The renewal of TV rules offers greater bargaining power for the BBC, ITV and C4

The renewal of TV rules offers greater bargaining power for the BBC, ITV and C4

Ministers will unveil the largest revision of broadcasting rules in nearly 20 years, giving the BBC, ITV and privatized Channel 4 far greater bargaining power with digital TV platforms such as Sky, Amazon and Samsung.

On Thursday, Nadine Dorries, secretary of culture, will announce long-awaited plans to privatize Channel 4, rearrange television regulations for the digital age and provide support to public broadcasters in the fight against global streaming services.

White paper will pave the way for controversial sales of Channel 4by introducing reforms to make the public broadcaster more attractive to customers by guaranteeing its prominence and removing restrictions on content production.

The official sales process for Channel 4 will begin once the relevant legislation is adopted, which ministers hope for by the end of this year or early 2023. But the government is facing serious resistance over the terms of privatization, both in the House of Lords and among some high-ranking Tory MPs.

Doris said the revision of “decades-old laws” would help public broadcasters “compete in the age of the Internet and introduce a new golden age for British TV and radio”.

Although the privatized Channel 4 would still be required to order minimum quotas from independent producers, government plans would abolish its “publisher-broadcaster” status, allowing it to retain valuable rights to shows or films.

Other interventions will ensure that public service media applications, such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4, are “easy to find” on Internet television, imposing a “must-carry” obligation on pay-TV providers such as Sky and TV producers. and like Samsung. .

The strict enforcement powers handed over to media regulator Ofcom would actually strengthen broadcasters in commercial negotiations with data platforms, control advertising revenue and even allow them to demand payment for content.

Television executives drew parallels with how Australia used its regulatory powers to force platform gateways to pay publishers for news – conditions that Facebook has protested by temporarily removing news from its services in the country.

If broadcasters and platforms do not agree, Ofcom would be empowered to intervene and resolve the dispute, with guidelines aimed at ensuring the sustainability of public media.

Ofcom has noted in the past that, outside the UK, Amazon’s Fire TV requires 30 per cent of advertising revenue in exchange for a prominent position on the platform, and that LG’s 2020 TV models were launched without streaming apps from public services.

The prominence regime would be helpful to the BBC in retaining access to viewer data, but could be even more important for commercial broadcasters. ITV said the reforms should help it get “fair value” from television platforms for its investment in the program.

The comprehensive White Paper will revise the competencies of public service broadcasters for the first time since 2003, giving ITV or the BBC more flexibility in meeting obligations on different digital platforms.

Netflix, Disney, Amazon and other on-demand video service providers would also, for the first time, be subject to rules that set standards for broadcasters in terms of harmful material and accuracy.

ITV said it would “carefully consider” the details of the White Paper, but added: “Many of his proposals. . . look very reasonable. ”

Channel 4 said it was “committed to maintaining and maximizing its competence and the purpose of the public service which has enabled it to shape British creative culture and make a significant contribution to the creative industries”.



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