GB News appoints Sky Media to handle ad sales ahead of launch

GB News: will reach 96% of British households on Freeview, Sky, Virgin, YouView and Freesat
GB News: will reach 96% of British households on Freeview, Sky, Virgin, YouView and Freesat

'Anti-woke' TV news channel to offer 'innovative' ad partnerships.

GB News has said it will outsource its advertising sales to Sky Media and announced the channel will begin broadcasting on 13 June.

The TV news channel, which is chaired by former BBC broadcaster Andrew Neil and has talked about challenging the “woke” agenda of existing mainstream news organisations, describes itself as a “news and current affairs service for the United Kingdom”.

GB News said the ad sales arm of pay-TV giant Sky will handle all linear media sales and the Sky Media partnerships team will work with GB News’ commercial director, David Weeks, on “innovative partnerships”.

Weeks said: “We’re developing a range of exciting ways to reach audiences and Sky Media has the agility and creativity to help us build on this opportunity.”

GB News will reach 96% of British households on Freeview, Sky, Virgin, YouView and Freesat, and plans to launch a suite of streaming, video-on-demand and audio services.

“GB News is designed to provide brands with the combination of mass-reach linear TV and interaction with our highly engaged audiences via digital platforms,” Weeks said. 

“Our personality-led, appointment-to-view format gives advertisers the opportunity to join the community of viewers and the national conversation.”

Neil, a former Sunday Times editor, has promised “passionate but not shouty” programming that will challenge the “increasingly woke” agenda of other mainstream news broadcasters.

He will have a regular evening show on GB News, which will begin broadcasting at 8pm on 13 June. 

Other presenters include former ITN broadcaster Alastair Stewart, former Sun journalist Dan Wootton and former Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry.

Weeks, who previously worked for The Week and The Economist and more recently Pearl & Dean and Discovery, said: “We’ve identified a sizeable audience across the UK that is hungry for more choice and a fresh approach to news and debate. 

“We’re incredibly excited to be partnering with Sky Media to provide agencies and their clients with a refreshingly different offering to reach the people of Great Britain.”

GB News is expected to rely on advertising for a significant amount of its revenue.

A spokesperson declined to comment on a report in the Financial Times that it has a business plan to generate about £40m a year in revenue, of which about two-thirds would come from ad sales.

Comcast-owned Sky Media is one of the three big TV ad sales houses in the UK and competes with ITV and Channel 4.

It already handles close to 30% of TV ad sales, including for third parties such as Discovery (an investor in GB News), Disney, ViacomCBS and BT Sport.

GB News has said it will obey Ofcom’s broadcasting regulations on impartiality but the channel is still likely to face scrutiny.

Stop Funding Hate, a campaigning group that has previously targeted advertisers in some tabloid newspapers, said in a post on Twitter earlier this month: “Stop Funding Hate has had a lot of requests to help identify any companies advertising on GB News.”

A GB News spokesperson declined to comment but Neil previously said on Twitter in February: “The woke warriors trying to stir up an advertising boycott of GB News, a channel that hasn’t even started broadcasting, are hilarious.”

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