Monday, October 04, 2004

A rival for the BBC?

Last week media regulator Ofcom produced a surprise recommendation that there should be a new public service broadcaster to rival the BBC.

In MediaGuardian (free registration required) Ofcom Chief Executive, Stephen Carter, defends the idea.
We favour competition, because it produces new ideas and innovation. So we could have recommended a commission which would decide, programme by programme, what to fund in the existing broadcasters. But such "arts councils of the air" have a poor pedigree when they have been tried elsewhere. In practice a high proportion of the budget goes on bureaucracy; also, designing creative output via not just one committee (the broadcaster's own management) but two (the arts council of the air) is not a recipe for great content.

So, instead Ofcom is proposing a single, not-for profit, creative organisation - a public service publisher - that would be responsible for the whole process of commissioning, overseeing and distributing public service content from top to tail; initially mainly on digital television but increasingly on other new media platforms such as broadband servers and 3G mobiles.

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