UKCCD has made a submission to OFCOM’s Report on the Future of public service broadcasting, Small Screen: Big Debate, underlining the societal, economic and cultural importance of public service broadcasting.
UKCCD believes that monies for public service broadcasting should not be spread more thinly and that investment in public service broadcasting should increase not diminish. This is particularly important in the area of fake news and disinformation when increasing numbers of the public rely on the BBC and other public service broadcasters for their news and information.
We believe that increasing the number of players in the PSM scenario will inevitably further fragment the market but it should not dilute the scope and depth of those institutions with a track record and experience in providing PSB.
Again, in the interests of more diverse local drama, film and documentary, all relevant cable and satellite channels’ screen time should contain at least 51% of local programming. Platforms should also reimburse public service broadcasters appropriately for carrying their channels without which people would be less likely to subscribe to them.
Similarly, to increase local investment and cultural diversity, it is important to bring online streaming platforms into the scope of meaningful regulation, and like many other countries, legislate so that their catalogues carry 30% of local film, drama and documentary. Also, this local programming should be given due prominence on their platforms. This is essential to ensure that people have good access to their own stories from their own communities and to not be overwhelmed by programmes from outside of the UK. Transparency in algorithms is also critical in an age when viewers are invariably directed by streaming platforms to programmes similar to what they have already watched thus diminishing rather than opening up what might be seen.
Streaming platforms are in direct competition with existing PSB services and have been given privileged access to our audiovisual market with little or no regulation up until now. As with other countries, it would be important to ask them to contribute a small percentage of their annual turnover to our national film funds at the BFI.
To read the submission in full, please click here.