Wednesday, May 05, 2004

IT'S STILL NUMBER ONE... FOR THE TIME BEING: The BBC is "standing by" Top of the Pops (and no, not "standing by it waiting until it gets a chance to push it front of a Tube train", either). MediaGuardian claims the show has lost "millions" of viewers, although the figures it produces comparing year-on-year show that in April 2003 it was pulling 3.1 million, while in April 2004 it was getting, um, 2.7 mil. So "millions" in this case means four hundred thousand, more precisely. The programme is getting lower ratings than it did in November, but that could, of course, be something to do with how November is cold and wet. It's managing thirteen percent audience share in the tricky slot against Corrie, which for a programme of little interest to anyone over the age of about twenty five is pretty good. Besides, never forget: Top of the Pops is a brand, and its value to the BBC doesn't lie in how many people watch on Friday night on BBC One, but in the worldwide sister show rights, the CDs, magazines and archive. Mind you, they really need to get rid of Tim Kash. Perhaps they could tempt the BPI's sexy Matt Phillips to present instead? He could deliver a short lecture on the evils of downloading from a hot tub and then introduce Mary Chapin Carpenter. I'd watch.

Meanwhile, Tim Kash's other employers MTV are having trouble with their big brand - the transplant of Total Request Live to the UK hasn't been such a success, with a sample edition in March trailing five other music stations, including MTV's supposed minority channel MTV2. The bosses at MTV seem to think that all the show needs are a few more gurning kids standing around outside the windows - because, of course, there's never any young people in Camden, are there? - so they're moving MTV off to Leicester Square, following an appeal against Camden Council's original rejection of their planning application. Leicester Square is, apparently, "one of our most identifiable and popular London landmarks" according to Michiel Bakker of MTV. Really? "Identifiable and popular"? Do you think he's got it mixed up with Trafalgar Square? It's easy to see why MTV have pinned their hopes on Leicester Square turning things around - there's two Pizza Huts and it is a little bit like Times Square, where the US equivalent comes from - but it won't alter the fact that for much of the year, Leicester Square is grimy, grey and rain-soaked. If they'd really wanted to come up with a solution that would have boosted the audience, they'd have hired a van and taken the show round the country.


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