Viacom

Public Service Broadcasting: Facing Failure or the Future? | RTS Cambridge Convention 2021

How radical do we have to be to protect public service broadcasting? Ex BBC and New York Times boss Mark Thompson argues that PSB will die in the UK unless huge change happens. He debates his solutions with a distinguished panel. 

Chair

Kirsty Wark, Journalist and Writer

Introduction

Mark Thompson, CEO, Ancestry.com

Speakers

Maria Kyriacou, President, ViacomCBS Networks UK, Australia and Israel

Alex Mahon, CEO, Channel 4

Fraser Nelson, Editor, The Spectator

Key industry figures discuss what the future holds for linear TV in a world of streaming

Wayne Garvie, Reemah Sakaan and David Lynn (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

Will the future of streaming be defined by SVoD (subscription video-­on-demand) or free, advertising-funded video-on-demand – or can they both prosper? Those were the big questions ad­dres­sed by BritBox launch director Reemah Sakaan and Viacom International Media Networks chief David Lynn.

Speaking on the day that the “best of British” SVoD announced a deal with Channel 5, Sakaan was asked by session chair Wayne Garvie how she was going to “persuade my mum and dad to spend £5.99 a month on BritBox”?

Will 5G change TV?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (Credit: Warner Bros)

Chicago and Minneapolis may not seem like the homes of cutting­edge technology but, on 3 April, they became the world’s first two cities with commercial 5G mobile services serving 5G-enabled smartphones.

The service was launched by US carrier Verizon, keen to beat several Korean rivals to the bragging rights for commercialising 5G first, if only by a few hours.

Viacom chief Bob Bakish discusses future streaming possibilities

Viacom chief Bob Bakish (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumain)

It was Viacom founder Sumner Redstone who coined the phrase “content is king”. The company’s President and CEO, Bob Bakish, is also associated with a term that defines a media era: he dubbed the streamers, such as Amazon and Netflix, “frenemies”. He used the description recently to explain the fact that, although big producers and channel owners fear the streamers for eroding viewing figures, they can also make money by supplying the tech giants with shows.

The reinvention of Channel 5

Cruising with Jane McDonald (Credit: Channel 5)

British public service broadcasters proved relatively resilient in 2017, despite strong competition from SVoD and other digital distractions.

The best performer was the smallest of the PSBs, Channel 5. The channel’s audience share rose by 2.2% – comfortably ahead of ITV, up 1.2%, and Channel 4, down 0.2%. The audience for Channel 5’s portfolio of channels grew by 5%, led by 5Spike, which jumped by an extraordinary 27%.

Watch highlights from the RTS Cambridge Convention 2017

James Murdoch in conversation with Sarah Sands (Credit: RTS/Paul Hampartsoumian)

The three-day Convention featured keynotes from James Murdoch, Ofcom chief Sharon White and the Secretary of State Karen Bradley MP, as well as some lively panel discussions.

Watch highlights from the event below, or scroll down to watch the sessions in full. You can read more about this year's RTS Cambridge in the October issue of Television magazine.