Coffee House

US election 2012: the broadcast election

7 November 2012

One product of the modern communications age is that we can all follow what US outlets and Twitter are saying while watching the BBC coverage’s of the US elections. This creates a whole host of challenges for the Beeb. Back in the day, few would have noticed that there was a gap between the US networks calling the key state of Ohio for Obama and the BBC catching up. But this time, it stuck out like a poor thumb.

The other great challenge for any international broadcaster is the sheer quality of the coverage on US television. One can chuckle at NBC and their political editor having a ‘Command Centre’. But their understanding of the key swing counties in each state is unrivalled. The BBC would be well advised to bring some of this American analysis into its coverage in 2016.

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  • El_Sid

    I wonder if the British media will devote as many resources to the German election next year – arguably that’s a much more important one to the average Briton. But no doubt it will be “Fog in Channel, Europe cut off” as usual – coverage of European politics really is appalling.

  • Kernow Castellan

    “The BBC would be well advised to bring some of this American analysis into its coverage in 2016.”

    Surely you mean it should take the lessons into the 2015 UK General Election, not the 2016 US one.

    The BBC needs to learn how to control costs, remember what the first “B” stands for, and not try to compete with US channels in covering a US election. Politics nerds can get NBC/CNN/ABC/Fox themselves. Why can’t the BBC just report on what the US channels are saying.

    The overnight coverage lasted about a thousandth of a year, so about 15p of the licence fee for each of the 25 million licences – or about £3.8m of revenue. If cost any more than that (and I guess it did), it is loss making, and thus taking revenue away from other things.

    • alexsandr

      why could they not just take a feed from a us network till when Breakfast started? I dont think most in the uk gave a stuff about it.

  • alexsandr

    BBC breakfast wetting themselves over their beloved barak winning. As if anyone in the UK really cares that much. An item in the news would be enough for most.

  • Mirtha Tidville

    No it doesn`t…It may suprise you to know that there are many millions in this country who couldn`t give a stuff about twitter/facebook etc….we are not all overexcited spotty oiks!!…There are some who still prefer a good night s sleep after a nightcap of Cabernet Sauvignon and read the news when they get up……

  • timinsingapore

    BBC coverage seemed pretty good to me. Less irritating to watch than the US channels we get here …

  • HooksLaw

    Why does the BBC need to ‘cover’ the election? Does it make it happen any sooner? Does it make the result any different? Has it made any of us any the wiser?

    Why can’t it just ‘report’ it. And save us having to fork out for Dimbleby’s and Huw Edwards’ expenses? Not to mention those of the absurd Mathis and Marr (?)

    Why does the BBC News have to be read from Washington?

  • peter hutton

    Morning James……So nice dig at BBC but no observations to make about ITV’s coverage or that of Sky News?

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