What future for BBC Scotland?

BBC Scotland headquarters

Scotland's media landscape is being bulldozed - transformed by digital technology, burgeoning choice, and quite a bit of politics - particularly as the future of the BBC is now in play.

The politics is also apparent in the newspaper sales figures for the first half of the year. Out this week, they show the average decline at more than 10% since the first half of last year, continuing the industry's painful downward trajectory.

Scotland on Sunday saw print sales fall more than 20%. It now has an average weekly sale of less than 25,000. It doesn't have its own staff any more, relying on a journalism pool shared with its stablemate, The Scotsman.

"SoS" is now being beaten by the only weekly "regional" paper to register a rise in print sales, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation. The Sunday Herald looked to be on its last legs, but found a niche by backing the independence cause.

Approving "Yes" campaigners backed it, with a big lift in the back half of last year, from which it's fallen back, but still retained an average 29,000 weekly sales.

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Crude awakening

gas flare

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil fell nearly 4% on Wednesday, to $47. It's taking a mighty toll on companies in the sector.

Yet even if the price were to double, we learned today that it would continue to fall a long way short of filling the yawning deficit in Scotland's public finances.

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Michelle Mone: tsar quality?

She's from Glasgow poverty, and pulled herself up by her bra-straps. She's glamorous. She exudes success.

And she's the person the Department for Work and Pensions has invited to carry out a review of the support for people from less advantaged areas to start up their own businesses.

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The jobs recovery takes shape

New job figures from the Office for National Statistics show a mixed picture, of UK unemployment rising in April to June, Scottish unemployment falling more than anywhere else, yet Scottish employment also falling.

The past year has seen strong jobs growth across Britain, but the picture looks like a slow-down in job market recovery if you compare the latest figures with the first quarter of last year.

Read full article The jobs recovery takes shape

The social media animal

selfie in garden
Image caption One in 10 British adults said they took at least one selfie a week

Expect change. So don't be surprised to learn this week that the two bits of the UK car market to have grown fastest in the past 10 years have been super-minis, up 22% and sports utility, up 88%.

McDonald's is introducing table service. Brent crude is trading below $50 a barrel again. One in 10 people who were retired before the financial crash had returned to work after it.

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RBS: Firesale of the century?

People walking past RBS branch

If you think Royal Bank of Scotland hasn't come far in the seven years since its crash, you'd have a point.

It's still not clear that it's ready for a sell-off of the UK government stake, but that's what it's getting anyway.

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Scotch loses its flavour

Douglas Fraser takes a close look at the economics of whisky
Image caption Douglas Fraser takes a close look at the economics of whisky

We have known for a while that Scotch whisky's stunning growth through the downturn years had slowed up. With Diageo's full-year results, we know better why that is.

Emerging markets have stalled, tastes are changing, the industry giant has stalled, and it's responding by turning its marketing attention to rival spirits.

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Who owns a company, part 2?

Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane
Image caption Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane's speech is an "insightful read"

We've seen many established pillars of society shaken and rattled in recent years. Now, it seems to be the turn of the public limited company.

My most recent posting was about the questioning of the dominance of shareholders, and the short-term demands for results, data, dividends and share buy-backs that they impose on company bosses.

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Shareholders or fair shares


This will be a busy week if you're in the shareholding business - not only if you're caught in the Shanghai rout, but also if you watch some of the big players in corporate Scotland.

Whisky giant Diageo is on the regulatory rocks with an inquiry into its market information, being carried out by the Securities and Exchange Commission, while key growth markets have stopped growing.

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Competing on the same tracks

virgin train

I'm on a train, in case you're wondering. It departed Glasgow Central platform 2 at 13.40, bound for London Euston.

At platform 1, another train was preparing to depart 20 minutes later. It's also run by Virgin trains, identical in every way - as you might expect.

Read full article Competing on the same tracks