With Parliament dissolving there has been a rush of reports and publications and one such report is the House of Lords Communications Committee report into Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) at a time of immense technological change.
techUK had the honour to give evidence to the inquiry and the report has some interesting takeaways and conclusions about the state of TV and streaming industries. There are conclusions on how PSBs can retain their role in British national life, as well as conclusions on prominence, future regulation, financial viability and how to ensure the UK creative sector remains competitive without overheating.
techUK recognises how important PSBs are and want them to succeed. They bring us together like no other form of media and make cutting edge content. However, calls to extend their protected prominence into online environments is wrong as it will simply restrict consumer choice. Consumers want different things from TV and SVODs, so if PSBs want to regain audience share they should innovate, show content in the best quality (currently 4K, but 8K is coming online) and make more appealing content.
So this report is timely as Ofcom gears up to review the state of PSBs, and some particuarly interesting conclusions/recommendations are:
- The Government and Ofcom must ensure the continued provision of free spectrum for PSB output through terrestrial TV.
- The Lords support Ofcom’s recommendation that prominence should extend into online environments, backed up with legislation. They should also not be forced to disaggregate content if they feel the lack of PSB branding is a barrier.
- PSB content hubs should be given prominence on platforms provided PSBs ensure that public value content gets prominence within their hubs
- PSBs should have to keep offering their content across all TV platforms, but the Lords are concerned that commercial PSBs are losing out on advertising revenue, so Ofcom review the ‘must offer, must carry’ rules as TV moves online.
- Ofcom should consider how PSB like content from non-PSBs contribute to public service objectives.
- SVOD services can take extra creative risks as their business models are based on building up catalogues.
- Ofcom should ensure BBC regulation is fast paced while protecting the rights of other broadcasters. In return, the BBC should be upfront and open with Ofcom about any proposed changes.
- DCMS should implement provisions of the Audio-visual Media Services Directive on advertising to ensure a level playing field and make video-sharing platforms responsible for the advertising that they display.
This is another report that adds to the evidence base around the future of broadcast and worth reading in full as there are some interesting stats and figures about the industry.
To learn more about what techUK is doing on broadcast and media policy get in touch using the details below.