BFMTV in France has become one of the most watched channels in the country with its lively approach to the news. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's hard to deny that the format is massively successful. Perhaps this should be the model for Sky News is it want to become a more popular alternative to the established, often staid BBC News?
To compare this to the UK isn't exactly like-for-like, but notably the schedule changes being minor are akin to those of Sky News (granted Sky News has made more) unlike BBC News and Franceinfo who have cleared almost their entire schedule for generic bulletins and a lot of Q&A sessions throughout the day. For example on Franceinfo there is a 15-20min live bulletin at 7pm which is repeated at 7.30pm, then a 5 min live update at 8pm which is repeated at 8.30pm, then at 9pm a rebroadcast of
news (usually 35-50min), then at 10pm a live 3 min newsflash, a preview of the 11pm bulletin at 10.30pm, then the live 11pm bulletin (30-60 min) - so between 7pm and midnight (5 hours) there is approx 50-85 mins of news. On BFMTV, the whole 5 hr block is live bar 9-10pm every now and again.
One thing that has stood out to me is how Paris-centric other French channels bar BFMTV have been in their coverage, a fate that the UK hasn't faced. Even France Télévisions despite having regional stations, it doesn't really feel as if they have made any effort to get regional coverage onto Franceinfo bar a few packages to pad out the bulletins. On BFMTV, on the first day out of lockdown, they had correspondents doing commutes across the country live and in the few mins I watched in the 4pm hour there were live hits from Marseille, Bordeaux and Brittany. To be fair to Sky News, they have had wide regional coverage and have taken non-England press conferences as appropriate.
Finally, where BFMTV has got it right and where Sky News maybe could take some inspiration is the "philosophical" stuff. BFMTV has avoided all the emotional guff, the endless Q&As (BFMTV do 5 min hits at the end of each hour but are all very straightforward and no sob story questions), the "but first we start with a heartbreaking tale of..." Perhaps there is a French element to it but, personally, the situation is awful and depressing and frightening and I don't want to see endless speculation and anxiety which can often be seen in coverage here. BFMTV has stuck with a 'news agenda' and tends to lead with political developments at TOTHs
. As another poster referred to, Sky did the broadcast from home which was technically astonishing but the most boring chit chat ever - "life under lockdown" - who cares? Nobody wants to be on lockdown so why would anyone want to sit down for THIRTY minutes and hear how everyone else is/n't coping? If they are coping, great, it's no use to me and if they aren't, great, it's no use to me either. BFMTV on the same day had a reporter who was explaining where to buy a mask, how to put it on, how much is the average budget for a month's supply of masks, what to do to get one to an elderly family member - that is useful and I haven't seen that on Sky per se.
To bring it back to Sky News, I think they have done well altogether. Presentation wise, it is bland, it would be nice to see 1 or 2 BFMTV elements and the semi-branded shows don't make sense to me as they're not very distinct (bar weekday breakfast and Sky News at 10 plus 11) but the overall news service is pretty solid and that's what matters!
Ian King Live
is actually quite interesting and full of smart guests/stories and Kay Burley interviews are often trending and making news more than
ever did for instance.
WW Update, valley and all new Phil gave kudos