Tag Archives: British Army

Low ratings for BBC’s Undercover Soldier

Normally, a young reporter’s first steps into the media world might be a stint of work experience; the dramatic peak might be an exciting court case.

Not so for Russell Sharp: his first job in the media was to enlist in the British Army and go undercover for six months, to report on the bullying, for a BBC documentary.

It made remarkable viewing last night. The film showed Sharp’s fear at being discovered by his fellow recruits and superiors as he secretly filmed them during training.

The racism and bullying he witnessed was shocking – it’s been documented here at the BBC website. As numerous papers reported, five suspensions of army instructors have since been made – it is unclear how many are a direct result of allegations made by the BBC.

Yet BBC1’s unusual documentary ‘Undercover Soldier’ got the worst broadcast figures for the slot since June 2006 despite its controversial subject matter. It started with 2.6m (10.1%) watching, and then slowly declined to 2.3m. Even Ann Widdecombe and the girl gangs, over on ITV did better than that.

Why the low ratings? Was it because they didn’t send out preview copies, or that it was a last minute addition to the broadcast schedule? Or was the viewing public just not interested?

JEEcamp: online revenue models – the Waghorn way

Rick Waghorn, founder of myfootballwriter.com and keynote speaker at today’s JEEcamp conference, has said his Norwich FC site attracted 33,000 unique visitors in January.

However, Waghorn said the more interesting figures are 436 – the average number of seconds spent on the site by a user, and 3.5 – the average number of visits a month.

Discussing the local contextual advertising system Addiply which he has developed, Waghorn said local newspapers should now be viewing their journalists’ contact books as list of potential advertisers.

According to Waghorn it’s about creating a ‘melting pot’ of revenue from Google, local advertisers, subscribers and content syndication.

Relying on one revenue stream isn’t enough: 400,000 pages impressions over three months to MFW generated a paltry $180. Google is not the piece of advertising kit needed by local sites, Waghorn said.

News sites should aim to gear their content and advertising so it can be adapted and pushed through local, national and global channels, Waghorn advised. As an example, the site has this week signed an ad deal with the British Army, who were keen to tap into the football fan demographic.