Ofcom's PSB plan: an industry responds

The changing face of television
The changing face of television

Ofcom's recommendations to the government on the future of public service broadcasting could make major changes to the industry.

Response to the proposals has been mixed; with several reservations expressed already over some of the proposals.

Here are the responses so far:

BBC Trust

"The BBC Trust welcomes Ofcom's substantial report and its stress on putting the needs and interests of audiences first. The Trust continues to take the view that it is important to consult audiences both on what services they want as well as on what should happen to the assets they have funded.

"The BBC accepts that its position as the cornerstone of UK public service broadcasting brings responsibilities to help support the wider future of UK public service broadcasting. We are actively seeking to use the BBC's scale and scope to help find sustainable solutions to maintain Britain's strong tradition of delivering free-to-air television from a range of providers.

"The Trust remains convinced that the BBC partnership approach holds the best chance of finding solutions that create new value rather than simply transfer existing value. We support the view that the future of public service broadcasting can be secured through partnerships, joint ventures and alliances."


"The whole free-to-air PSB sector is facing unprecedented structural changes and the commercial sector has to contend with the recession as well," says ITV. "Ofcom's report today demonstrates that they understand these difficulties and are working with all the players to find short- and long-term solutions. The status quo is not an option for any of us and it is gratifying that both the government and Ofcom have grasped the urgency of the need for change.

"So far as ITV is concerned, Ofcom has concluded that ITV regional news is unsustainable in its current form after 2010 and we will now be studying the detail of their progressive proposals for the delivery of a sustainable regional news service from 2011."

"Next week should see the publication of Lord Carter's Digital Britain preliminary report. The ITV Board will give both of these documents their full and urgent consideration and we look forward to engaging with Ofcom and Government at the earliest opportunity."


"It's good to see Ofcom recognising the contribution Five makes and can continue to make in public service broadcasting – whether as an independent commercial player or as a partner in a new body that also includes Channel 4," said Five head Dawn Airey.

"In either scenario, we will deliver real and sustainable public service value to viewers.

"Five has a strong track record commissioning fresh perspectives in news and factual programmes, and is the only mainstream commercial channel to continue providing original children's programmes. These are all part of our public service contribution.

"However, we are bemused by Ofcom's suggestions about Five's regulatory assets and will be discussing these further with the government."


"Many people have forcefully expressed their views in the wide-ranging debate about the future of public service broadcasting. But there is one group whose opinions matter more than anyone else: viewers and listeners," said Ed Richards, Ofcom's Chief Executive.

"The central challenge is how a strong and historically successful public service broadcasting system can navigate from analogue to digital.

"Our proposals aim to sustain the quality and creative spirit of public service broadcasting while capturing the opportunities of broadband distribution, mobility and interactivity.

"These proposals set out what we believe is required to fulfil a vision of diverse, vibrant and engaging public service broadcasting content across a range of digital media."

What Satellite

"If adopted, Ofcom's plan would safeguard the BBC's unique role as a broadcaster that can think and act beyond the short-term restraints imposed by commercial funding, and offers hope to increase secure Channel 4's survival as the alternative public service broadcaster," said What Satellite and Digital Television Editor Alex Lane.

"But relaxing the public service duties for ITV and Five to an almost negligible extent could equally contribute to a further dumbing-down in British media, and we might ask whether they will have any more right to privileged treatment from the government and regulators than other commercial broadcasters such as Sky or Virgin Media."

We'll add in further responses when they are released

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.