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Changing the game of sports journalism…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts hello and welcome to the media show you may think only a few weeks have gone by since Manchester City and Liverpool were taking it out for the English Premier League title you would be right of course but here we are only 10 days away from those two teams and 18 others try to win it all over again that they have been big name signings during the summer but not only among the players top football writers are being limited to a new team to a website and app called the athletic Chicago born that now looking to spell offering to the UK you will hear how and why in a moment and whether it's going to be as one commentator suggested Netflix like in its scope later.

We'll discuss diversity on the bus comes second major study on the subject will pitch Vicky cook the Watchdogs director of content and media policy alongside now sabby former BBC media executive and author of think like a y

Nelson wiki welcome will talk diversity in a moment, but Vicky has a top exec at the media regulator do you ever just sit down and watch television to relax yes, yes, you choose to watch when you do right.

Let me give you a clean face.

What do I watch Big little lies queer eye year of the rabbit probably my top three just at the moment and there's not a notebook in your hand as you're not too sure promise you it is pure pleasure and entertainment back in this building.

What does that feels like a delight watches for pleasure? What about you? I'm a news junkie, so I pretty much on there.

So nothing really turns me on more than am watching rolling news on brexit and no deal vs.

Deal call van.

Is he going to go as you going to stay?

Good up next time.

I'm a new person through more than else and Vicky a little bit later first thing to the American sports website which is launching in the UK next month the athletic.

It's been on according to some a super aggressive hiring spree for some of Britain's best football right at so much so that some high-profile poaching has been going on and you might have noticed your favourite football writer if you have one has disappeared from the back pages the athletic launched in the US in 2016 with the backing of some of silicon Valley's biggest venture capitalists pitch too far is that it offers unrivalled and exclusive news on your team in exchange for a subscription fee in a moment reaction to its UK launch from football writer and columnist Daniel story and multimedia and listed ampere analysis first thought to be aesthetic itself because visiting from the us as one of its directors Taylor Patterson welcome to the media show in a few.

What is the athletic going to offer its UK subscribers? That's a great question so were so excited to be wanting here in the UK next month and I think what stars Will Find sign up.

That is really in-depth deep content and storytelling from really what we believe is the best team of football writers ever assembled you know in the United States and Canada with over 3 years we covered close to 270 professional sports teams included sports teams across across, North America and I think what readers there have found it.

Is is covered if they can't really get anywhere else instead of quick hits not reported scheme recaps were focusing on deeper storytelling going behind the scenes and talking to two player managers families in really diving into some of the subjects that that makes word grave.

I want to talk about some of the writers in the moment, but the model of business model first of all this is a subscription.

So if you join in the UK your pay nearly £60 a year although you will get it discounted if you get in early.

Can you sustain that because historic Lee subscription models have struggle haven't well.

I think we're finding in the us really is that and were producing something? That's why we can't get anywhere else in and when you when you produce a product that we we see is a very premium product and they stick around will be there around 4 about three-and-a-half years.

I said started in San Francisco and and just this week actually and can't come out with us updated subscriber numbers more than half a million subscribers so far in the US and Canada have signed on as well as is looking at the number of subscribers that we had that stick around so Augustine is that when any all groups are coming there renewal the annual renewal or seen somewhere around 85% retention rate among those groups which is fairly staggering and also filling in for the consumer and

Alright with Netflix with Spotify with Amazon Prime and many others are willing to pay for Premium content, so are our job is to prove that it's worth it as long as you stay as long as they think it's worth it and when you look at the name, so I've got a lift here are the various UK hires and it makes for an impressive Reading if you're if you're a follower of sports journalism, but these are established names.

They're very good at what they do know that about that, but what are they going to do that different than what they're already doing so I mean I think again what we have to do is and what we've told them.

Is that they will have more freedom in their jobs right more freedom to do what we think will be the best work career.

That means is you know not holding them to filing 11 stories a day not holding them to you know even attending those those post match press conference.

It is but rather you know when 12 hours 24 hours to publish your story because they were able to follow the leader or pursue something that that other reporters just simply don't have the freedom to pursue that said you can expect you know.

Synonym of coverage from from the reporters that you love but what we're seeing in the US in Canada is really just this approach that allows them to dive deeper the Rock total casualties Iran co-founder of the athletic Alex Mather said this was I think two years ago in San Francisco quote.

We will wait every local paper out and let them continuously bleed until with the last one standing will suck them drive the best talented every moment will make business extremely difficult for them if I'm listening to that and I'm running a local newspaper.

