Rupert Murdoch’s venture into the UK broadcasting scene has hit a roadblock as TalkTV, his opinion-led UK broadcaster, announces the closure of its terrestrial channel due to substantial financial losses.

The decision comes just weeks after Piers Morgan announced his departure from the network, opting to move his show to YouTube.

News UK, the parent company of TalkTV, confirmed the shutdown of the terrestrial channel, citing the struggle to attract audiences and also fierce competition from rival broadcaster GB News.

Scott Taunton, News UK’s head of broadcasting, emphasised the need to redirect investments towards platforms with growing audiences and revenues, highlighting the shift towards streaming services such as YouTube.

Despite efforts to revamp the presenting lineup and implement cost-cutting measures, TalkTV faced significant challenges in retaining viewership. With programmes failing to draw substantial audiences and traditional advertising revenues falling short, Murdoch’s team have announced the channel will be moving to streaming-only distribution. This strategic shift comes after broadcasting and political heavyweights such as Piers Morgan and Nadine Dorries announced their departures from the network recently.

Launched in 2022 with aspirations to capitalise on the demand for opinionated broadcasting, TalkTV struggled to replicate the success of Murdoch’s US venture, Fox News. Despite the setback, News UK has said it remains committed to TalkTV’s future as an audio and video channel, focusing on digital distribution channels such as YouTube, Amazon Fire, and connected TVs.

In tandem with the restructuring, News UK announced the formation of News Studios, a new broadcasting division tasked with producing video content for its news brands, including The Sun and The Times. This strategic realignment signals a shift towards multimedia storytelling and digital content creation.

As TalkTV transitions to a digital-only platform, job losses are expected, and consultations with affected staff are underway.

In a memo to staff Scott Taunton, News UK’s head of broadcasting said:

“We now need to focus our investment on where the eyeballs are and where the revenues are in growth. 

“In order to be successful, we need to prioritise being where the audiences are, rather than asking them to come to find us down the channel guide.”

The overhaul means TalkTV will now only be available on platforms such as YouTube, Amazon Fire and connected TVs, while video clips will continue to be shared on social media.

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