The BBC is likely to find itself being regulated by Ofcom rather than the BBC Trust, according to Andrew Neil, the political commentator and former executive of Sky Television.
Providing an annual review of the UK TV market at the SES-reach Year End 2014 presentation in London, he added that the BBC’s licence fee should survive the broadcaster’s charter renewal – the current one runs out at the end of 2016 – with the incoming government, following the General Election this May, being too weak and unwilling to take on the BBC.
In other predications, Neil said that ITV is likely to become a more attractive take-over target over the next five years, particularly due to its increased production capacity.
ITV has seen double-digit growth in its profits for the last five years and it now has a programming budget of £1 billion.
Commenting on Sky, Neil said that it has now become a quad player following its deal with O2. It is also in a rush to beat BT in becoming a 4K broadcaster.
Already with a presence in five European markets, Neil felt Sky may in due course also look to the Nordics.
Neil also said Netflix could become a take-over target for Amazon or Apple.
At the same time, the possibility of a merger between Channel 4 and Channel 5 could be revived.
The privatisation of Channel 4 could also come back on the agenda should the Conservative Party win a majority in the next election.
Overall, the UK broadcast market remains in good shape, with its production budget now at £6 billion.