13.04.2012

BBC Breakfast moves to Salford – what’s the big deal?

After much hype, controversy and general chit chat, BBC Breakfast has finally moved to Salford. 

The move has been planned for some years and is part of the BBC’s £1.5billion plan to shift 50% of its programming out of London by 2016.  BBC Breakfast joins 5 Live and the Children’s department at the Media City complex in Salford, Manchester.

But what does this all mean for the wider media landscape?

This grand plan by the BBC goes some way to squash the London bias within the media industry, which is all good and well but will the show now have a Manchester slant?  The Mail Online reported that the first show from Salford was dominated by North-West guests and the show’s former sports presenter Chris Hollins openly said this wasn’t an editorial decision, more a political one.  Hollins made a good point when he said, ‘it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to say that it will be practically impossible to get the Prime Minister on set, as we do at the moment’.

At TNR we often pitch guests to relevant broadcast media, including BBC Breakfast.  It will be interesting to see, over the coming months, how Breakfast manages its sofa guests and whether there will be a northern bias.  Even if this bias does arise, isn’t it about time?  This media growth in the north has been a long time coming and there are BBC employees excited about the move, including new presenter Susanna Reid who said, “BBC Breakfast really connects with its audience. We have fantastic, loyal, interested and engaged viewers who keep in touch regularly”

There have been other talking points flying around about the first show, from the chilly weather to the ‘crime land’ of Salford, but I think it is too soon to start speaking negatively about the move.  It’s surely going to bring more status to other areas in the UK and if the BBC can make it work it will certainly prove all the doubters wrong, including Hollins.

As Reid said above, Breakfast does connect with around 1.5 million average daily audience and they provide quality guests to discuss news of the day.  Ultimately, brands and PRs are going to have to be willing to urge spokespeople to travel north, whether that is celebrities or business types.  There is no doubt the BBC will strive to keep standards high.  Given time, I believe it will be as if they never left London.

Post by Daniele Baron, Production Assistant @ TNR Communications

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