UK PSBs press Ofcom to ensure prominence on new platforms | VOD | News | Rapid TV News
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An open letter from BBC Director-General Tim Davie, ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall, Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon and ViacomCBS UK President Maria Kyriacou is calling on new viewing platforms to ensure that their public service channels remain as easy to find as on traditional TV.
BBCannualplan 25Oct2019
The head of the public service broadcasters (PSBs) began their call by noting that the UK’s creative generate more than £110 billion a year for the economy and that it was a sector that will be central to economic recovery in the years ahead. They added that one of the secrets to this growth combined investment in original, homegrown content by UK PSBs was more than £2.5 billion.

However the PSBs expressed concern in the way that media is consumed and in particular the how the global tech giants that own the new platforms have increasing influence over what viewers see. They added that the companies who make smart TVs, streaming sticks and set-top boxes also control what’s on them, what gets recommended to viewers and what search results are offered. This says the PSBs makes it easy for them to “ensure that their own shows remain front and centre” at the expense of the public broadcasters.

Moreover, they expressed concern that because of the continued huge uptake of streaming services, with more than half of UK households now subscribing to video-on-demand services, more and more content is falling outside the scope of established prominence rules placing PSB services at the top of the electronic programming guide and making PSB content harder to find.

In a call to action, the PSBs called on UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom to enact its recommended updates to prominence legislation without further delay. They say finding time for prominence regulation in parliament will be a net positive for the UK’s broadcasting sector, and the economy as a result. The PSBs also called on Ofcom to recommend further legislation that will ensure their channels and players are included - or carried - on all major content distribution platforms, and that they get fair value from their content on those platforms.

The PSBs stressed that it was fundamental to public service broadcasting that it should be available to everyone, however they choose to consume TV content in the digital age.