Eleventh-hour deal for BBC coronation footage agreed, says news industry body

An industry body representing news publishers has said an “eleventh-hour” agreement was reached with major broadcasters meaning video footage of the coronation can be shared with their online audiences following what they described as a “BBC blackout”.

On Friday, British publishers and broadcasters including GB News and TalkTV said they were “deeply concerned” by the corporation allegedly “restricting” access to the pool footage for the historic event on Saturday.

The companies, along with industry body News Media Association and local news video service Local TV, argued that the BBC was “denying UK citizens the opportunity to enjoy this event of major public interest and national importance on the platform of their choice”.

BBC plans
(Nicholas T Ansell/PA)

A News Media Association spokesperson said on Saturday: “At the eleventh hour an agreement has been reached between NMA and the pool, enabling news publishers to share footage of the coronation with their online audiences.

“We are pleased to have been able to agree terms with the broadcasters to help ensure this historic event is seen by as many people as possible.”

A joint statement from the BBC, Sky and ITN shared with the PA news agency said: “UK broadcasters are investing heavily in the coverage of this complex and historic event and we are pleased that the NMA, TalkTV and GB News have all agreed to make a financial contribution.”

Opposing the so-called “BBC blackout”, a joint statement issued on Friday, said: “Given the historic significance of the occasion, all efforts should have been made by the BBC to ensure that the footage – which is created using licence fee payer money – is distributed as widely as possible to allow UK citizens to witness this event, and the BBC has not fulfilled this obligation.

“The decision to charge UK media companies an excessive commercial fee (with no visibility of true costs) seems perverse when the BBC is allowing foreign publishers and broadcasters the same footage for free.

“These foreign broadcasters and publishers will be allowed to stream or broadcast footage in the UK despite restrictions on UK media.

“The BBC (together with Sky and ITN) has repeatedly delayed and prevaricated on this issue since the death of Queen Elizabeth in September last year in an anti-competitive manner.”

Piers Morgan, who presents a TalkTV show, tweeted on Saturday morning: “The BBC has caved and @TalkTV will now be airing the Coronation in full… tune in from now for live coverage of this historic event in British history.”