Saturday, July 31, 2010

No Business For TV

Like many genres that were once ghettoised by broadcasters, business has become mainstream; from Dragon's Den to The Apprentice, the drama of building, running and trying to make a business succeed has been turned into entertainment, for better or for worst.

In the US, the dot com boom saw channels such as MSNBC become mainstream.

But business has a raw deal online. The odd collection of clips on news sites is pretty much as good as it gets in the UK, and most coverage is largely made up of talking heads and interviews.

This is why it is so disappointing to see the BBC doing away with Working Lunch, its very unique business and personal finance programme which has often given me a natural break during the working day when I'm home working. To replace it with yet another news programme, when the Corporation has whole channels and endless programmes regurgitating the same twenty or so news stories is, frankly, pathetic.

The BBC has always been ambiguous about its business coverage, and with the exception of the inimitable Robert Peston on its news channel, its output within the genre has been scandalously poor.

But perhaps this is another market where lessons can be learnt from the publishing industry: there are very few successful general business magazines, whereas there are many very successful vertical market publications.

It strikes me that this is an almost untapped market for both traditional TV and for online television.