Sky’s Big Brother Plan to “Nudge” Viewers Towards Net Zero

Sky have co-authored a report with the Behavioural Insights Team – AKA the Downing Street Nudge Unit – which uses “behavioural science techniques” to encourage TV audiences to “[make] lifestyle changes that address the climate crisis“. Revealed this week at COP, the report – titled “The Power of TV: Nudging Viewers to Decarbonise Their Lifestyles” – claims that broadcasters “should put climate-friendly actions […] centre stage in all areas of TV content“, especially towards children, because of the “important influence” they have on their parents. Expect to see Peppa Pig tell us all to ditch our boilers very soon.

Launching the report, Sky CEO Dana Strong* said:

“At Sky we have set out our pathway to achieve net zero carbon, but we know this alone will not be enough. Through the content that we bring into our customers’ homes we believe broadcasters have a clear role and responsibility to encourage lifestyle changes that address the climate crisis.”

You might have naïvely thought the role of a news channel was to report the news. Legally regulated broadcasters have an obligation to be impartial, not push lifestyle changes:

 In dealing with matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy an appropriately wide range of significant views must be included and given due weight in each programme or in clearly linked and timely programmes.

Sky’s climate advocacy has seen them claim sea levels are rising so quickly that the Queen will soon be swimming through Buckingham Palace – a claim that was patently false. Now they’re suggesting broadcasters should “use kids’ content” to put children off meat and dairy. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the Nudge Unit is partially owned by and run out of the Cabinet Office, which means this report is effectively government-sanctioned propaganda to push a political agenda, something that liberal democracies usually avoid. Governments encouraging broadcasters to use their power to subliminally influence the population is dangerous.

*Dana Strong’s commitment to decarbonising did not prevent her commuting via private jet from America:

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Sky Adviser on Psychological Safety Says Those Who Criticise Take-the-Knee Are “Subhuman”

Political activist and author Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, who mentored Sky employees on “allyship and psychological safety” just last month, has declared that those “offended” by taking the knee are “subhuman“, and that the Mail on Sunday’s Dan Hodges “is a Racist Apologist epitomising the inferiority complex of white supremacy”. No doubt her contributions to Sky’s “Unity Programme” were greatly appreciated…

This isn’t the first time Mos-Shogbamimu’s pushed the boundaries of what it means to promote psychological safety. A quick browse through her Twitter profile shows that she’s called Priti Patel a “Racial Gatekeeper Extraordinaire”, suggested that “exempting the Queen & Household from race discrimination laws is an atrocity”, and even warned her own followers that “for your own mental health, don’t try my patience.” Always be kind and tolerant of others, unless they disagree with you.

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Sky Invests in Massive New Studios

Despite dire warnings about Brexit, Sky have unveiled plans to build a 32-acre TV and film studio in Elstree. A new dawn is breaking for Sky…

The huge development will be able to facilitate production of several films and TV shows at the same time, with 14 impressive sound stages; and will go ahead with the international backing of US media giants Comcast (Sky’s owner) and NBCUniversal. The Sky’s the limit…

Sky’s CEO Jeremy Darroch said of the development that “Sky Studios Elstree will play a pivotal role in bringing the wealth of UK and European talent and creativity to the world.” Not that you’d necessarily know that from Sky’s Brexit coverage…

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Runners & Riders: Sky Pol Ed

After four years at Sky as political editor, Faisal Islam is off to the BBC to become their economics editor. As ever Guido brings you likely runners & riders:

Beth Rigby – she wants it and many viewers think she’s already the pol ed. Must be in with a good chance.

Sophy Ridge – conflicting information as to if she really wants the job, which entails being on the road a lot, given a young child at home. Sky are a progressive employer so they would want to make it work for her. No doubt she could do it.

Chris Mason – if Sky wants to get one back from the BBC Mason would be an obvious choice. Mason might feel that Laura Kuenssberg is going to be in position for a long time and this is a chance for promotion and more money. Is rumoured to be interested in a move.

Nick Watt – again Sky could get their own back on the BBC by pinching Nick from Newsnight. Is he tired of the late nights?

Ross Hawkins – seems a bit frustrated on BBC radio. Could be interested.

Tom Newton-Dunn – a regular on Sky’s late night paper review, Tom’s enthusiasm for appearing on television is well known. Not sure if Sky’s executives share his enthusiasm…

Lewis Goodall – just too young, too Labour and too irritating?

Paul Brand – if Sky were to cast their net further afield – ITV’s political correspondent has had a few eye catching scoops lately.

Ed Conway – Impressive journalist and writes authoritatively about economics. During elections he has covered politics well. Guido’s outside bet.

Amol Rajanhas not publicly ruled himself out for the job.

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Wake Up With Ridge on Sunday

In a quick response to to Andrew Marr’s hurried announcement yesterday that his Sunday show is moving to ten o’clock, Ridge is grabbing the nine o’clock slot. Of course Peston has beaten them both by retreating to Wednesday nights. This all brings back memories of the great morning email wars of of 2017.* Smart move. Ridge will now be more likely to set the agenda…

*Won by Politico’s Jack Blanchard.
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Murdoch’s De-Risked With Disney

Tom Watson can barely contain himself: “This is the end of an era for the Murdochs who after decades of aggressive empire expansion are now in retreat.” The left is celebrating because their blood enemy of half-a-century is “in retreat”. If it is a retreat then it is a luxurious one. Disney is paying $52 billion for the Fox assets Murdoch is selling, which includes Sky in the UK. It pleases Rupert’s legion of enemies that he has lost the battle for total control of Sky…

As some of the more sober analysis on the business pages has noted, Fox stock is up 30% since the bid speculation started; Murdoch is selling at the top. Disney is gearing up for a streaming war with Netflix, Amazon and Apple. Content libraries are the key weapon in that war. Fox is getting a full premium for that treasure without the risk of becoming a casualty. Rupert could again – as he was at the dawn of satellite television – be ahead of the game. The billions in profits generated by Sky may dazzle investors now; those with more vision can see that the future of universal fast broadband and the shift to mobile means this tsunami of subscription revenue could recede very quickly. The Pay TV assets Murdoch has sold to Disney could never have it better…

Murdoch still has control of Fox News, the most lucrative news channel on earth. He still has News Corp’s newspapers around the world and a big chunk of Mickey Mouse’s stock. Fox also now has billions in cash and cash flow with which to make Murdoch’s next move…

UPDATE: Murdoch tells Maria Bartiromo that he wants to be out of entertainment and in real-time news:

mdi-timer 15 December 2017 @ 10:08 15 Dec 2017 @ 10:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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