Ofcom

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.

Ofcom's Sharon White reflects on the challenges facing the TV industry at her final RTS Cambridge

Sharon White speaking at the RTS Cambridge Convention 2019 (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

In her third and final appearance at an RTS Cambridge Convention, the outgoing CEO of Ofcom, Sharon White, gave a candid insight into what she described as the regulator’s tense relationship with the BBC, and reflected on why the TV industry had failed to improve its record on diversity.

Rupert Murdoch's secret battle with Downing Street

Simon McBurney as Rupert Murdoch in The Loudest Voice (Credit: Sky)

During these past 12 months Rupert Murdoch has been only half the man in the UK he used to be. But that’s only by one measure – Ofcom’s “share of references”, which calculates which news sources are consumed across different media. It was a year ago, in September 2018, that the then 87-year-old’s long association with Sky came to an end.