Ofcom

PSB at the crossroads

Public service broadcasters have a “fleetingly short space of time” to find a better financing model – and without guaranteed prominence on smart TVs, “PSB is dead, it is over”. These were just two of the stark warnings aired at an RTS panel discussion “Small beer or big deal: Should we still care about PSB?”. 

Is Ofcom fit for purpose?

I can confirm that, growing up as a kid in south-east London, I never once dreamt about becoming a regulator. You know – running organisations that begin with the letters “Of...”. To be honest, I’m not sure that I know anyone who did.

And I’ve certainly not met anyone who had photos of great regulators – if there are any – on their bedroom walls. Me: I just wanted to play for Spurs and open the batting for India. Before you complain, it is possible to feel Indian and British, even English, all at the same time, especially if you weren’t born here.

Small Beer or Big Deal: Should we still care about PSB?

With Ofcom’s ‘Small Screen: Big Debate’ consultation on the future of public service broadcasting (PSB) having just closed, and the DCMS Select Committee having just published its report on the future of PSB, an expert panel takes a look at what kind of PSB system we want over the next decade.

Speakers:

Jennifer Anafi-Acquah, Assistant Producer

Emily Bell, Founding Director and Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism, Tow Center for Digital Journalism

David Mortimer, Managing Director, STV Studios

Ofcom's new duty of care guidelines to protect TV talent

Love Island (Credit: ITV)

For decades, putting members of the public on screen was a win-win situation. From Blind Date to The Generation Game, from Survivor to Big Brother, there was always new fodder for the tabloids, huge audiences for advertisers – including that vital but hard to reach 16-24 demographic – and, for ordinary folk, the chance for a few dazzling moments to make their lives extraordinary. 

In defence of PSB truth and impartiality

Royal Wedding (credit: BBC)

On the eve of the publication of Ofcom’s much-­anticipated review of public service broadcasting (PSB), big names from the BBC and Channel 4, past and present, discussed whether British broadcasting was in crisis. 

Ofcom warned that PSB is unlikely to survive in the online world without an overhaul of broadcasting regulation. It said that the public service broadcas­ters – the BBC, ITV, STV, Channel 4, S4C and Channel 5 – could also fulfil their obligations online, and that the public service remit could be extended to the big streamers. 

Diversity: Ofcom prioritises actions over words

The thought, back in January, that 2020 was going to be a challenging year now feels like the understatement of the century. Shortly after the pandemic took hold in the UK, we slammed into lockdown and everyday life as we knew it was upended.

Covid-19 dominated every headline. Viewers tuned into the news in record numbers as reports of its merciless spread and millions of victims shook us to the core. But then came the horrific story of another victim who was also shown no mercy. The deplorable killing of George Floyd, in May, sent shockwaves through our society.

Ofcom: In the eye of the storm

This was always going to be a big year for Ofcom. Its to-do list for 2020 includes: overhauling the telecoms market and upgrading the UK’s broadband network; a major review of public service broadcasting and its future in the face of changing technology and audience habits and huge global competition; tackling both “online harm” and industry diversity issues; updating EU “audio-visual services” rules post Brexit; and, as the BBC’s regulator, trying to sharpen the corporation’s performance and decision-making.

What more can the industry do to improve social mobility?

Lorraine Kelly (Credit: RTS/ Richard Kendal)

Veteran presenter ­Lorraine Kelly led a storming session on the challenge of social mobility in the TV industry, telling the Cambridge audience it was “a miracle I’m standing here talking to you”.

Thirty-five years after the Scottish presenter first appeared on our screens, she remembered: “My TV career was almost over before it began. Being working class when I started out meant a lot of doors in telly were firmly closed to me.”

Is trust still a fundamental duty for PSBs?

From left: Ben McOwen Wilson, Vikki Cook, Deborah Turness, Aasmah Mir, Martin Lewis and Ed Williams (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

Trust isn’t scientific, it’s instinctive, it comes from the gut, not from the brain,” Martin Lewis told the Cambridge audience, and he should know. The founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, consumer business warrior and the man who sued Facebook and won is also the most trusted man in Britain, according to Google.