Retransmission Fees on the Agenda to Pay for PSB Plurality?

Discussing the role of public service content (PSC) in the digital media landscape keeps raising the old unsolved question: can the market deliver? A Westminster Media Forum conference on June 22nd focused the market failure question on public service plurality: with ad revenues in a long term decline at Channels 3, 4, and 5; how to support public service content that competes with the BBC?

With the UK Government embarking in a wide communications review and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt calling for evidence about “regulatory barriers to investment in content”, providing an answer to this dilemma will prove to be crucial. Hinting that Ofcom’s view remains that markets do fail, the senior Ofcom figure Chris Woollard caused ripples when he stated that ‘retransmission fees’ were a part of this debate. This is the view that to plug the funding gap for PSB, Sky may be required to pay to carry ITV and other major broadcast channels, rather than have them pay for carriage. This idea – which was first put on the agenda by BBC DG Mark Thompson in a speech last year, was strongly rejected by Sky and others present…

Read the entire entry on the LSE Media Policy Blog

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