‘It’s Scary…It’s a Red Alert Situation’ : BBC Boss Tim Davie Warns Future of Public Service Broadcasting Globally Is Critical

BBC boss Tim Davie has issued a dire warning over the future of public service broadcasting globally

Published Time: 04.06.2024 - 14:31:25 Modified Time: 04.06.2024 - 14:31:25

BBC boss Tim Davie has issued a dire warning over the future of public service broadcasting globally. “It’s scary. It’s really problematic,” he said. “I mean not ‘marginally troublesome.’ I would say it’s a red alert situation in many many markets.”

Davie warned the situation was only getting worse as politics becomes “more polarized.”

Davie was speaking at the Deloitte and Enders Analysis Media & Telecoms 2024 and Beyond Conference in London on Tuesday morning alongside Channel 4 boss Alex Mahon, managing director of ITV Studios Julian Bellamy and Sarah Rose, president of Channel 5 and regional lead for Paramount on a panel headed “U.K. television’s digital age.” The panel was moderated by Deloitte partner Rupert Darbyshire.

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Mahon also spoke of public service broadcasters’ (PSBs) “battle for truth and trust” which she said is something “very different to something aggregated and algorithmically served.” PSBs were particularly important for young people, she added, given the amount of disinformation online. “We’re in an age of democratic disengagement,” Mahon pointed out.

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e panellists also pointed out that while over the past few years the streaming giants such as Netflix, Prime Video and Apple had dominated the U.K. production sector, the PSBs are still integral to the ecosystem. Bellamy said that streaming commissions are “eclipsed by the scale of magnitude and commissions from the PSBs” and pointed to writers such as “Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong, “Fleabag” creator Phoebe Waller Bridge, “Doctor Who” showrunner Russell T. Davies and “Happy Valley” creator Sally Wainwright as talent that had been nurtured and backed by the PSBs before going on to create global hits.

In that vein, the panel warned about ownership of IP when working for streaming platforms. “Unless you have the ownership of IP the value doesn’t remain in this country,” said Mahon. “Otherwise it’s work for hire.”

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