Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Resource update - OFCOM public service publisher hypothetical tender

Last month, UK super-mega-uber regulator OFCOM issued Phase 2 of its review of public service broadcasting. For those not familiar with the UK system, at present terrestrial broadcasters in the UK (there are five) receive tax incentives tied to analogue spectrum costs for in return devoting a proportion of programming schedules to public service programming. Otherwise the UK market would probably have long ago devolved into one long home/lifestyle/body makeover show. However, OFCOM has rightly judged that the advent of time-shifting behaviors, multichannel TV and alternative distribution platforms means this model may be broken long before analogue switch-off in 2012, and looking for the next step, has proposed an independent public service publisher (PSP) role be created and funded to replace the old. Today's document, a hypothetical tender, is a sounding board for those interested in pursuing the idea. As stressed in the original review document, the new entity is expected to make use of a variety of platforms for distribution, and OFCOM appears to be remaining firmly technology agnostic. I'm wondering if Sky, the principal proponent of the PVR in the UK, or BT, which looks set to go the same route and also has the Livetime JV with GWR, might turn up among the potentially interested parties?

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