The launch of the right-wing GB News channel was hampered by technical difficulties, with chairman Andrew Neil’s opening monologue muffled by poor sound quality and star guest Nigel Farage cut off mid-stream by a Co-Op Pizza ad – unfortunately not before he’d had a chance to rail against Black Lives Matter.
But that didn’t put off the opening night audience, which peaked in its opening minutes at 336,000 viewers. This compared to 100,000 for BBC News Channel and 46,000 who watched Sky across the hour from 8pm to 9pm, according to BARB. The GB News audience was 57% male, with 52% aged over 65 and 82% from the ABC1 demographic.
Advertising for GB News is being handled by Sky Media, which might help to explain why there are some decent brands on there. Ikea, the Co-Op, and green energy companies Ovo and Octopus were among the companies putting money into the channel, even though their values might not overtly align with the likes of Farage and Dan Wootton.
Campaign group Stop Funding Hate is targeting the brands, along with other GB News advertisers including Cadbury, Virgin Media, Kellogg’s, Deliveroo, American Express, Starbucks and the National Lottery, in an attempt to publicly shame them and limit the channel’s funding.
But so far, GB News isn’t doing too badly: it has had plenty of publicity, and a member of the team was even selected to ask a question at Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s press conference about delaying the end of lockdown. Sky News, meanwhile, didn’t get a look in.