffered losses in what one sports editor called a ‘journalist transfer window’. The Athletic has expressed an interest in ‘disrupt[ing]’ the sports journalism world and will cost subscribers £4 per month to access its content.

Comment of the Week 

Media Moves

Chris Greenwood is leaving his role as executive news editor at the Daily Mail to join the Met Police as head of media.

Kirsty McGregor has been appointed editor of Drapers.

Tyrone Francis has been appointed senior news editor at Sky News.

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