UK’s Flirtation With Terrestrial Must Not Devolve Into One Night Stand

The BBC One expenditure on content was £1.02 billion in 2014. This equates to a mean of £2.79 million per day on content for the most watched channel in the United Kingdom. Eastenders had an annual budget of £29.8 million in 2010 – a time for which accurate information appears freely available as per an NAO report. Applying Consumer Price Index (CPI) Inflation for UK for the period that £29.8 million in 2010 becomes £34.4 million in 2015. This nets the channel around 200 episodes per annum at a cost of around £172,000.00 per 30 minute episode.


Anywhere from 3,900,000 & 9,360,000 viewers on average (during the telecast) will tune in to a given episode of Eastenders going on recent history. Whilst a far way away from their heyday the implications for entertainment sector competitors or would be competitors – which professional boxing is – are startling.


If we take 5,200,000 viewers per episode as a loose rule of thumb for the most complained about show on the BBC the content cost per million viewer hours is £172,000.00/5,200,000/30*60*1,000,000= £66,153. For every £66,153 invested the public broadcaster has 1 million viewers watching for a period of one hour. Certain economies of scale are of course in play here – but this can nevertheless be regarded as a low-end estimate of what prime time content is actually worth to a major terrestrial broadcaster in 2015. Anything approaching – or dare I say, bettering – this cost base should – non-economic impositions notwithstanding – represent outstanding value to the UK’s number one televisual platform.


A little creative thinking goes a long way when faced with such gloomy economic impositions. By returning to a mainstream media platform the sport of boxing will reattain whole societal significance – as will their practitioners. Suddenly the narratives of the sport’s participants is given the scope to leverage commercial opportunities of its own creation – Neymar, Messi, Bolt & their ilk are not uniquely bestowed with Police sunglass; Pepsi-Cola & Virgin Media advertising campaigns by some divine force – it helps that they are known to the public. By positioning itself as a sport of exclusion in the Pay per View era boxing has committed a form of drawn out cannibalistic suicide. Serious commercial sponsors – of both individual fighters & of entire boxing shows or series of shows – require a commensurately seriously high level of eye balls being exposed to their brands to show any real interest. (more…)

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