BBC replaces top political shows on Twitter with single BBC Politics account in bid to 'reach more people'

Some of the BBC’s flagship political shows are no longer running their own Twitter accounts, a move the corporation said had been made to try to “engage and reach more people� in one place.

It was announced this week that the Twitter accounts for The Andrew Marr Show, Daily Politics (now Politics Live) and Westminster Hour would be closed and no longer updated.

Users are instead being directed to a central BBC Politics account which promises “the best of the BBC’s political coverage�.

A BBC spokesperson said: “We have consolidated all of our political programming Twitter handles into one central account, providing an opportunity for the BBC’s political content to engage and reach more people in one place.�

But not everyone has reacted positively to the change, as former BBC Newsnight acting editor Jess Brammar, now head of news at Huffpost UK, called it a “bad strategy�.

Press Gazette understands the BBC was planning to streamline its political Twitter accounts for some time.

In July it announced that it was making changes to its political and parliamentary output in a bid to produce more digital coverage and make £1.9m in savings.

The plans included creating a new team “giving better digital and social coverage” with the aim of bringing “trusted impartial political coverage to younger audiences”.

The BBC also ended Sunday Politics in its previous format, changing it to a half-hour regional programme to follow The Andrew Marr Show, and replaced the Daily Politics with Politics Live, which began this week.

BBC News has to make £80m in annual savings by 2019/20.

The former Daily Politics and Sunday Politics account posted a statement on Monday which said: “This account has now closed. Please follow BBC Politics for tweets from BBC political TV and radio programmes.�

The Marr and Westminster Hour Twitter accounts posted similar statements directing people to the BBC Politics account for updates from their shows.

The BBC Daily Politics and Sunday Politics Twitter account had 194,000 followers, the Marr account had 81,000 followers, and Westminster Hour had 11,000. The BBC Politics account has 439,000 followers.

In tweets, Brammar said of the changes: “I know BBC digital team want to centralise stuff but you have 80,000 people that want to follow your tweets, they might not want a steady stream of politics from the main account.

“Plus, in current climate political programmes need distinct personalities.�

Brammar was joined by Habiba Khanom, who said she had, until recently, been The Andrew Marr Show’s digital producer for four years.

She wrote: “[I] Tried hard to grow the Twitter account and built up a personality for the show via Twitter. Not sure what I think about it all going onto one account. It’s confusing and will turn people off.�

Source: Digital Journalism
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