Television warning

Ofcom says broadcasting needs to change to survive

BBC Scotland

Viewers are turning off traditional broadcast content

Traditional broadcasting is unlikely to survive in the online world, says Ofcom, unless laws and regulation around it are overhauled, and broadcasters accelerate their transformation for the digital age.

The finding comes from Small Screen: Big Debate – Ofcom’s review of public service broadcasting (PSB) examining unprecedented changes to technology, financing and viewer behaviour.

Last year, only 38% of 16-34s viewing (and 67% among all adults) was to traditional broadcast content. Two in five viewers of streaming services say they can imagine watching no broadcast TV at all in five years’ time.

Public funding decisions are a matter for Government, so Ofcom has today set out a range of options, including international comparisons, outlining the benefits and drawbacks.

These include full or part subscription models. There is also potential for cross-media funding – such as a local or regional media fund, supporting collaboration between TV, radio, online and press publishers to strengthen local investigative news.

Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom chief executive, said: “There’s an urgent need to reform the rules, and build a stronger system of public-service media that can flourish in the digital age.

“That could mean big changes, such as a wider range of firms tasked with providing high-quality shows made for, in and about the UK.”

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