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21.07.18

“A British Netflix”

Posted 21st July 2018

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BBC News, ‘Netflix effect’ poses challenge to British TV’, 18th July 2018:

Video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime now have more subscribers than traditional pay TV services in the UK, new data from Ofcom has revealed.

The media regulator says British TV will have to change the way it operates if it wants to compete with the internet giants.

Sharon White, Ofcom’s chief executive, says: ‘We’d love to see broadcasters such as the BBC work collaboratively with ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 so that they have got that scale to compete globally, making shows together, co-producing great shows that all of us can watch.

“I think it would be great to see a British Netflix.”

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BBC Media Centre, ‘BBC announces changes to political programming’, 12th July 2018:

The BBC has announced changes to its political and parliamentary output to improve its digital coverage, better serve its audiences, and provide more value for money.

The changes include:

[…]

A changed schedule for BBC Parliament: the channel will still broadcast live and replayed coverage of Parliament and the devolved parliaments and assemblies, but will no longer make bespoke programmes and will not air in the weeks when the UK Parliament or the devolved Parliaments and assemblies are not sitting.

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So, what kind of thing will we lose if BBC Parliament stops making bespoke programming? This Twitter thread by someone who worked on the channel gives some of the highlights.

..and so on.

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Let’s go back to what the chief executive of Ofcom said at the start of this article:

“We’d love to see broadcasters such as the BBC work collaboratively with ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 so that they have got that scale to compete globally, making shows together, co-producing great shows that all of us can watch.

“I think it would be great to see a British Netflix.”

Now, with those recently announced cuts to BBC Parliament: please tell me how “competing globally” will solve the problem that the BBC is reducing its politics coverage just at the point where that’s a really, really bad idea, a move even the BBC’s own press release admits is to save money? I doubt there’s a huge US audience for The Week in Parliament, after all.

Not every TV show needs to be Game of Thrones. TV takes many forms, and not all of it needs to be relevant to a huge audience thousands of miles away.

And that kind of TV needs protecting too.

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