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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Channel 4: PR score or own goal?

Is the treatment of Shilpa Shetty racist or just plain nasty; a bad case of jealousy and nothing else?

And is this the biggest PR coup Channel 4 have ever produced?

Channel 4 viewing figures are up: 4.5 million viewers for the main highlights programme, up from 3.5 million on Monday and 3.9 million on Tuesday last week. And the number of column inches in the nationals must be making this the story of the week.

But is this the biggest PR own goal that Channel 4 have scored?

The issue of the Big Brother and accusations of racism has been raised in Parliament by Keith Vaz MP and the Indian government is awaiting a report and will bring up the matter with the British government. Gordon Brown also had to defend Britain's reputation for "fairness and tolerance."

It has also made the lead story in the Indian papers although the programme is not shown in India and the reaction is understandably angry in some quarters, resigned to the fact that the world has bigots in other quarters and occasionally nonchalant in a few places.

Does Channel 4 care about this? Probably not. What coverage! better than they could have hoped for.

But Ofcom has registered a phenomenal 19,300 complaints. Hertfordshire Police has forwarded 40 complaints to the Channel 4. There must be many more people that have not complained that feel strongly about the issue. And what about the Indian community?

Has this damaged Channel 4? They have been accused of not acting on racist behaviour on the programme. After watching Big Brother there is a bad taste that remains. And it might stay for quite some time if the issue is not resolved.

And as the campaign for action gathers pace the attention and anger might turn form the bullies who cannot be contacted to Channel 4 for not tackling the issue to the satisfaction of the public.

Any PR crisis should not be tackled by ignoring it and hoping it goes away a la Ken Livingstone.

Time will tell if it is a PR goal or own goal. I think Channel 4 are playing a dangerous game and unless they do not tackle the issue and interact with the audience and public it could be out of their control very quickly; this might only be the start of their problems.


Anonymous Craig said...

I don't think it will impact too badly on C4, as you say they are most probably enjoy their biggest PR coup.

The people who will be damaged are Jade Goody et al. Would you want to have your company name associated with such viscous and nasty people?

3:04 PM

Blogger Simon said...

It's all Wilde isn't it. "The only thing worse than being talked about is...". I've not seen any of it so I'm not in a fit position to comment, but there was a snippet from Derek Lord (Black, gay, tory ex BB housemate) who said "I don't think it really is racism. It's more like Beauty and the Three Beasts"

4:50 AM


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