TalkTV review: How do you trump Trump?
A view from James Temperley

TalkTV review: How do you trump Trump?

It started with a bang: Piers Morgan interviewing ex-president Donald Trump. But viewing figures have since declined. Does TalkTV's line-up of divisive hosts bode well for its future?

TalkTV launched with much hype, bold anti-woke statements and a lot of focus on Piers Morgan.

Securing an interview with Donald Trump was a major coup and a great way to guarantee good audience numbers on the launch night.

This launch strategy complemented the channel’s clear editorial stance, firmly putting its flag down in the territory of freedom of speech.

Running the Trump interview over two nights was a smart move. It kept people hanging on for more and maintained the talkability.

And then all the talk inevitably turned to the audience figures.

Piers Morgan’s eight o’clock Uncensored show launched with 317,000 viewers, dropped to 216,000 the second night and had more than halved by the third night at 123,000 (overnight five-minute averages).

The channel was never going to maintain its first day/night figures and was always going to see decline.

We will just have to wait to see the level it stabilises with. I expect it will measure its success by comparing the viewing numbers with other rolling news stations.

TalkTV has been very clear on its editorial stance and the line-up of presenters looks to be right to deliver this.

You may not agree with its anti-woke agenda, but Piers Morgan, Tom Newton Dunn, Julia Hartley-Brewer, Isabel Oakeshott, Jeremy Kyle… these are all well-known names with whom audiences will be familiar and, while they will not be to everyone’s taste, they are capable of delivering good TV.

And let’s face it, Donald Trump is a huge, global name who delivers good TV as well. The challenge will be to maintain a steady stream of quality, high profile guests.

What’s good?
It’s live, which usually means good audience engagement. It’s clear in its positioning and its presenters are true to the editorial stance.

What could be better?
It needs to get to a position of stability in terms of audience figures, audience profile and editorial content. This will give confidence to advertisers.

Would I book my clients onto this?
It is too early to make any decisions yet; we need robust data over a longer time period. We will be monitoring the audience in terms of size and profile and will discuss with our clients.

James Temperley is chief investment officer at Initiative UK