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BBC’s Tony Hall: FAANG needs regulation

BBC director general Tony Hall is calling for the taxation and regulation of “global giants” in order to equal the playing field for traditional broadcasters.

The exec, who will speak at the RTS Conference in London on Tuesday (18 September), will note that “Britain needs to do more to support the broader PSB ecology.”

“It cannot be right that the UK’s media industry is competing against global giants with one hand tied behind its back,” he will say.

“In so many ways – prominence, competition rules, advertising, taxation, content regulation, terms of trade, production quotas – one set of rules applies to UK companies, and barely any apply to the new giants. That needs rebalancing. We stand ready to help, where we can.”

Hall has been particularly vocal about the threat of cash-flush FAANG players, who are increasingly powerful in the UK, and particularly among younger demos – a sea change that he has coined ‘The Big Shift.’

For the first time, Hall will unveil a five-part plan that is intended to make the corporation more competitive with the likes of Netflix and Amazon.

The BBC is to (1) boost its spend on premium content, (2) reinvent online services such as iPlayer and fledgling platform BBC Sounds, (3) increase investment in children and young adult content, (4) build on BBC News to fight “disinformation and fake news”, and (5) invest in resources and programming outside of London.

Hall is to note that the BBC will spend “more money around England and the Nations” and more staff will be located outside London.

Last week, the corporation revealed that it has put the BBC Earth and BBC Arts sections of its website on the chopping block and plans to run fewer features and less celebrity gossip, in order to strengthen online services and focus on iPlayer.