Right-wing broadcaster GB News made an operating loss of £3 million before its launch last year, it has emerged.
According to Byline Times, the company that owns the news channel – All Perspectives Limited – logged £3.4 million in operating losses between September 2019 and May 2021.
New records logged at Companies House reveal that £2.8 million of these losses were incurred from September 2020 to May 2021. GB News Limited, a subsidiary of All Perspectives Limited, recorded an operating loss of £3 million during the latter period.
The records also show that the broadcaster had a staff bill of £918,504 for an average of 16 staff members during the period to May 2021.
‘Worst months of my life’
Former BBC mainstay Andrew Neil helped set up the channel before jumping ship last year. During his opening monologue on GB News, he claimed the channel would “puncture the pomposity of our elites in politics, business, media and academia and expose their growing promotion of cancel culture for the threat to free speech and democracy that it is”.
But he quit last year – describing his tenure at the channel as “the worst eight months of my life” and saying the stress drove him to despair.
Although it claims to represent ordinary Brits, GB News has received around £60 million in start-up funding from a number of overseas interest – including Discovery (US) and Legatum (Dubai).
Despite having been the face of GB News before it went on air in June, Neil presented just eight programmes over the course of three months amid a litany of technical issues, the loss of senior staff and differences of opinion over the channel’s political direction.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, the former BBC presenter revealed he walked away from a £4 million contract, saying: “It was a big decision but I frankly couldn’t care if it was £40m. This would have killed me if I’d carried on.”
‘I was in despair’
Neil said he suffered stress and sleep deprivation in the channel’s problem-plagued early days. He told the Mail: “It just went from bad to worse. There was one day we spent the whole day preparing the programme and fixing up a number of interviews down the line [remotely], because that was the business model.
“At one minute to eight [his flagship show was broadcast live at 8pm], I sat down, earpiece in, microphone on, only to be told by the director we had no external communications, so I had no guests.
“I was in despair. Unlike other shows, where there are two anchors, so they can talk rubbish to each other, I was on my own.”
He said the “stress was just huge” – and he already felt like leaving after the first week.
“It was really beginning to affect my health. I wasn’t sleeping … I had a constant knot in my stomach. When I did wake up, I’d feel fine, then remember all the problems I had with GB News, and this knot would come and wouldn’t leave me for the whole day.”