Claire Enders offered a robust defence of public service broadcasting in delivering the RTS Scotland Campbell Swinton Lecture to a sold-out lecture room at BBC Scotland in November.
The founder and owner of media researcher firm Enders Analysis backed the Scottish Government’s media policy. “Here, the administration believes that public service broadcasting is a fundamental good for all and believes in the core market interventions – the BBC, Channel 4 – that have been developed over almost a century,” she said.
Enders gave a detailed and thought-provoking analysis of how public service broadcasting is key to the UK’s cultural wellbeing.
She argued that the BBC and C4 have contributed “overwhelmingly to the 30-year British creative success story that is the audiovisual sector and, even more so, in the Nations”.
Enders added: “Together, they were responsible for over 60% of all commissioning of independents and they have an entirely different and fairer system of commissioning, especially of smaller producers.”
She went on to criticise the UK Government’s approach to public service broadcasting, offering a gloomy prognosis. “It is a strange moment, just now. We still stand on secure ground whilst contemplating fairly catastrophic scenarios for the future of public service broadcasting.”
The lecture was followed by a question and answer session chaired by STV Director of Channels Bobby Hain. Enders’ insight was welcomed by one member of the audience who said: “It was very refreshing to hear someone say what everyone is thinking but is never spoken about.”
"I think public service broadcasting is seriously under threat,” said Philip Schlesinger, Professor in Cultural Policy at The University of Glasgow. “There has been every sign that there is a commitment on the part of the [UK] Government to diminish the scope and scale of the system, irrespective of the evidence.”
Enders’ lecture can be read in full here
Photography by Chloe MacLeod