Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Public Duty ?

Regular readers of this blog may recall that some time ago I contributed to a consultation into the future of public service broadcasting in the UK; the document has now been published by Ofcom and can be found here. Unfortunately, it carries none of my views.

The real anachronism here is that Ofcom do not oversee the BBC, the supposed main public service broadcaster in the UK, so the whole exercise is little more than a review of the future remit of Channel 4.

But in the time between the consultation and the publication of the document a number of things have happened to diminish public service broadcasting in the UK: ITV pulled its regular children's late afternoon slot, Channel 4 seem to have lost the plot in their drive towards populism, utterly betraying their public service remit, the BBC veers closer and closer to a commercial model and will no doubt use the recent licence hike as an excuse to continue on this path (which is a bit much from an organisation that seems to devote more of its resources to property development than to producing quality public service television) and the explosive growth of user generated content internet TV has transformed the landscape.

Without any remit over the BBC this was a somewhat hollow exercise and the proposed idea of a 'Public Service Publisher' is, frankly, absurd.

The one bright spot here is the work being done by ITV with their ITV Local service.

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