Danny Rogers: BBC and Murdoch vie for influence

Last week, we looked at corporate reputations within the political community. This week (news, p3), we look at the media - on both sides of the Atlantic - that are major influences on reputations.

Danny Rogers
Danny Rogers

TLG's exclusive research for PRWeek reveals that as well as having a strong corporate reputation in its own right (Opinion, 12 November), the BBC remains dominant in terms of forging other reputations in the UK.

The survey, among 1,000 opinion-formers, shows that the BBC is the primary source of news and influence - by some margin - across television, radio and online.

It is interesting to note how much more corporate influence the BBC has in the UK than arch-rival News Corporation. In TV, the public broadcaster's products ranked in the top four slots, with Sky News fifth. While online, 51 per cent of the respondents said the BBC had most influence on business reputations compared with just six per cent citing The Times, the Murdochs' most powerful title here. This reminds us why News Corp is so keen to control more of Sky - and thus leverage more media power in the UK - and why this move is so fiercely opposed by the BBC.

But it is a very different story in the US, where Murdoch-owned titles dominate across most media. In print, the Wall Street Journal was named as the most influential title by 58 per cent of respondents, and was also the most influential online. Meanwhile, News Corporation's Fox News was revealed as the most powerful TV news source, ahead of CNN and Bloomberg.

Another startling difference between the UK and US is the comparative dominance of new media across the pond. In the US, nearly two-thirds of respondents said online was their primary source of news, nearly three times that of any other medium. But in the UK, online, print and radio are much closer rivals in terms of delivering news. Television comes lower down the list.

Nevertheless, in terms of long-term corporate reputation-building, TV remains hugely powerful on both sides of the Atlantic. In the UK, 63 per cent said TV ultimately had the most impact on corporate reputation and it came top in the US too, with 50 per cent of respondents citing it.

In a year when we saw pictures of BP's Deepwater Horizon platform polluting the Gulf Coast with oil and Chilean miners emerging from the depths, we are reminded of the enduring power of the live news image.

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