Monday, 31 March 2008

"Going... going... gone"; Global buys GCap

Congratulations to Global Radio. The ongoing speculation and deadline extensions led to the least anticipated announcement this evening that GCap Media is to be purchased by Global Radio for £375 Million. Not a bad price all things considered!

Now the questions will begin…
  • What does this mean for DAB in the UK?

  • Will Global reverse the decision to close stations like The Jazz and Planet Rock?

  • What about the sale of the Xfm’s outside London?

  • Will the new enlarged Global have to sell some stations to keep the regulators less worried about lack of competition in some markets?

  • How will Heart and Capital approach targeting the London market so they don’t cannibalise each other too much and maximise share?

  • Will all the stations be housed in one big super sized broadcast centre in Leicester Square… which isn’t really brimming with room as it is!

  • What implications will this have on staff and how many potential job losses will there be? (We can expect a radical restructure… in order to realise all those much talked about synergies!)

  • And the most important question of all… How will Fru Hazlitt be spending her reported £1 Million settlement for her several months work.

You’ve got to hand it to her. “Here’s my vision” she says. “Er…. No thanks” say the board. “That’ll be £1 Million quid then please” says Fru! Nice work if you can get it!!

No doubt there will be many column inches devoted to this during the next few weeks and months. As the stories come and go, I’ll try and pick out some of the more interesting programming implications of this commercial radio mega-deal and what the shape of things to come may look like.

Whilst Charles Allen may have a halo around him tonight and be heralded as the ‘saviour of UK commercial radio’ by putting its biggest group into private hands, let’s not forget this is the man who took ITV to one of it’s 'all time low' periods in terms of ratings, revenue and creativity. So, whilst Global is tonight living up to it’s bullish name… let’s see what things look like in 3, 6 and 12 months time.

But good luck Charles! We’re counting on you!


Geoff said...

So 2008 looked to be the year that Channel 4 would finally challenge the BBC's supremacy in radio. Looking at the stable that Global are building up, we may have a new contender.
If they can succeed in taking on Radios 1 or 2 in the same way Classic FM took on R3 then game on!
Whilst the running of each individual station is important - more than ever a strong leadership and vision from within the group will be key. With Capital, Heart and possibly XFM (should they keep it) in London someone will have to play the equivalent role to Jenny Abramsky at the Beeb and help them target different sets of listeners.
Probably the most important job in UK radio... so who's fit for it?

Anonymous said...

If anybody has seen Fru's presentation on the future of GCap that was released a few weeks back, you'll realise just what a travesty of justice a £1m payout is. Reminded me a lot of GCSE business studies.