I'm running for the hills and I think that's that place two years ago and I are position is really evolved in first of all.

I know he apologise for those remarks and I think of the result of the bigger conversation.

It was really focused on the premise that you know him and many of our other interviewed hundreds of journalists at this point for jobs.

Really sort of communicating the frustration that they have sent among many of them down to draw.

Sports that they are not treated well in their current jobs that they are coming from the industry where they've been underpaid at undervalue for quite some time in so you know I'm I imagine that if if we can sort you live that interview again, but you talk about people who were coming from Nottingham Liverpool Yorkshire Post these people regarded as the Creme De La Creme in that they're not going to be there and then you know everyone deserves a chance of Europe if you break a great Talent and you have to pay these people we believe there were things journalists and Industry I think you are not common.

That's that's interesting to them.

And every Time release equity in the company as well as I mentioned Netflix I think you did as well in the context of subscription and there has been this quote.

I think it was in the New York Times the aim is to become a Netflix like solution to the decline of local sports journalism, is that a realistic a moment is it is it the producing premium content for local audiences in the sense that in a very tailored to specific preferences in meteorite.

We see our car parts of which is that you know but losing quality independent for localised fans for fans of local teams in local cities or you know it local sports into that sort of the it's not content for all its contents and step don't want the most Ronaldo.

What do you think I think it's really interesting proposition.

It's not really something we've seen before in the sportspace.

You've got things like the players tribune which was in.

Long form content and they are doing really well at it, so they're shows that there is an appetite there.

We found from our research that actually in the UK people are still willing to add to their subscription services at the we've not hit that stage where people are like.

I've got too many and actually the UK is a very specific market because we have the likes of iPlayer we have a lot of free there is but still people are watching 500 more of these services in the last month you know when heading towards a very fragmented Media landscape.

So I'll still be competitive and I think it will be really difficult this particular area for sport is not really something we've seen before and we've also found that sports fans in general in this country don't get a lot of stuff free to ask so you're more willing to pay for Premium content and on average.

They tend to have more disposable income as well, so actually if you're going to target a group for this type of thing they're probably the Right Group 2.

Daniel story welcome to the program.

Would you want to be a part of this football right here you came into the industry in the last 67 years.

I would not around in terms of writing at at the dawn of the internet, but I think it's probably sad to say that at that point sports journalism underestimated the Power medium and and therefore didn't charge for product upfront at the dawn of the internet people along paper print products, but haven't paid for online, so that I think it's hard, but you know all good luck so important because that product has a value and you give it away online for free it gives off the impression that it doesn't have that in some sports image in this country.

They can find a way to to normalise paying for that product and I think it's probably just for everyone what about from the point of view of the football writer.

What does it potential?

Him or her that current outlets, don't do you think the promise of the product is it is a more in depth along the formed certainly suits some stars more than others.

I think there's nothing in industry of journalism, which is probably reflects the lack of product means that the organisations increasingly have to survive on an advertising Revenue and therefore the equation to produce mass content with mass advertising hiding generate profit to not seem to be the only way you can generate profits at online journalism sports today if we can find another way round you know remove the advertising and create subscriptions, then the potential to create coffee and there are two approaches to make an interesting point because you were the Dead 2 when you're football365.

And I had a look on there this afternoon in anticipation of this conversation and it was you go onto football365 and yes, it's free, but it takes a while to get to where you want to be because you're trying to be sold several shirts first waiting for the right and it's frustrating Predators and it's frustrating for for everyone involved, but the reality is they haven't really been a second option for that.

It's like is want to be paid and paid well and then providing in a good content to me and good value for the work, then the reality is advertising used in the process by which an organisation that this description modelling is pretty new in terms of UK sports journalism and content varying degrees of success, but this is the first outright subscription model and it will be very interesting to see how it and advertising is ruled out Taylor completely we have no plans to advert.

This time and you know I think as we move forward them to me being appointed with some of our podcasts and found a paywall to try and sort of get more folks to my other products.

Can you say that because autosport subscription at the launch? What's 6 months ago big name players attach David Beckham Neymar you name it published on social media outside the page to a degree perform well and now they're changing the model so you don't rule out some sort of know but I think you know we do find ways to sort of give people access to the contents that they can try if someone's lying on Madonna Diablo get access to 3 free articles in mind that they can sort of enjoy and then if they decided a really like the coverage that they can sign up credibility is going to be here when you as well, isn't it? Because those who consume sports journalism football journalism specifically they want to make sure it's right and it's good.

Yeah absolutely it, but I think you know that list that you have of the

Open signed up.

