On Thursday, Ofcom announced a raft of measures to ensure “that PSBs continue to deliver high-quality content for UK viewers and listeners”. These included improving the prominence of PSB content on major viewing platforms, a renewed focus on youth-oriented content, and the launch of a nationwide forum called Small Screen: Big Debate.
UK broadcasters have faced sustained competition over recent years following the entry of global streamers such as Netflix and Amazon into the market, with channel bosses such as ITV’s Carolyn McCall (pictured) increasingly concerned that their content will not be seen as viewers stop using the electronic programming guide (EPG).
In a joint statement, the UK’s public service broadcasters – the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, S4C and STV – said they welcomed Ofcom’s recommendations, which would give UK public service content prominence in the era of on-demand and internet TV viewing.
“These recommendations would ensure viewers can easily find public service broadcasting content across a range of devices including smart TVs, set-top boxes and streaming sticks, and bring the rules up to date for the digital age.
“Rapid changes in technology and how we watch TV mean the flexible framework recommended – so the new rules can quickly be adapted to changes in technology and viewer behaviour – is also warmly welcomed.
“The proposals will require primary legislation so over the summer we will be working closely with Ofcom, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and Parliamentarians on next steps. We hope this can happen quickly.”
With the country’s PSBs on board with the regulator’s proposed measures to improve their chances against the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, it is now up to Parliament to decide how to act.