Re-launching the World’s Beacon

Jon Sopel presents “Global”

After years in the making, the new home of BBC World News at New Broadcasting House was unveiled to viewers this week. The modern space at NBH features bolder sets, bigger studios, and new graphics/music to accompany some of the old and newer programming. The channel was lucky to snag veteran BBC presenter Jon Sopel. In his new show “Global,” you quickly recognize that Sopel stands for what the channel wants to be in its latest relaunch. Dynamic. Authoritative. Energetic. Did I say energetic? These are important and needed changes as the Beeb attempts to conquer America. We Yanks like a bit of flashiness and these monumental changes should not go unnoticed by the most discerning viewer. But if you miss watching Sopel, the “beacon” or “pips” of the BBC may grab your attention.

The theme music of BBC World News has been of particular interest to viewers. Over a decade ago, David Lowe, a composer based in Malvern, England, was commisioned to create a new sound for the corporation’s tv news output. His brief was to completely change the sound of news music. What Lowe produced in Malvern, the home of Sir Edward Elgar, was pure magic and attracted the attention of a worldwide audience. In 2013, his new work feels elegant and yet refreshingly modern.

At the core, viewers are looking for non-partisan and global reporting from the BBC at a time when most American outlets have shifted to a more commercial and ratings friendly business model. The question is whether the Beeb’s new look will attract more Americans to tune in. Probably. But if the corporation now feels that the cliquish American media should pay BBC World News – or any other international news channel trying to break this notoriously difficult market – more attention, then a brigade of PR gurus will be needed for battle. You see, no victory comes without a price.

You can watch ” Global with Jon Sopel” at 10 am EST / 7 am PST on the BBC World News channel.


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