Netflix

Mark Thompson discusses the risks facing the UK media landscape at the Steve Hewlett Lecture

Mark Thompson (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

The UK is facing “a total loss of cultural sovereignty”, which risks leaving the country culturally impoverished unless action is taken to stop US giants such as Netflix from dominating the media landscape.

This was the frank message from Mark Thompson, the former Director-General of the BBC who, for seven years since 2012, has been engaged in a wholesale transformation of The New York Times from a print company into a digital-based global news operation with 5 million subscribers.

RTS London reflect on this year's RTS Cambridge Convention

Reed Hastings and Kirsty Wark (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

The late-September event was hosted by the University of Westminster, and chaired by media producer and consultant Aradhna Tayal. It featured Bloomberg media reporter Joe Mayes, London Centre Chair Phil Barnes and James Cordell, a London committee member and first-time attendee at the convention.

The panel noted that one of the key themes throughout was the rise of streaming and whether the already established subscription video on demand (SVoD) companies – with more set to enter the market – will dominate the UK broadcast industry.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on competing with Disney and Apple

Reed Hastings (Credit: RTS/ Richard Kendal)

At this year’s Steve Hewlett Memorial Lecture, former BBC Director-General Mark Thompson recounted a conversation he had had with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in 2007, during discussions concerning the launch of the iPlayer. According to Thompson, Hastings told him: “I don’t know why you’re bothering, Mark, you’ll never beat my algorithm. Why not just give us all your content instead?”

Tony Hall stresses the importance of the BBC in an age of uncertainty

Tony Hall (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

Earlier, the RTS convention had been told that, as a brand, Netflix today enjoyed the same high levels of public trust as the BBC. As for the TikTok-using, mobile-addicted members of Generation Z, the BBC looked to be completely under the radar.

Now it was the time for Tony Hall, the BBC’s Director-General, to respond. He did so in a wide-ranging, troop-­rallying speech, and argued that, in today’s age of uncertainty, characterised by propaganda and disinformation, the BBC and public service broadcasting were more important than ever.

Jeremy Darroch on Sky's global potential after joining Comcast

Jeremy Darroch (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

What a difference two years makes. In 2017, Sky was one of the crown jewels of the vast Murdoch media empire, beloved by investors and publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange. Spool forward to 2019 and Sky is part of Comcast, the US cable conglomerate, which successfully outbid Disney to buy Europe’s biggest pay-TV provider for a staggering $39bn.

The End of the F***ing World announces release date for series two

Jessica Barden (Credit: Channel 4)

The eight-part series will air two episodes in a double bill every night starting on Monday 4th November, with the entire series available to stream on All 4 following premiere's double bill.

Jessica Barden reprises her role as mouthy and brazen runaway Alyssa, but the fate of James (Alex Lawther) is yet to be determined.

New images show Alyssa dressed as a bride outside a remote woodland café and in a diner uniform in the forest.

Netflix renews Stranger Things for fourth series

The 80s inspired sci-fi show, created by the Duffer Brothers, follows the residents of Hawkins, Indiana, as they struggle to uncover truth behind a series of supernatural happenings occurring within their previously quiet town.

The new series tagline, ‘We’re not in Hawkins anymore’, suggests that Stranger Things will explore The Upside Down in a new location.

Mark Thompson warns government policies endanger the BBC at the Steve Hewlett Memorial Lecture

Mark Thompson, President and CEO of The New York Times Company (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

Giving the third Steve Hewlett Memorial Lecture at London’s Westminster University, he accused policy makers of largely concentrating “on tightening the funding pressure and other constraints on the BBC further” including “the disastrous withdrawal of funding free licence fees for the over 75’s” agreed in the 2016 Charter now coming into full effect.