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Nicky Morgan: PSBs must be ‘fleet-footed’


Culture secretary urges pooling of resources to take on SVoD ’revolution’

Culture secretary Nicky Morgan has urged the PSBs to be as “fleet-footed” as international rivals Netflix and Amazon to avoid being “cast off as victims of the revolution”.

Delivering a keynote at the RTS Cambridge Convention, her first such speech since taking on the brief in July, Morgan pushed PSBs and commercial broadcasters to work more closely with advertisers and innovate to reach audiences of all ages.

“Those that do not pool their resources and talent will find it difficult to succeed in this new age,” she said, hailing Netflix and Amazon’s ability to adapt to change.

BBC director general Tony Hall will tomorrow tell the same event that Netflix and Amazon will be hit hardest by the second wave of disruption instituted by the launch of a multitude of new streamers.

Morgan was speaking in the week that Channel 4 extended its relationship with Sky via use of AdSmart technology and a multi-year Formula 1 deal. The PSB will also make more box sets available to Sky customers, across both new titles and All 4 content. Meanwhile, the BBC and ITV will soon launch joint-SVoD BritBox.

Regulatory reform

To usher in the collaboration era, Morgan called on Ofcom to “think big” in its forthcoming PSB review and consider sweeping regulatory reform.

The regulator will issue a report as part of its Small Screen: Big Debate probe into PSB later in the autumn.

“British broadcasters are central pillars of our public life and their benefits are too great for them to be cast off as a victim of this revolution,” added Morgan.

“We need to make sure that regulations – many of which were developed in the analogue age – are fit for the digital age and the new ways that people watch and produce shows.”

Morgan was likely referring to updates to the rules governing PSB prominence, which are in the process of being updated by Ofcom and her DCMS team. Ofcom has recommended sweeping change.

Morgan, appointed in prime minister Boris Johnson’s debut cabinet, also called for women’s sport to be added to the ‘crown jewels’ list of sporting events that have to appear on free-to-air television, in the wake of the success of the BBC’s coverage of the recent Women’s World Cup.

She has written to rights holders to seek their views with the hope of “giving female sporting talent the coverage they deserve”.

Morgan was echoing calls made by Labour’s shadow culture secretary Tom Watson in June.

Speaking at a Creative Industries Federation event last week, Watson slammed Morgan for her record as education secretary, a two-year period during which she “oversaw a dramatic decline in arts subjects in schools”.


Article originally written and published by Broadcast on 18/9/19

Written by DTG Team

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