BBC Chief asks for deregulation to fight Netflix

Deregulation to help the BBC seize ‘The Crown’? Or will UK broadcasters fall like a ‘House Of Cards’?

by Aaron Macarthy Beards Sep 18, 2018 at 2:52 PM


  • Lord Hall, the BBC’s director general, will use a speech to the Royal Television Society (RTS), to argue that there has been a shift in global media. He will assert that British media companies need a new system of regulation if they can compete against tech media giants from the USA.
    Lord Hall will state: "It cannot be right that the UK's media industry is competing against global giants with one hand tied behind its back...In so many ways - prominence, competition rules, advertising, taxation, content regulation, terms of trade, production quotas - one set of rules applies to UK companies, and barely any apply to the new giants. That needs rebalancing, too." (From: BBC.co.uk)

    The speech comes as Britain's main TV broadcasters continue to lose younger viewers. BBC content reaching a young audience has dropped by more than a third, from 11.5 hours a week to 7.5. Both Spotify and YouTube’s content is viewed by young people for around eight hours a week. And according to the BBC, Netflix's younger audience is about the same size as BBC television and iPlayer combined.

    Lord Hall will say that "There is an impact on society. It brings people together, it helps us understand each other and share a common national story." (From: BBC.co.uk)
    It's hard to see how the UK's broadcasters could compete with Amazon and Netflix who combined spend £10 billion a year
    Another issue for the BBC and all UK broadcasters is finance. For over a decade the UK's main broadcasters have dropped spending drastically. Since 2004 spending has dropped by £1 billion. Even if spending had stayed the same since 2004 it's hard to see how the UK's broadcasters could compete with Amazon and Netflix who combined spend £10 billion a year.

    Another problem for the BBC is that they have never capitalised on their truly unique position. The BBC is known around the world for their TV and Radio programming. An attempt to launch a global BBC IPlayer, that charged a subscription fee, was ended in 2015 with US broadcasters threatening to drop BBC programs if the service launched in the USA.

    BBC iPlayer was far ahead of its time when it launched in 2007. And, in hindsight, if the BBC had launched a paid global service early on it could have captured a large global audience. However, the BBC instead favored a continuation of its policy of selling TV programs to US networks. Netflix, on the other hand, launched a global brand that sold subscriptions direct to consumers through its own platform. The rest, as they say, is history.

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