UK TV station and streaming channel GB News has faced a year-long ad boycott since its launch a year ago. The boycott even began before the station officially launched. Its CEO Angelos Frangopoulos said that the boycott is a threat to free speech.
“Commercially, this is a very serious matter. This does cause damage to the GB News business model, there is no two ways about it,” he said. “And that is something that the advertising industry itself needs to acknowledge.”
The former Sky News Australia chief executive noted that advertisers were boycotting the channel despite it following the rules by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.
“Being part of a regulated environment should give an advertiser and a brand confidence that a broadcaster is meeting the legal requirements around impartiality,” he added, in an interview with The Telegraph.
“To then ignore that and apply what could be perceived to be some kind of commercial pressure to change that content, I think is quite dangerous for public debate and freedom of speech.”
The boycott campaign was launched by Stop Funding Hate, a campaign group that has previously targeted newspapers for promoting conservative views and launched the campaign against GB News before the channel was even launched.
Frangopoulos said that he was talking to brands and agencies who are still participating in the boycott.
“Quite frankly, it’s all perception and not reality,” he explained. “The battle GB News had before launch was a perception that was set by a hashtag on Twitter. Who do you trust: a hashtag on Twitter, or Ofcom?”