TV media show will bring coverage the industry needs

Having exhibited signs of gluttony, idleness and prejudice over recent weeks (and that's only in this column), I'll now have a stab at hypocrisy. Because BBC4 deserves some praise, writes Ian Darby.

Yes, you heard right. The upmarket section of the Beeb's digital package, attacked before on these pages, deserves congratulation for its decision to launch a media show. Reports earlier this week revealed that the channel will launch the 30-minute programme in January and that Tyler Brule, the Canadian-born founder of Wallpaper, will be fronting it.

I'm not especially applauding the selection of Brule to host the show, though he's surely a more interesting choice than the more establishment alternatives said to be in the running (Raymond Snoddy, Kirsty Wark, et al).

In fact, he may risk alienating a healthy portion of the undoubtedly small potential audience for 'The Desk', if the response of many of my contacts is anything to go by. "Oh, he's that fop who edited Wallpaper," was a frequent comment.

But the BBC says that Brule's production company, Winkontent, had been selected because of "an energy and style which we felt was spot on for BBC4". Brule is just the sort of "jack of all trades" modern media man that TV would want to front a show -- he's worked in TV, magazines and design (his advertising-cum-design agency Winkreative designed Sky One's new look). He also a writes a column for the FT Weekend section (last week he laid into GMTV for its set design).

Regardless of Brule's charms, a serious show on TV about the media business (albeit one tucked away in a corner shadier than Barbara Amiel's wardrobe) should be welcomed. And, coincidentally, another TV media strand launches on CNBC Europe later this month, featuring in-depth discussions of advertising and media issues and including guests such as Andrew Robertson, the BBDO chief executive, and Steve King, the chief executive of ZenithOptimedia. Also, the Advert Channel recently launched on satellite. So now there are three options where previously there were none.

The lack of serious standalone coverage of media, and while we're at it, the creative side of the advertising industry, on TV has been frustrating. The BBC and other broadcasters' news correspondents seem to cover the sectors well enough, so perhaps they have finally realised the need for more in-depth coverage.

Well, hopefully 'The Desk' and others will go some way to addressing this but it will be interesting to see how well Brule's team gets to grips with some of the harder commercial aspects of the business. Meanwhile, I'm off to campaign for a terrestrial TV show about advertising not hosted by Chris Tarrant or with the words "Top 100" in its title. Delusion is clearly my latest character trait.

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