Britain’s public service broadcasters have joined forces to demand that US technology giants facilitate easy online access for their audiences, amidst continued erosion of national boundaries, by penning a joint plea for prominence in a letter to the guardian.
ITV chief executive (CEO) Carolyn McCall; BBC director general Tony Hall; Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon; Viacom UK president James Currell; STV CEO Simon Pitts and S4C CEO Owen Evans are uniting behind their message of openness, conscious that in today’s world as many viewers can be found via streaming services as opposed to traditional TV tuners.
In recognition of the growing threat posed by the likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Netflix the broadcast grouping is playing up its role as a bastion of culture and social cohesion in an uncertain world awash with fake news.
The statement read: “Public service broadcasting is essential to our culture. It supports social cohesion, informs our understanding of the world, shapes public debate and contributes to our global soft power. It is also vital to our democracy, reaching tens of millions of people each week with high-quality, accurate and impartial news, covering events in the world around them, at home and abroad. In an era of fake news, echo chambers and social media filter bubbles, Ofcom data tells us that TV remains the most important and trusted source of news for UK citizens.”
It is feared that Silicon Valley giants will prioritise their own content in this new world at the expense of UK content, prompting today’s collective show of force to ensure UK content doesn’t fall down the back of the couch.
Ofcom is currently deliberating on enshrining online prominence rules in law to ensure viewers have access to their content irrespective of the device they are viewing from.
The regulator has already called for a halt to further hyper-local TV channels amidst concerns that city-scale broadcasters were not economically viable.