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BBC Scotland to drop The Nine as part of reshaping of news services



BBC Scotland is to drop its The Nine news programme as part of changes to its news and current affairs services.

The hour-long 9pm show will be replaced by a new 30-minute news programme at 7pm on the BBC Scotland Channel, subject to consultation with, and approval from, Ofcom.

Other changes will include regular extensions to Reporting Scotland, a new current affairs series available on BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer as well as TV, and investment in online news services.

BBC Scotland said the moves are designed to grow the impact of broadcast news services in Scotland whilst offering audiences more ways to watch and listen to news and current affairs output across all its services.

It said there will be no staff job losses associated with the plans.

Gary Smith, BBC Scotland head of news and current affairs, said: “It’s going to be a busy year for news with a UK election, an American election, and Scotland’s trip to Germany for the Euros.

“We need to make sure we keep changing our output as audience habits change, so that we provide the best possible service for our audiences in the formats and on the platforms they want.

“I’m very proud that The Nine has produced such great journalism and developed such great talent over the past five years, and I’m confident that our new offer to audiences will continue to meet those high standards.”

Last month, BBC Scotland director Steve Carson was questioned by MSPs on “really low” TV audiences for The Nine after it emerged one episode had just 1,700 people watching.

He told Holyrood’s Culture Committee it was important not to take things in isolation and that average viewing figures were higher.

The Nine, which launched in 2019, broadcasts from Monday to Thursday while news programme The Seven is broadcast at 7pm from Friday to Saturday.

The new 7pm programme, following Reporting Scotland at 6.30pm on BBC One Scotland, will have coverage from across Scotland, the UK and the world.

The new topical current affairs series will be published as a podcast on BBC Sounds and also be available to audiences on BBC iPlayer, BBC Scotland channel and BBC One Scotland and the plan is for it to run four times a week in this election year.

Both will launch later this year.

The plans also involve bringing The Edit (an entertainment news programme) and Seven Days (a weekly news review programme) on the BBC Scotland Channel to a close.

Reporting Scotland on BBC One will regularly be extended for a number of hour-long special editions across the year while the series run of Debate Night will be longer this year, increasing from 24 episodes to 30 episodes.

As part of a strategy to strengthen its online news coverage, there will be an increase in the frequency of “live” online reporting and explanatory articles on the news website and news app.

Mr Carson said: “In launching new shows and developing our digital services, these changes play to our strengths as an innovative broadcaster that delivers high quality journalism to audiences across all our platforms: from TV and Radio to online news, iPlayer and Sounds.”

The BBC said its operating licence currently requires the BBC Scotland channel to show 250 hours per annum of news.

The new news programme will require an amendment to the operating licence and therefore will be subject to consultation with, and the approval of, Ofcom.

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