IF an opening monologue was good enough for the boss it was good enough for Neil Oliver. It is fair to say, however, that the long-haired archaeologist and author went his own way when he began the first of his live shows on Saturday night.

Last Sunday, Andrew Neil, GB News chairman and chief presenter, opted for the formal: “Good evening. I’m Andrew Neil and this is GB News.”

Oliver’s first words, in contrast, were: “Hello, it’s me!”

He carried on in the same way, expressing amazement at finding himself live on television and apologising to viewers for any technical hitches, saying: “I can absolutely guarantee that I will make mistakes. I will stumble, possibly literally. Forgive me, I ask that in advance.”

The Scots presenter of Coast then introduced a running order that stretched from the “lockdown hypocrisy” of politicians, to the Scotland-England game via an interview with Shaun Ryder of the Happy Mondays.

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Complete with gremlins (there was trouble connecting with the Mondays’ front man and Oliver’s summary of the weather could not be heard initially), the show was representative of the channel’s first week. Quite the seven days it has been, too.

First came the reviews of the opening night, many of which focussed on the poor quality sound, the gloomy set, and the anti-lockdown monologue of Dan Wootton, whose show prompted 373 complaints to the broadcast regulator, Ofcom.

Next was an advertiser boycott led by the campaign group Stop Funding Hate, with brands including Grolsch and Pinterest pulling ads.

By the time pranksters began phoning in under false names it seemed the verdict was in on GB News, and it was not favourable. Yet there is another side to the GB News story, one that suggests those hoping for an early exit could be disappointed.

Take the advertiser boycott. True, some companies did withdraw but other big names, including Kellogg’s, Virgin Media and Ladbrokes, are still there. Moneysupermarket and Ikea were among firms that rowed back on their decisions, with the Swedish retailer saying that it was “simply too soon” to make an informed judgment.

As with the rest of the media, advertisers are closely monitoring the channel’s numbers. Launch night attracted 336,000 viewers, compared to 100,000 watching the BBC News channel and 46,000 tuning in to Sky News. Broadcast magazine’s dig into the figures showed the majority of the new channel’s viewers were male (57%), aged 65 and over (52%) and relatively affluent (82% ABC1). GB News own numbers gave it a 1.1% audience share on opening night, compared to 0.9% for BBC News and 0.4% for Sky. GB News is a very long way from rivalling the main channels’ audiences – BBC News at Ten last Sunday, for example, had an audience share of 30.6% – but it is going in the right direction.

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As for the technical snags, one observer thinks they could even work in GB News’s favour. Janine Gibson, assistant editor of the Financial Times, said: “Like a 1980s Eurovision Song Contest hosted clunkily from Cyprus, the slightly shambolic nature of the events is part of the allure.”

Adding to the impression that GB News is not heading for the exit as fast as its critics would like is the number of friends in high government places it seems to have. Andrew Neil did not have a big name interview on launch day, unlike Times Radio which had Boris Johnson, but in its first week there were sit-downs with the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, and Liz Truss, International Trade Secretary.

Yesterday Oliver Dowden weighed in to the debate. It is a busy week ahead for the UK Culture Secretary, with his broadcasting white paper set to be published. The Mail on Sunday reported that he wants to make Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming services answerable to Ofcom. A decision is also due on selling off Channel 4.

Mr Dowden still found time to write a piece for the Sunday Telegraph defending the new channel’s right to be heard, and criticising the advertising boycott. “A free media is one that has a diverse range of opinions and voices,” he said.

So where stands GB News after a tempestuous launch week? Where it did before, an outsider with a fraction of the staff and money its rivals can call on. But an outsider that, for now, is attracting attention. While GB News was never going to rival the main channels for viewers, the more mentions it receives on social media and in the mainstream media the more advertisers will take notice

Its main weakness, glitches aside, is its content and contributors. Ironically for a channel meant to be giving house room to new voices, the faces are only too familiar –Nigel Farage, Rod Liddle, Allison Pearson among them. There are not enough big subjects to sustain so much debate so the content quickly becomes stale and repetitive.

In GB News’ favour is the Johnson administration adopting it as part of the “anti-woke” team. Yet that brings its own dangers for a channel that has made so much of being free and frank. Being seen as a government mouthpiece would certainly be anathema to Andrew Neil.

As ever, it is the viewers who will determine whether GB News survives or is a distant memory come this time next year. With the media, as with so much else, the market decides.