The Media Weekly: BBC under fire, Cosmo at 50, and a lookback at Vine – online video’s very own Betamax

There’s further debate around the future of the 100 year old BBC this week, as Cosmopolitan UK celebrates its 50th birthday. Meanwhile, new research from the Reuters Institute shows that the majority of publishers are optimistic about the year ahead. We’ll also take a glimpse into the future of streaming in Africa, and a novel part of online video’s past in the form of Vine! So load up those tape decks, ready the MJ popcorn GIFS and… well you get the gist, here we go…  

BBC reprises its role as political football ⚽️

As reported at the start of the year, the BBC turns 100 in 2022. In many ways, the institution is stronger than ever, with record global reach and a pioneering approach to diversity and inclusion that leads the media tech sector. 

But as the UK remains engulfed in political storms following the fallout of Brexit, the corporation finds itself being kicked about once again as a political football, with Nadine Dorries, the country’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) having confirmed a two year licence fee freeze that she would like to make permanent. 

FIPP Reporter, Ashley Norris, takes an in-depth look at how the permanent scrapping of the BBC licence fee could more broadly impact UK media here.

But no flies on Cosmo at 50

For Cosmopolitan UK, its 50th year anniversary celebrations have come with considerably less controversy. The publication’s latest cover features Model and Social Activist, Munroe Bergdorf, who won ‘Changemaker of the Year’ at Cosmopolitan UK’s 2018 Influencer Awards. The brand has invited three fellow writers, activists and campaigners to sit down with her to discuss race, gender and equality, looking back at the last 50 years and discussing what change still needs to come. Full story here

A glittering year ahead… 

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has published its annual report into the state of the industry, drawing upon survey data from 246 media leaders drawn from 52 countries around the world. The majority of publishers (73%) say they are optimistic about the year ahead, while the report’s Author, Nic Newman, writes: “This could be the year when journalism takes a breath, focuses on the basics, and comes back stronger.”

FIPP Reporter, Sadie Hale, provides analysis on the report here.

Meanwhile, the Institute has also announced that its Journalist Fellowship Programme is now accepting applications. Around 30 candidates will be selected from all over the world to take part in the scheme. Fellows – who are typically established mid-career journalists – participate in personal research, seminars, networking events and discussions, furthering their understanding of journalism and the news industry as a whole. 

… as streaming expands in Africa 

The Hollywood Reporter says that “2022 could be when the global media industry finally starts taking Africa seriously,” and in the past month alone, Netflix has signed two major licensing deals with Nigeria’s Inkblot and Anthill Studios. Disney+ is also reportedly ramping up its operations on the continent, and Nigerian TV pioneer, Mo Abudu told Reporter, Scott Roxborough: “I’ve been in this industry for 20 years, and it’s only now that we’re seeing this real explosion, a real tipping point, for African content,”

You can read the full Hollywood Reporter article here.

And spare a thought for Vine

A fascinating article appears on NBC News, providing a ‘look back at Vine — the six-second video app that made us scream, laugh and cry’. For those familiar with the evolution of online video in recent years, Vine for some holds legendary status as the Betamax or Platypus of its genre: 

“Before there was TikTok, there was Vine,” writes Wilson Wong, Culture and Trends Reporter for NBC News Digital. “Launched in June 2012 by Rus Yusupov, Dom Hofmann and Colin Kroll, Vine was one of the first social media apps to make the short form video both mainstream and accessible… But the six-second time cap, which initially catapulted Vine into viral success, later became its Achilles’ heel.”

As for FIPP…  

We’ll this week be publishing the second instalment of our new Unscripted podcast, in partnership with PressReader. Available exclusively to FIPP members a week in advance of general release, the mic is this time passed to Katie Vanneck-Smith, co-Founder and Publisher at Tortoise Media, who is also responsible for launching the UK’s first-ever news paywall at The Times. You can find out more about FIPP Unscripted here


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