I'm an Arsenal fan on their Amy Lawrence's on that I'm such a huge fan of these journalist particularly Amy Lawrence is work with the Guardian she writes such incredible pieces so you're bringing to this platform journalists who have already got that credibility if they've already written some amazing pieces and you're going to be able to bring a fan base along with them as an Arsenal fan.

I would just for that as a Spurs fan.

I'm delighted for you Danny what about local newspapers.

Obviously I touched on this with Taylor remember to go how bigger threat this poses to local newspapers.

Do you think there is already a threat before the athletic make clear the Range in the UK I think there is sadly struggling.

I think the that has made some websites almost the news.

And I think the decline in print sales mean that more content to be online so I don't see how the athletic is clearly not going to be successful, but I think I have very serious questions one particularly people have been working conditions for a long time.

I have no local journalism loyalty to that but I can't even relative outside of you know right as nervous as having to look at things call questions because it's very very hard to make it pay in the online age of the point that was raised by somebody commenting on this launch was a hierarchical problem if you've got three or four 4G football writers or working for you and the Champions League final comes along who goes well.

I think we want to make sure the best riders are are doing.

The biggest tournaments in having a very healthy travel budget that will probably really that the opportunity to do this type of work with enticing a matter.

What level does a wrapper for about the name the Athletic football to me.

I think we wanted to keep it consistent with North America men and of course you know we will We Will hope to educate folks that it's not tracking field that it is in fact football focused and it might go beyond if it works out.

I think if we do well here's the sky's the limit accurately reflect the diverse mix of people we are broadcasting to the verdict seems to be could do better.

It's a year since the media regulator Ofcom published its first report in today.

And equal opportunities in radio 12 months are on the second report is out it talks about progress being made that says there's still a long way to go before the radio industry reflects cookie rock, director of content and media policy and Elsa Abbey is it from the BBC media executive officer of think like a white man Vicky just break this down first of all what's covered in the report specific.

What are you looking at OK well? This is the second year that we have published on radio diversity report it's the biggest study of the industry it can 16 different organisations which around about 9000 people who work in the industry today.

I think what we're encouraged by and suddenly.

I was supposed to see that actually this year.

Just 12 months on which is a relatively short time and the diversity space.

We do have a much better idea who's working in Radio 2?

And that's because the data has improved.

That's the information that companies are collecting on their on their workforce and he's actually working for them.

I think for me to be there a key areas where we still are seeing a lack of progress so people from ethnic minorities disabled people women in senior roles as still underrepresented and that's that's the focus for me and that's that's I think where the industry through the conversations.

We've had Nanny's to shine the spotlight, but you talk to the numbers in the 90s and staff broadly and the main focus to BBC Bauer and global and within those do you see significant differences in performance across yes, yes, there are subtle differences.

I'm in the BBC global Bauer the reason we concentrate on those three roughly as for the 9000 employees with we're talking about.

Employ around 7000 they say they make up the lion share the BBC as the biggest and as the PSB leads the way but we would expect them to be leading the way they have they both have challenges interestingly enough we recorded a podcast for the time ever which we published today alongside our report could listen on my website but we took quite a lot in there with the three Chiefs from those three companies about the challenge.

I like break down the one you highlighted gender disparity at the top women and underrepresented at senior levels.

Why so I think it's something that I've talked to industry about a lot over the last two years since I've joined off, and took on this work having worked in the industry for 20 years and seen diversity from the other site.

I think there's a there's a great recognition that's actually.

Cruising in a diverse way makes absolute sense and that gets a big dick and looks interesting Taylor that you mentioned about actually by taking some of those sports journalists on to other Productions you're allowing that space for new Talent and it gets it because the radio sounds better radio transmitter.

Of course you know companies get that if they want to attract diverse audiences.

They have to sound like the audience is talking to so that's that's a that's a given where I think there is a real stress and tension and it comes back to a point that I make a lot with broadcasters around culture.

It's very big shouldn't be about box ticking and characteristics.

It's about how you attracted diverse workforce, but I think where the focus and effort needs to be made is how you then I'm at work force and also around succession and progression and that's what worries me at entry-level certainly women and men fine you got it.

You've got an equal entry-level, but as those.

Become more senior those numbers drop it off to you again.

You are giving us over here on trusted collated, but you are collected by you as a you just taken from the broadcast as they given to you off, doesn't actually go into your nation actually have any intrusive powers whether you refuse to use intrusive powers to go into your organisation actually gather this information for yourself directly in my experience many things are not speaking about the BB something of the across.

