Ofcom opens public service television broadcasting review
| 28 May 2014

After renewing independent sector licences and digital TV rollout, UK broadcaster regulator Ofcom is to review the effect of online and over the top on public service television broadcasting (PSB).

Setting out the context for its review, Ofcom said that the on-going transition to fully digital broadcasting was bringing far greater choice of channels to all viewers and uncertainty as to how consumer behaviour might change. Indeed it added that it wished to investigate the resulting increase in audience fragmentation and competition for the PSBs which were no longer the only broadcasters to have access to the majority of viewers very much including the nascent role of the internet in people's media consumption habits and the potential implications for more traditional media and distribution networks.

The regulator was keen to stress that the review will need to test whether the PSBs will remain resilient to structural changes affecting viewing habits and TV advertising.

Areas for consideration will include the potential for new entrants to disrupt the current model of public service broadcasting, for instance by driving a greater shift to non-linear consumption; the impact on viewing habits of technology such as personal video recorders (PVRs), video on-demand (VOD) services and devices such as tablets and smartphones; the potential opportunities and impact of increasingly globalised content and technology markets; the role of TV advertising alongside advertising on other platforms in the marketing mix; the impact of new intermediaries which control platforms, including their control of potentially valuable direct relationships with audiences.

Tellingly Ofcom stated clearly that the review would look at online video new entrants such as Google and Amazon and over the top (OTT) leader Netflix.