I feel very fortunate to have been in this wonderful role for three months. For the media, and for the television industry in particular, trust is a vital commodity. It may not capture the imagination in quite the same way as a new drama, be as immediately celebrated as an overnight Barb rating, or even be treasured quite as much as new revenue. But all broadcasters need trust to succeed.
One of the most significant changes of Theresa May’s January Cabinet reshuffle was the elevation of Matt Hancock to Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. He became the second – and most obviously technologically literate minister – to lead the department under the Prime Minister’s reign.
The former minster for new technology within the DCMS – a post he had held for the previous 18 months – is already well known to many within television and related sectors.
It really is an honour to address the RTS Conference. This is one of the top fixtures in a Culture Secretary’s diary - and I would have been very disappointed to miss out.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have the best job in government.
How could it be otherwise, when I get to engage with such a rich variety of sectors?
They are a huge and growing part of our economy; they are energetic and exciting; they are educational and enjoyable; they are major sources of jobs; and they export on a massive scale and showcase the UK to the rest of the world.
Throughout its history, TV has been one of the UK’s greatest success stories. In recent years, it has grown at twice the rate of the rest of our economy and annually generates over £13bn in revenue. Of that, the growing independent production sector now contributes £3bn a year.
More than just the economic statistics, your work really matters. You are one of the UK’s best shop windows, introducing the world to our culture and telling them who we are as a nation.
It is a pleasure to speak at this Royal Television Society conference - and to take up the post as Minister responsible for our most vital, cherished and thriving sector.
Thursday was an important day for diversity in the media as the government announced a White Paper which enshrined diversity in the BBC charter– but what it really means in reality will all be in the small print.
The Royal Television Society is a charitable organization whose remit is to encourage and celebrate the understanding of television and its related fields. As Chair of the Diversity Committee here is my guide as to what people should be looking out for in the coming months:
John Whittingdale is a conundrum. A politician who can seem old beyond his 55 years, he has been in Parliament since 1992, nine years longer than David Cameron. And, although only a few years older than his boss, Whittingdale’s style and political heritage are soundly late-Thatcher era, with a voting record that is pro-fox hunting and anti-gay marriage.
Yet, the freshly minted Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport also confounds stereotypes of the shire fogey with a mild interest in Gilbert and Sullivan.