How organisations tend to do these things what gets measured and doesn't look good.

I can get a massage these tend to be an exercise in somebody going through a form yeah and taking various boxes voluntary smell proper for example over.

I think it was a red bow about the number disabled members start increased from 3% to 6.29% in one single year people who and I think the keyword was member.

Identify the disabled that doesn't pass the smell test.

What do you say then would be a better way.

It's a very tough one is a very tough question I better way I think they're Ofcom will need to be given much montrouge Paris will to some degree of probably have to take time to breed ownership of how this is monitored.

So if you've broadcasters are just providing you with the data for themselves or their correct themselves, so that is slightly worthless because it's actually one of the is a rare if I compared to commercial services banking were previously the FCA returns to shreds in one whatsoever, can I just give you want to cuddle you I want to hear this.

This is from the 2019 classic book think like a white man.

It called the cycle of the first Contact quotes first comes to racism then comes the diversity officer then comes the diversity speeches training statistics and schemes.

Then come to realisation that absolutely nothing has changed repeat cycle repeat cycle infinity now the statistics are provided to us today which again likely to be best case scenario any given time I saw you in a bit to that.

Don't different highly to the satistics that probably received 10 years ago.

Did you want to take me on the ethnicity side of things? I mean? I think I mean I think you make some valid points and obviously without getting into incredibly dry Tara their territory around statutes and laws and I'll powers yes.

We have you know we have certain powers within our licences for information.

We can collect we actually collect an awful lot more information on a voluntary basis.

You like more power something that we are in active conversation about because I think I mean as I said bearing in mind.

This is any year 2 for a radio report will be publishing our third radio.

Play this is just seen that feels like a long time and I think with all due respect as a lot of people off and say well if we look back 10 years ago.

Everyone's been late to the party and I and I hope the conversation has actually moved on from then certainly the conversation.

I had with TV broadcasters with the creative industry is very much looking forward now and I think there is genuinely I need to improve this.

I'm not saying it's going to be fixed overnight, but I I have a much more positive.

I think taking you want to come back.

I think I'm so much is Apple so if I ask you a question BBC probably come out with the best statistics of of any other of the big 3 Bower global that was meant to say BBC but if I was to ask you for example to statistics you actually remove ethnicity for example.

Move the bane focused broadcasting stations bit 1Xtra laser network for example and they were looking at the BBC holistic Lee without those two largely distorting factors, and how diverse is the beam is BBC Radio you don't include the actual people who are broadcasting largely to blame audiences and have to be made by nature this report directly report on the radio industry.

It's not taking a large overview.

This is simply for the radio industry, can I just I just enter enter if I wasn't interested in what they sound rude, but I just wanted to bring in the comments and the other broadcasters involve BBC you talking about then.

We have further to go on women and black and minority ethnic group including a BBC Radio when moving fill me in the right direction with focused initiatives supporting recruitment practices is what they say global says diversity and inclusion a very important global it to constantly evolving process where.

Making improvements year on year this said we recognise there is still a lot of work to do and our we still have much to do if we leave our goal of achieving a workforce which is represented in the Communities we serve we rolling out a new sister round recruitment to change the way we attract and recruit new people into Bauer I look across the desk and I'm trying to read your facial expression result of hearing those statements against the really sure I speak for everybody from a minority ethnic female society society disprivilege under privileged background when I say thank you very much for the words and we heard them many many times before so but the reality is that sooner or later the word start to ring hollow to everybody I think we're at the sooner stage right now then the other later.

I get the picture of Brief word around the rest of the room mean.

Are you listening to this thoughts on your industry recently? What do you take out of it now? I actually started in radio.

So who own I was very young when I got in from a female point of view.

I completely agree in terms of the lack of.

The shepherd's staff especially you get that a lot in sport as well.

You know we are underrepresented or under-represented but in a lot of organisations that I have worked for they are genuinely trying to change that until you was here.

I would agree.

I think there's a genuine interest in and were young media company so I think it's really been part of our thinking from the start but you know our Focus is on on working with organisations that are really really day in and day out trying to sort the very best Talent so that the teams can can reflect the readership that by the time we got a few moments left the key what one thing would you like to see changing the next year the figures improved? I mean that that's you know we're very clear with a message.

We're going to carry on trying a light on this issue.

We getting Industries around the table sharing good practice and that has to be made from the top ok time is up at 4 today.

I don't forget you can find it on the BBC Sounds app back next Wednesday I will back in the seat of thanks to all my guests today to begin your nails to Daniel to me.

Taylor Patterson of the athletic and even listening goodbye

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